Use scales in Moodle

Scales are an alternative marking method for when you do not want to use a numerical score. It is strongly recommended that you DO NOT use scales for grading an activity that will contribute to the final grade, as scales behave in unexpected and undesirable ways in Moodle Gradebook.

If you intend to use standard scales with an activity, set the grade item’s weighting to zero.

If you want to use letter grades, DO NOT use scales. By default, letter grades are displayed in the grader and student user reports. For more information, see Letter grades.

Note: Scale items are by default visible to staff and students. If you do not want grade to be visible to students, avoid using scales and scale items that resemble a number grade.

Understanding scales

Scales are arranged in ascending order, separated by commas, with the lowest grade first and the highest grade last. For example, a HD, D, C, P, N scale would be entered as N, P, C, D, HD.

Moodle automatically assigns numerical values to scales based on the number of items in the scale. Each entry is weighted equally and assigned a score based on its order in the scale. For example, a HD, D, C, P, N scale, with 5 items, would be automatically converted as shown in the table below.

Without the ability to change the weighting of each scale item, you must change the number of items in the scale to manipulate the scale to grade conversion.

By increasing the scale items through repetition, we now have a scale with 10 items that will align with Monash policy.

You must also specify the Grade to pass value for your scale, which can be done in your assignment settings, under the Grade section, by entering a value in the Grade to pass section.

However, for our example scale, the correct grade to pass value is NOT 50 (out of 100), but rather 6 (out of 10), as this is the number of scale items out of the 10-item scale that will coincide with a standard pass mark.

Guide to standard scales

To view the standard Moodle scales:

  1. Open the navigation menu and click on Grades.

  2. Select the Scales tab.

Provide feedback and grade using scales

For the activity you would like to grade with scales, navigate to the activity settings.

In the Grade section:

  1. In Type, select Scale from the drop down list.
  2. For Scale, select from the scale you would like to use from the drop down list.
  3. Click Save and display.

Grade with scales

  1. Navigate to the activity you will grade with scales.
  2. Once enabled in the activity grade settings, in the grader interface, you can now select a scale item from the Grade drop down list.

Quick grading with scales

  1. Click on View all submissions.
  2. Scroll down to the Options section.
  3. Make sure the Quick grading checkbox is checked.
  4. In the Grade column, you can now select a scale item from the drop down list.
  5. To save your changes, scroll down and click Save all quick grading changes.