The following section provides ways to evaluate and give feedback to students using the technologies available.

Clear Expectations | Assignments in Moodle | Rubrics in Moodle | Quizzes in Moodle | Anonymous Grading | Moodle Gradebook | Alternative Grading Approaches

Clear Expectations

Clear expectations are especially important for online and hybrid courses. Here are some of the elements you might want to communicate with students about an assignment.

  1. Why are they doing it?
  2. What are the requirements (length, formatting, tone)?
  3. What is the due date?
  4. How do they submit?
  5. What are the grading criteria?
  6. When will they receive a grade or feedback?

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Assignments in Moodle

The Assignments Activity in Moodle provides you a way for students to submit their assignments online. They can submit Microsoft Word documents, PDFs, images, or online text. Moodle will convert all assignments to PDFs so that you can annotate and grade online.

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Rubrics in Moodle

You can add a Rubric to an Assignment in Moodle for grading purposes and to show students how you are grading. Using Rubrics in Moodle.

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Quizzes in Moodle

Quizzes can be used in various ways.

  1. Provide practice for content through multiple choice, short answer, or numerical questions.
  2. Assess students’ prior knowledge at the beginning of the lesson and their eventual understanding of the concepts.
  3. Determine specific challenging concepts to cover again.

One of the most robust parts of Moodle are the quizzes – they are also one of the most time consuming to customize. You can design and build quizzes consisting of a large variety of Question types, including multiple choice, true-false, short answer and drag and drop images and text. These questions are kept in the Question bank and can be re-used in different quizzes.

While a computer-scored quiz is a different performance than more open-ended assessments, it does give a valuable window onto student thinking, especially when you use good strategies, and a little creativity. Moodle Quizzes can be an excellent way for students to proceed through a course, but they do need a lot of thought and development.

Administering a Quiz can be tricky as there are so many settings. You can set up a quiz to have a specific time window, allow multiple attempts, give feedback in a variety of ways, permit allowances for students in need, and many other options. Your quizzes could also use a Lockdown Browser if you feel it is needed.

Some “good practices” from the Moodle Documents support are as follows:

  • Tie each question to a course goal. After all, you want to know whether your students are achieving the goals of the course, so why not ask them directly?
  • Try to ask multiple questions about each important idea in the class. This gives you more data points about student understanding.
  • When writing a multiple-choice question, be sure each wrong answer represents a common mis-conception. This will help you diagnose student thinking and eliminate easy guessing.
  • Write questions requiring your students to think at different levels. Include some recall questions, some comprehension questions and some application and analysis questions. You can determine where students are having problems in their thinking. Can they recall the material, but not apply it?
  • Use frequent, low-stakes assessments you and your students can use to guide their performance during the course of the semester.
  • Test your questions. After you’ve established an initial question bank, use the system reports to determine which questions are useful, and which aren’t. As you write new questions, give them a lower point value and throw in a few to establish their reliability.

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Anonymous Grading

Anonymous grading is a way to reduce bias in your assessment. In Moodle you can anonymously grade quizzes and assignments.

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Moodle Gradebook

If you create an activity in Moodle, like an Assignment or a Quiz, it will automatically be added to the Gradebook. When you create the activity, you can add it to a category that you have created and specify how many points it is worth. How to set up your Moodle Gradebook.

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Alternative Grading Approaches

Specifications Grading

Specifications grading reduces grades to “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory;” an assignment either meets the specifications or it does not. This method offers students clear, specific guidelines so that they know exactly how to get a certain grade. To convert the duality to a letter grade, professors may count the number of satisfactory assignments, or use grade “bundles.” Bundles contain the specifications necessary for receipt of a certain letter grade. For instance, a submission that contains objectives one through five will receive a D, whereas a bundle that contains all ten objectives will receive an A. Specifications grading makes the formulas professors use to grade assignments available to students and allows students to choose the amount of investment they want to put in to their work. For more information, see this Inside Higher Ed article.


Ungrading focuses on student self-assessment and evaluation. Rather than giving students their grades, consider offering feedback in the form of sentences or paragraphs, then having students assign themselves grades based on their evaluations of their own work. Students may write process letters to reflect on their learning and then, considering your feedback and advice, assign themselves a grade either for the individual assignments or for the course as a whole. For introductory classes, more frequent reflections and directive assignments may be useful; for advanced courses, a midterm and final self-evaluation may be sufficient. For a more detailed description, see Jesse Stommel’s methodology.

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