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  1. Moodle
  2. MDL-17258

Use "Letter" grades in gradebook, assigns desired numeric grades for you

    Details

    • Type: Improvement
    • Status: Open
    • Priority: Major
    • Resolution: Unresolved
    • Affects Version/s: 1.9.7, 2.7, 2.8.1
    • Fix Version/s: BACKEND
    • Component/s: Gradebook
    • Labels:
    • Affected Branches:
      MOODLE_19_STABLE, MOODLE_27_STABLE, MOODLE_28_STABLE
    • Epic Link:

      Description

      We have a number of professors who would like to evaluate some of their students' assignments with a non-numeric grade using a custom scale, but would like to have the Moodle gradebook appropriately calculate the values. Obviously Moodle cannot know what numeric value to assign when the grade assigned is non-numeric, so I'd like to request an improvement/feature to allow custom non-numeric scales to be created while also offering the option to provide numeric equivalents for each of the non-numeric items.

      I understand this process can be achieved by providing a non-numeric equivalent for numeric grades, but some professors would rather enter a B+ for example instead of having to remember that a B+ is actually the potential numeric equivalent of 4.33. This feature of assigning numeric values to non-numeric grades is available in Blackboard.

      Thanks so much for your consideration.

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            Hide
            dsarlin Deb Sarlin added a comment -

            An alternate (easy) report or strategy to use a simple 0-6/F-A scale would be optimal & absolutely advantageous. This does not appear to be a 'minor' issue for faculty users...
            thanks

            Show
            dsarlin Deb Sarlin added a comment - An alternate (easy) report or strategy to use a simple 0-6/F-A scale would be optimal & absolutely advantageous. This does not appear to be a 'minor' issue for faculty users... thanks
            Hide
            evan.irving-pease Evan Irving-Pease added a comment -

            Like many people I've also struggled with this issue, and thanks to an overlap between this problem and a larger project I'm working on, I've been given the go ahead from my employer to make a patch to solve it.

            Before I get underway I've started a new forum thread to elicit comments and suggestions from the community, as I'm really hoping this is a patch that will ultimately be accepted back into the core.

            http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=140907

            I'll be putting up some design documentation up on the wiki soonish, depending on the sort of responses I get.

            Thanks,
            Evan.

            Show
            evan.irving-pease Evan Irving-Pease added a comment - Like many people I've also struggled with this issue, and thanks to an overlap between this problem and a larger project I'm working on, I've been given the go ahead from my employer to make a patch to solve it. Before I get underway I've started a new forum thread to elicit comments and suggestions from the community, as I'm really hoping this is a patch that will ultimately be accepted back into the core. http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=140907 I'll be putting up some design documentation up on the wiki soonish, depending on the sort of responses I get. Thanks, Evan.
            Hide
            bobpuffer Bob Puffer added a comment -

            This has been dealt with in MDL-17484 and a patch is available for 1.97 at that location.

            Show
            bobpuffer Bob Puffer added a comment - This has been dealt with in MDL-17484 and a patch is available for 1.97 at that location.
            Hide
            evan.irving-pease Evan Irving-Pease added a comment -

            What you appear to have done is solved the request discussed in ticket MDL-18881, which asked for a direct mapping between the `grade_letters` and `scale` tables. This is fine when you are only using one scale in your course and that scale is the same as the letter grades you are using in that context; however this breaks down when you are using outcomes.

            Imagine a bunch of outcomes all attached to the same course, but with different scales. In this scenario doing a simple string comparison between the name of the scale item and the name of the letter grade is not going to work.

            Show
            evan.irving-pease Evan Irving-Pease added a comment - What you appear to have done is solved the request discussed in ticket MDL-18881 , which asked for a direct mapping between the `grade_letters` and `scale` tables. This is fine when you are only using one scale in your course and that scale is the same as the letter grades you are using in that context; however this breaks down when you are using outcomes. Imagine a bunch of outcomes all attached to the same course, but with different scales. In this scenario doing a simple string comparison between the name of the scale item and the name of the letter grade is not going to work.
            Hide
            bobpuffer Bob Puffer added a comment -

            What my fix has done is respond to Jason Alley's proposed issue. Your need is entirely different from what the original issue identified here addresses. Perhaps you should take it separate.

            Show
            bobpuffer Bob Puffer added a comment - What my fix has done is respond to Jason Alley's proposed issue. Your need is entirely different from what the original issue identified here addresses. Perhaps you should take it separate.
            Hide
            evan.irving-pease Evan Irving-Pease added a comment -

            Hey Bob, I'm not sure if "entirely different" is a fair characterisation. Undoubtedly we're looking at this with different expectations. Whilst your patch is useful for people only using the one scale in a course, it's not useful for people who want to use multiple scales in one course. It's also not useful for people who want decimal precision in the value of their scales (see ticket MDL-20367).

            Show
            evan.irving-pease Evan Irving-Pease added a comment - Hey Bob, I'm not sure if "entirely different" is a fair characterisation. Undoubtedly we're looking at this with different expectations. Whilst your patch is useful for people only using the one scale in a course, it's not useful for people who want to use multiple scales in one course. It's also not useful for people who want decimal precision in the value of their scales (see ticket MDL-20367 ).
            Hide
            bobpuffer Bob Puffer added a comment -

            The objective of this issue is to "reverse-engineer" the letter grades so that any course could set up any letter (or other, course-wide) scale, be able to input the scale identifier and have it convert to the desired percentage of whatever points are available for the specific grade item. I believe the large vote count on this issue is related specifically to that. That has been accomplished. What you're asking for is a complex rewrite of how scales, outcomes and the grader report interact. I believe that should remain separate.

            Show
            bobpuffer Bob Puffer added a comment - The objective of this issue is to "reverse-engineer" the letter grades so that any course could set up any letter (or other, course-wide) scale, be able to input the scale identifier and have it convert to the desired percentage of whatever points are available for the specific grade item. I believe the large vote count on this issue is related specifically to that. That has been accomplished. What you're asking for is a complex rewrite of how scales, outcomes and the grader report interact. I believe that should remain separate.
            Hide
            jalley Jason Alley added a comment -

            Actually, my original request was for non-numeric values, not specifically letter grades. Bob's fix does the trick if the non-numeric grade is a letter grade, but it does not affect other non-numeric inputs created in custom scales (e.g., checks, check-misuses). I was hoping to see something available in custom scales as well.

            Show
            jalley Jason Alley added a comment - Actually, my original request was for non-numeric values, not specifically letter grades. Bob's fix does the trick if the non-numeric grade is a letter grade, but it does not affect other non-numeric inputs created in custom scales (e.g., checks, check-misuses). I was hoping to see something available in custom scales as well.
            Hide
            evan.irving-pease Evan Irving-Pease added a comment -

            Hey Bob, you're probably right in assuming that in the majority of cases people would be happy with simply matching scales to grade letters. I am in no way implying that your patch is without use.

            However, Jason's request was to:

            allow custom non-numeric scales to be created while also offering the option to provide numeric equivalents for each of the non-numeric items.

            This is exactly what I want, but I want it to work independently of letter grades and I want it to work in all areas of Moodle, regardless of how many scales I might be using.

            You're also right in stating that what I am proposing is a somewhat complex rewrite of how scales are implemented (the actual changes shouldn't affect outcomes at all, and would only affect the Gradebook insofar as it makes direct access to the `scale` table rather than using an API). I'm also proposing to make these changes myself. I think it is poor database design to have scales stored in a comma separated list, and the issue discussed here is simply one manifestation of this initial design constraint (see ticket MDL-13372 for another example).

            My sole intent in posting to this tracker was to elicit feedback from the broader community on what would be the best possible solution, as I'd like scales to be properly fixed.

            Show
            evan.irving-pease Evan Irving-Pease added a comment - Hey Bob, you're probably right in assuming that in the majority of cases people would be happy with simply matching scales to grade letters. I am in no way implying that your patch is without use. However, Jason's request was to: allow custom non-numeric scales to be created while also offering the option to provide numeric equivalents for each of the non-numeric items. This is exactly what I want, but I want it to work independently of letter grades and I want it to work in all areas of Moodle, regardless of how many scales I might be using. You're also right in stating that what I am proposing is a somewhat complex rewrite of how scales are implemented (the actual changes shouldn't affect outcomes at all, and would only affect the Gradebook insofar as it makes direct access to the `scale` table rather than using an API). I'm also proposing to make these changes myself . I think it is poor database design to have scales stored in a comma separated list, and the issue discussed here is simply one manifestation of this initial design constraint (see ticket MDL-13372 for another example). My sole intent in posting to this tracker was to elicit feedback from the broader community on what would be the best possible solution, as I'd like scales to be properly fixed.
            Hide
            bobpuffer Bob Puffer added a comment -

            I am with you on that. I see the same database design in the Feedback module and have fought this de-normalization wherever possible. I'd like to see the reverse engineering of grade letters considered complete and included wherever appropriate in the release schedule (its really a small hack). I also appreciate you're willingness to undertake this larger endeavor and bid you good fortune.

            Show
            bobpuffer Bob Puffer added a comment - I am with you on that. I see the same database design in the Feedback module and have fought this de-normalization wherever possible. I'd like to see the reverse engineering of grade letters considered complete and included wherever appropriate in the release schedule (its really a small hack). I also appreciate you're willingness to undertake this larger endeavor and bid you good fortune.
            Hide
            evan.irving-pease Evan Irving-Pease added a comment -

            Thanks for the encouragement Bob. Can I suggest you post a link to your patch on ticket MDL-18881, as this is a very close match for what you've done.

            Show
            evan.irving-pease Evan Irving-Pease added a comment - Thanks for the encouragement Bob. Can I suggest you post a link to your patch on ticket MDL-18881 , as this is a very close match for what you've done.
            Hide
            bobpuffer Bob Puffer added a comment -

            Done, thanks.

            Show
            bobpuffer Bob Puffer added a comment - Done, thanks.
            Hide
            andyjdavis Andrew Davis added a comment -

            Evan is going ahead with refactoring scales to resolve a bunch of issues caused by the way they are stored in the database. Design decisions made years ago around storing scales have lead to an array of scales related problems. See linked issues for details.

            I'll be giving him a hand, reviewing his patches and ultimately committing the changes. Others are of course welcome to add comments to the discussion forum, the document and this tracker item.

            The forum discussion leading up to this is at http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=140907#p628678

            The design document is at http://docs.moodle.org/en/Development:Scales

            Show
            andyjdavis Andrew Davis added a comment - Evan is going ahead with refactoring scales to resolve a bunch of issues caused by the way they are stored in the database. Design decisions made years ago around storing scales have lead to an array of scales related problems. See linked issues for details. I'll be giving him a hand, reviewing his patches and ultimately committing the changes. Others are of course welcome to add comments to the discussion forum, the document and this tracker item. The forum discussion leading up to this is at http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=140907#p628678 The design document is at http://docs.moodle.org/en/Development:Scales
            Hide
            jalley Jason Alley added a comment -

            Outstanding! Thanks, Evan. We're looking forward this.

            Show
            jalley Jason Alley added a comment - Outstanding! Thanks, Evan. We're looking forward this.
            Hide
            andyjdavis Andrew Davis added a comment -

            Has any progress been made on this? If not I may take over implementing it for Moodle 2.1

            Show
            andyjdavis Andrew Davis added a comment - Has any progress been made on this? If not I may take over implementing it for Moodle 2.1
            Hide
            instructoit UMass Amherst Instructional Media Lab added a comment -

            We are really interested in seeing this implemented in Moodle 2.

            Would it be possible to use multiple scales in one scale aka a rubric? We have been looking for a way to implement rubrics (outside of the Workshop module) in Moodle 2 for Assignments, hoping that we could save the rubrics. Not sure if this is even the same feature but out of all the suggestions this seems to be the closest

            Show
            instructoit UMass Amherst Instructional Media Lab added a comment - We are really interested in seeing this implemented in Moodle 2. Would it be possible to use multiple scales in one scale aka a rubric? We have been looking for a way to implement rubrics (outside of the Workshop module) in Moodle 2 for Assignments, hoping that we could save the rubrics. Not sure if this is even the same feature but out of all the suggestions this seems to be the closest
            Hide
            bobpuffer Bob Puffer added a comment -

            Is this a "dead stick"?

            Show
            bobpuffer Bob Puffer added a comment - Is this a "dead stick"?
            Hide
            andyjdavis Andrew Davis added a comment -

            Hi. Following the release of 2.0 we're focusing on bug fixes right now. Once we're through this phase we'll get on to enhancements like this.

            Show
            andyjdavis Andrew Davis added a comment - Hi. Following the release of 2.0 we're focusing on bug fixes right now. Once we're through this phase we'll get on to enhancements like this.
            Hide
            markpearson Mark Pearson added a comment -

            Sorry to be picky here, but one could plausibly argue that this is not an enhancement, it's a bug, and an egregious one at that. The fact that it's been tolerated for so long does not make it any the less of a pain.

            Show
            markpearson Mark Pearson added a comment - Sorry to be picky here, but one could plausibly argue that this is not an enhancement, it's a bug, and an egregious one at that. The fact that it's been tolerated for so long does not make it any the less of a pain.
            Hide
            andyjdavis Andrew Davis added a comment -

            See http://docs.moodle.org/dev/Scales for future plans.

            Show
            andyjdavis Andrew Davis added a comment - See http://docs.moodle.org/dev/Scales for future plans.
            Hide
            uqat moodle support UQAT added a comment -

            We have also teachers who wants that!
            thanks

            Show
            uqat moodle support UQAT added a comment - We have also teachers who wants that! thanks
            Hide
            andyjdavis Andrew Davis added a comment -

            This issue was assigned to me automatically, however I will not be able to work on this issue in the immediate future. In order to create a truer sense of the state of this issue and to allow other developers to have chance to become involved, I am removing myself as the assignee of this issue.

            For more information, see http://docs.moodle.org/dev/Changes_to_issue_assignment

            Show
            andyjdavis Andrew Davis added a comment - This issue was assigned to me automatically, however I will not be able to work on this issue in the immediate future. In order to create a truer sense of the state of this issue and to allow other developers to have chance to become involved, I am removing myself as the assignee of this issue. For more information, see http://docs.moodle.org/dev/Changes_to_issue_assignment
            Hide
            bobpuffer Bob Puffer added a comment -

            Once again, Michael I'd like to see this issue marked Major, seems it'd be better to let people very familiar with the Moodle gradebook and the issues users have with it set the importance of the issues.

            Show
            bobpuffer Bob Puffer added a comment - Once again, Michael I'd like to see this issue marked Major, seems it'd be better to let people very familiar with the Moodle gradebook and the issues users have with it set the importance of the issues.
            Hide
            kwiliarty Kevin Wiliarty added a comment -

            Certainly many users I have worked with would call it major. Somewhere between 'bug' and 'improvement' there ought to be a notion of 'surprising gap'.

            Show
            kwiliarty Kevin Wiliarty added a comment - Certainly many users I have worked with would call it major. Somewhere between 'bug' and 'improvement' there ought to be a notion of 'surprising gap'.
            Hide
            jballard James Ballard added a comment -

            In the RTO and VET space this is quite a major flaw - I've run into this in both the UK and Australia so seems quite widespread. The current gradebook and assignment approach is geared towards a traditional HE academic model. This is especially apparent when there is a mix of scales and percentages for assessments and without this feature the gradebook is incredibly inflexible for doing simple aggregation calculations because the numeric values are too disparate. It is possible to get away with just scales or just percentages in a single course but that is a big constraint on trainers and assessment practices.

            Show
            jballard James Ballard added a comment - In the RTO and VET space this is quite a major flaw - I've run into this in both the UK and Australia so seems quite widespread. The current gradebook and assignment approach is geared towards a traditional HE academic model. This is especially apparent when there is a mix of scales and percentages for assessments and without this feature the gradebook is incredibly inflexible for doing simple aggregation calculations because the numeric values are too disparate. It is possible to get away with just scales or just percentages in a single course but that is a big constraint on trainers and assessment practices.
            Hide
            dsarlin Deb Sarlin added a comment -

            Wow, all these years later!
            James, I can tell you that the gradebook in 2008 and 'current gradebook and assignment approach' is not meeting all our needs in Higher Ed either.

            I really appreciate that this has been reopened.

            This scenario:
            Incomplete = 0
            meets expectations = 1
            exceeds expectations = 2
            really does not seem like an utterly useless request.

            If you want more scenarios of interesting custom non-numeric scales and the different types of corresponding values folks have been hoping to have in place - I'd be more than happy to provide...

            cheers!
            and again THANKS!
            Deb

            Show
            dsarlin Deb Sarlin added a comment - Wow, all these years later! James, I can tell you that the gradebook in 2008 and 'current gradebook and assignment approach' is not meeting all our needs in Higher Ed either. I really appreciate that this has been reopened. This scenario: Incomplete = 0 meets expectations = 1 exceeds expectations = 2 really does not seem like an utterly useless request. If you want more scenarios of interesting custom non-numeric scales and the different types of corresponding values folks have been hoping to have in place - I'd be more than happy to provide... cheers! and again THANKS! Deb
            Hide
            rrusso Robert Russo added a comment -

            https://raw.githubusercontent.com/lsuits/gradebook_patches/master/better_letters.patch

            This patch allows for institutional letter grades and arbitrary grade boundaries.

            Show
            rrusso Robert Russo added a comment - https://raw.githubusercontent.com/lsuits/gradebook_patches/master/better_letters.patch This patch allows for institutional letter grades and arbitrary grade boundaries.
            Hide
            rrusso Robert Russo added a comment -

            I too would LOVE to see something like Deb mentioned above.

            Pass = 70
            Fail = 30

            Show
            rrusso Robert Russo added a comment - I too would LOVE to see something like Deb mentioned above. Pass = 70 Fail = 30
            Hide
            damyon Damyon Wiese added a comment -

            We wrote a spec for allowing custom weights for items in a scale (which is one way to solve this issue).

            http://docs.moodle.org/dev/Scales_Improvements_Specifications

            Show
            damyon Damyon Wiese added a comment - We wrote a spec for allowing custom weights for items in a scale (which is one way to solve this issue). http://docs.moodle.org/dev/Scales_Improvements_Specifications
            Hide
            bobpuffer Bob Puffer added a comment - - edited

            Damyon, I think this spec covers part of what was decided at the gradebook conference. I believe MDL-46180 more accurately depicts the resolution of the conference.

            Show
            bobpuffer Bob Puffer added a comment - - edited Damyon, I think this spec covers part of what was decided at the gradebook conference. I believe MDL-46180 more accurately depicts the resolution of the conference.
            Hide
            moodle.com moodle.com added a comment - - edited

            The remaining sub-tasks of this issue sum to about 100 story points.

            Show
            moodle.com moodle.com added a comment - - edited The remaining sub-tasks of this issue sum to about 100 story points.
            Hide
            dougiamas Martin Dougiamas added a comment -

            Also see the spec linked up above from 2010 above. https://docs.moodle.org/dev/Scales

            if we're going to be expanding scales to solve this letters issue, which seems like a good idea, then we should also do this other stuff at the same time for internationalisation and usability.

            Show
            dougiamas Martin Dougiamas added a comment - Also see the spec linked up above from 2010 above. https://docs.moodle.org/dev/Scales if we're going to be expanding scales to solve this letters issue, which seems like a good idea, then we should also do this other stuff at the same time for internationalisation and usability.

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                • Created:
                  Updated: