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The Moodle gradebook is highly functional and flexible, but these traits can make it difficult to learn how to set things up.  Here are some techniques that may be useful for setting up your gradebook.

Making the gradebook visible to students

By default, students do not have access to see their grades. See How do I make the gradebook visible to students? to turn on the gradebook for students.  You may want to wait until the gradebook is set up before you give students access.

Will you use the Moodle gradebook as the definitive source for grades?

If the grades in Moodle reflect the actual grade the student will receive in your class, the course total column will be useful.  However, many faculty members include grades from outside Moodle in their grading schemes or curve the final course grades outside of Moodle.  In this case, you will want to hide the course total so that students do not mistakenly assume that the course total as shown in Moodle is their actual course total for the class. See How do I hide the Moodle grade course total? for details.

Moodle does not convert letter grades or scales to numeric grades very well

If you prefer to grade using letter grades or using a scale (e.g. Unsatisfactory, Satisfactory, Outstanding), it will be difficult to including these types of grades in a calculated course total.  If you won't be using Moodle to calculate the course total, then it would be best to hide the course total to avoid confusion.  See How do I hide the Moodle grade course total? for details.  In addition, you will want to select the "Real" grade display type instead of a letter grade.  Otherwise, Moodle will try to convert the letter grade into a number in a non-intuitive way.  For example a "B" on a 4-point grading scale is 3/4.  Even though the student earned a "B", the grade will show up as a "C" because Moodle thinks the student received 75% (3/4).  

To make sure you have the grade display set properly, go to  Gear Icon (top right of page)   Gradebook Setup  Course grade settings tab  Grade item settings  Grade Display type  Default (Real) or Real.

Uploading assignments in Moodle

It is possible to set up an assignment to let students upload their documents right into Moodle.  The assignments can be graded in Moodle and feedback sent to students.  See How can I set up an assignment in Moodle? for more information.  

Importing Grades into Moodle

See the Import Grades into Moodle page.