One approach for Group Project Grading

This topic came up in a discussion with an institution recently, about handling assessing and grading group project work. But it was not only about the teacher assessing but also the students having some impact too but not full-blown peer assessment.

So I put the question to you – how do you handle project work grading in Moodle?

Some thoughts

With Moodle 2.4 group assignment marking came in. This had two impacts:

  1. This enabled the teacher to allow the students to submit as a group (with either each one submitting or just one for the group).
  2. This also meant that the teacher could grade one of the group and have the mark given to each of that group.

Once nice way of managing these groups is having a set of groups created just for the projects and putting them all into one grouping. This way the assignment can use those specific groups to group the submissions/grading.

This is great for where the teacher is granting all the grades. However, although you can override the common group grade with individual grades, this has no student element of rating the independent contribution of each group member, by each member of that group.

So if you want to have the rating of the students impact the total grade for the assignment what to do?  And to be clear, what i mean is:

If the assignment is graded at 100 points and you want to add a calculation so that the students can impact a percentage of this grade by their rating of their fellow project group members?

An example (with a rather aggressive scoring method)

  • Peter, Paul and Mary submit a project assignment.
  • The group project gets 100.
  • Peter did not do much in the project, and Paul and Mary mark him down accordingly 4/5.
  • So after the scoring is applied, Paul and Mary get 100%, but Peter gets 80%

A forum post can be rated. It can also be rated by students if you set the permissions correctly for that forum. However this has no impact on the assignment value so what to do?

This is where a neat option comes in with Gradebook. The Gradebook is a powerful and often underused tool. You can create a Gradebook category and put the assignment and the forum into it. Then you can create a custom calculation such as: assignmenttotal * forumrating / 5 . So assuming your ratings will have a total of 5, this will mean that if a student gets 100 for the assignment and gets 4/5 total from his peers, then the category total will be 80.


Gradebook View of a Category with Custom Calculation

In the image above, the rating used was out of 10. The user ANON5 was given 70/100 by the teacher for the project. And 6/10 by his peers for project contribution. So the category score is 70*6/10 = 42.

Of course you don’t need to be so aggressive and perhaps set the equation to be something less severe that a direct multiplier. The calculation options is very powerful and is explained in detail in the Moodle Docs here ->

So what you would need to do is:

Groups Set up

  1. create your groups for the project
  2. create a grouping for the project work
  3. add those groups into the grouping

Assignment Setup

  1. Create the assignment
  2. enable it for group submissions
  3. choose the grouping for pulling the groups from.
  4. set the ID in common settings to be assign1

Scale Setup

  1. Go in gradebook
  2. Go into the scales section
  3. Create a new scale 1,2,3,4,5

Forum Setup

  1. Add a forum
  2. Set ratings enabled and max of ratings (of course you could use any aggregate type your prefer)
  3. Set up with groups separated
  4. Lock to the grouping that holds the groups for the project
  5. Once saved you can then enable student rating through the Assignment Admin -> Permissions
  6. Set the ID in common settings to be forum1

The Gradebook setup

  1. Use the simple view of categories in gradebook
  2. Create a gradebook category
  3. Move the assignment and forum into the category
  4. Edit the category calculation and put in =[[assign1]] * ([[forum1]]/5)

The [[ ]] brackets are used to contain the ID you gave the activity when creating a formula.

Wrap up

The rest of your gradebook may need some moving around and collating into another category for display and totalling purposes, but I wont go into that here.

Now of course you may not want your students to see the total rating they got from their group mates, so this approach may not be for you.

So, back to the question at the start: how do you handle project work grading in Moodle?

Please add your thoughts and suggestions and improvements below!

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3 Responses to One approach for Group Project Grading

  1. Keith Bryant says:

    Wow! That seems fairly complicated!
    1) we’ve only just got Moodle 2,4 so the group assignment is new for us.
    2) and we’re just starting to dive into the more complicated regions of the gradebook.
    3) so this gives me something to get my teeth into!
    That custom calculation looks specially interesting!
    Thanks for this (& other) great Moodle tips.

  2. Russell says:

    WebPA divides up a group mark according to the total of group-members’ anonymous ratings of their team-members on a number of criteria. It also distributes anonymous comment, if you want that. It’s Open Source and there’s a plugin for Moodle that makes activity setup very easy for teachers.

  3. Mike says:

    Hi, the desired calculation at our institution computes the group average as part of the weighting, any idea how I do that? I want to use something like average[[forum1]] but that won’t wash with Moodle as it is looking at the [[forum1]] mark for the individual student.

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