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Setting Up a Gradebook in GauchoSpace

The GauchoSpace gradebook is extremely flexible and designed to meet the needs of instructors across disciplines at UCSB no matter the class size. The gradebook offers a wide range of functions and allows you to manage the recording, calculation, and sharing of grades and feedback with students. Here are some of the features available:

  • Integration of online activities. While you can create grade items to be manually recorded in the gradebook, any interactive graded activities administered through GauchoSpace will populate scores automatically into the gradebook.
  • Sharing grades and feedback with students. Students can view their grades in individualized reports that protect their privacy. However, you decide when feedback or grades become available to view.
  • Sorting by Section. Grades can be sorted and displayed according to groups or sections, allowing TAs the option of viewing only the students in their assigned sections.
  • Importing and Exporting Capabilities. The gradebook allows you to import scores from external sources like iClicker as well as Excel spreadsheets. In addition, grade data can be exported to external documents.
  • Multiple Aggregation Methods. The gradebook offers several different aggregation methods that can help you execute virtually any grading scenario. Whether you wish to keep grading simple by giving every assignment the same weight or have a more complicated scenario, the gradebook can most likely accommodate your approach to grading.
  • Various Views. The gradebook allows you to view grades from the instructor’s perspective and to see a user report showing what the student sees when they log in to check on their grades.

Steps for Gradebook Success

Step 1: Understand the difference between Categories and Grade Items

The first step in setting up your gradebook is determining exactly what items you need to include in the gradebook. Your gradebook will likely include both grade categories and individual grade items.

    • Grade categories are groups of related grades that will be calculated together; they are useful when there are multiple similar assignments (e.g., weekly responses, or quizzes). Other items that are not grouped together, such as a Final Exam, can often just be created as individual grade item.
    • Grade Items refer to the individual entries for assignments, exams, etc. Any assignments administered offline, such as a mid-term exam, will require a manually created grade item. However, with graded interactive activities in your course site, such as Assignments or Quizzes, the corresponding grade items are created automatically and their scores feed into the gradebook from the activity. Other items will need to be added manually.
    • Note: If you are using i>Clicker, you do not need to manually create a grade category for i>Clicker scores (dates), as it will be created when you first import your i>Clicker scores and populate each time you sync with iGrader.

An example of a grade category, used here to group quizzes together. In this scenario, each of the quizzes are weighted equally, but the category is set to 10% of the total grade.

Step 2: Add Categories to the Gradebook

Grade categories, if you are using them, should be set up before adding individual grade items. Examples of Gradebook categories include: Quizzes, Assignments, Participation, etc. Each group of grade items within a category will be calculated together. 

To create a Grade Category, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to GauchoSpace and enter your course site.
  2. In the Administration Block click Gradebook setup.
  3. Click Add category at the bottom of the page.
  4. Enter Category Name.
  5. Click Save Changes.
  6. Repeat for all required categories

STEP 3: Add Individual Grade Items to the Gradebook.

Remember that you do not need to create a grade item for activities graded within GauchoSpace (Assignments, Quizzes, etc.), as these will be automatically fed into the gradebook. To create manual items for activities administered offline, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to GauchoSpace and enter your course site.
  2. In the Administration Block click Gradebook setup.
  3. Click Add grade item.
  4. Enter the grade item name.
  5. Click Show more... to change other settings as needed
  6. Under “Parent Category,” Click on “Show More…” to assign grade item to a grade category. See image below.

  1. Select the grade item’s category from drop down menu. See image below.


  1. Click "Save changes."
  2. Repeat for other manually added grade items
  3. Note: If you are creating a manual extra credit item, you will need to click Save Changes, then edit the grade item to check the extra credit box. See this page for more information about extra credit items: How do I add extra credit in a Gradebook?

Step 4: Ensure Automatically Created Grade Items are Assigned to the Appropriate Grade Categories.

Now that your categories have been created, you can adjust the settings for GauchoSpace activities (assignments, quizzes, lessons, forums) so that the grade for each assignment will be included in the appropriate category. If you have not created your activities, please create the activities that are required for your course, even if they are just placeholders. You can hide the activities so that students only see a name and assign the activity, if it is graded, to a category in the settings. See the Assignments section for more details.

  1. Log in to GauchoSpace and enter your course site.
  2. In the Administration block click Gradebook setup.
  3. From the Gradebook setup page, click on the assignment. See image below.

  1. Click on "Edit Settings" to access grading options. See image below for example in an assignment. You can find Edit Settings for all activities in GauchoSpace.

  1. Find the Grade section and expand. See image below.

  1. Use the Grade category dropdown menu to select the appropriate category. This step can be completed when you first create an assignment. See image below for example in an Assignment activity.

  1. Click "Save changes."

Step 5: Select Aggregation Methods

Once you have incorporated all of your grade items and categories into the gradebook, you can then establish the aggregation methods, or how the grades will be calculated. You will need to select aggregation methods for both the course and each category.

The default calculation method is the Natural aggregation. The Natural method combines the flexibility of each of the other aggregation method in one easy-to-use method with a simplified interface. The default version of the Natural method is identical to Sum of Grades, which was popular in past version of Moodle (the program GauchoSpace runs on).

In all aggregation methods, the system will automatically adjust your weights to add up to 100%, so setting weights is easiest once all relevant items are present to be weighted. The weights can easily be adjusted from the gradebook setup view as shown here:

Natural Method (without Weights).

As stated earlier, the Natural method is defaulted to Sum of Grades. This is a system in which the total number of points that determine a course grade is based on the relative number of points for each assignment. For example (image below):

  • Midterm - 75 points
  • Paper #1 - 75 points
  • Paper#2 - 100 points
  • Quizzes (4) - 25 points each
  • Final Exam - 100 points
  • Total points = 450

In this setup, the value of the midterm is 75% of the value of the Final Exam and 16.67% of the total score (75/450). So each score is "weighted" by the maximum points by the total points of all other grade items.

This scenario is very easy to set up: just create all the items and set their respective point totals to match the value you want to have relative to each other. Activities that you create in GauchoSpace already have a place for a "maximum grade," which will become your max grade in the gradebook. You can then add and edit the max grade for manual grade items. For an example, see: Weekly Showcase Site.

Example of Natural method gradebook, based on a sum of items approach. Here the weight column represents the relative value of items based on their designated points.

Weighted grade items

Instructors who set weights for their grades will want to adjust the weights so that all categories or items are calculated out of a possible 100%, such as in following example:

    • Midterm - 20%
    • Paper #1 - 20%
    • Paper #2 - 25%
    • Quizzes - 10%
    • Final Exam - 25%

In this example, the grade items are all individually worth 100 points but they are set to be weighted differently in order to produce the final course percentage. Note: You and your students will still see a max grade in this

This setup is easily accomplished using the default settings - once you have the grade items created you just need to click the weight check-box and input your desired weight.

An example of weighted grades calculation. Note the assignment activities that were created in the course site and automatically created as grade items.

Step 6: Decide how you want grades to display to students and check what they are seeing

You can always see what a student is seeing in the gradebook by accessing the User report and selecting an individual student.

The default settings for displaying grades to students include the following columns of information:

*Grade Item *Grade *Range *Calculated weight *Percentage *Feedback

You are able to make changes to what is displayed here in the Gradebook Setup page by clicking on the Course grade settings tab and scrolling down to the User report section.

Letter grades

In particular, many instructors will want to also display letter grades for students. If you wish to do this, you should first make sure that the ranges for letter grades are set so that each percentage correlates to your desired letter grade. To view and edit the grade ranges, click the Letters tab in the Gradebook. You should also review these if you wish to export letter grades from your gradebook to upload scores to E-grades.

These are the default ranges used for displaying or exporting Letter grades.

Other relevant gradebook topics:

Summer 2015 -Gradebook Changes/Overview

Exclude empty grades from aggregation

Rescale a grade item

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