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Course Connect - For Faculty & Staff: Aggregations & Weights

Aggregations & Weights

An aggregation is the automated calculation method used in your gradebook. The three most-used aggregations are addressed on this page: Simple Weighted Mean of Grades; Weighted Mean of Grades; and Natural weighting. 

Click here to learn more about grade aggregations.


Topics on this Page:

Adjusting Aggregations; Simple Weighted Mean of Grades; Weighted Mean of Grades; Natural WeightingOther Aggregation Methods

Adjusting Aggregations

Adjusting your Aggregations

The default aggregation (automated calculation) for the gradebook is Simple Weighted Mean of GradesThe three most common aggregation methods are described on this page; be sure to choose an aggregation that aligns with your syllabus before following the steps below. Read more about aggregations at the following links:

If you would like to change the aggregation for either your whole gradebook or for specific categories, see below. 

To adjust your aggregation method, first select the Grades tab from your course page to enter the Grader Report. Use the Grader Report drop-down menu to select Gradebook Setup, and you will see a screen similar to the one below:


The Gradebook Setup page will tell you the aggregation for your gradebook as a whole and for your individual categories (see: red boxes above). Note: your gradebook and your categories do not have to have the same aggregation method, but please ensure you are not using conflicting aggregation methods. 

In the blue box pictured above, you will see the Edit buttons which will lead to the settings pages for the gradebook and for the category. You may want to change your aggregation method either at the course or category level, or both (read about Simple Weighted Mean of Grades and Weighted Mean of Grades for more information). In either case, you will enter the settings using the Edit button across from the name of the category; be sure to look for the folder icon with the name of the category, and not the edit button across from the category total. You will see the following page:



Use the Aggregation drop-down menu to select your preferred method. After selecting the method and adjusting any other preferred settings, scroll down and select Save Changes

Natural Weighting

Natural weighting is an excellent choice for instructors who want to create a points-based system in their gradebook with a maximum grade above 100 points. 


Natural weighting in the gradebook results in a maximum course total grade that is the sum of the combined maximum grades for all of your activities. For example, if you have an exam worth 100 points, a short essay worth 50 points, and an in-class activity worth 10 points, your course total would be 160 points. The maximum grade of each activity also serves as each item's weight; in this example, the 100-point grade item carried twice the weight of the 50-point item. 

If the weights are not overridden, the automatic weights that are calculated are simply for the instructor's reference; the weights are still based on each item's maximum grade. If you want to manually apply weights to your Natural weighted gradebook, tick the box located next to the weight of the item you want to adjust and this will override the automatically applied weight. 



Enter the new weight, and either select Enter on your keyboard or Save Changes at the bottom of the screen. All weights will be auto-calculated to equal 100%; if you enter a weight for only one grade item, the other weights will automatically adjust so that all weights add up to 100%. 

Other Aggregation Methods

Other Aggregation Methods

Our version of Moodle offers two other aggregation methods that are not addressed on this guide: Mean of Grades and Mean of Grades (with extra credits). See below to learn more about these aggregations. 


Click here to read about Mean of Grades

The sum of all grades divided by the total number of grades.

Click here to read about Mean of Grades (with extra credits)

A value greater than 0 treats a grade item's grades as extra credit during aggregation. The number is a factor by which the grade value will be multiplied before it is added to the sum of all grades, but the item itself will not be counted in the division.

Simple Weighted Mean of Grades

Simple Weighted Mean of Grades

Simple Weighted Mean of Grades is the default aggregation for the gradebook, and it is the most straightforward and traditional Moodle method of grading. In Simple Weighted Mean of Grades, the weight of each item is its maximum grade. Because the maximum value of the item is interpreted as its weight, if your assignments all carry the same maximum point value your grade items will be weighted equally.

If your grade items have different maximum grades, your activities will be weighted appropriately. In Simple Weighted each score is converted to a ratio before weights are applied. For example, see the following scenario:

You have three assignments set up with different maximum grades. Your student scores 8/10, 15/20, and 45/50. These scores are converted to a ratio: 
8/10 becomes 0.8

15/20 becomes 0.75

45/50 becomes 0.9

The maximum value of the item is then interpreted as its weight, and weights are applied as follows: 

0.8 x 10 = 8

0.75 x 20 = 15

0.9 x 50 = 45

These scores are then summed and divided by the total weights (10 + 20 + 50 = 80)

8 + 15 + 45 = 68

68 / 80 = 0.85

If your gradebook is set to display grades as a percentage, 0.85 will display as 85% in the "Category Total" column.

Weighted Mean of Grades

Weighted Mean of Grades

In the Weighted Mean of Grades aggregation, weights can be assigned manually by the instructor. As stated by Moodle, "each grade item can be given a weight to change its importance in the overall mean. In simple terms, the category 'total' will be equal to the sum of the scores in each grade item, each multiplied by its grade weight, and that sum is finally divided by the sum of all weights."

The items you have the ability to weight will depend on your gradebook setup. If you have not set up categories in your gradebook, you will simply adjust the aggregation for the main course-level folder and you will be able to weight the individual grade items in your course. To do so, look for the Edit button for the top-level category; it will have a folder icon and the name of your course. Select Edit and then Edit Settings, and on the following page adjust your aggregation (see the Adjusting Aggregations section on this page for a screenshot and further instructions). 

If you have categories setup in your gradebook, it is possible to either weight the categories themselves, or to weight the individual grade items within the categories. If you would like to weight only the overarching categories you have created, change the course-level folder/category to Weighted Mean as noted above. If you would like to weight the grade items within a category, you will choose Edit and then Edit Settings across from the category that contains the items you would like to weight. Always look for the folder icon for the category you would like to adjust, and select the Edit option across from the folder icon and not the Edit option for the category total. 

The screenshot below shows an example of how weights work when you have categories in your gradebook. The blue boxes represent the items that can be weighted if you were to adjust your aggregation at the course-level category. If adjust your aggregation at the course level using the Edit option in the blue box, all of the items highlighted in blue will have a weight option because each item falls under the course-level category. This includes the folder labeled 'Category,' because it falls under the main course-level category. Items are indented to show which category they are associated with. 

As seen below, the grade item 'Assignment' is indented further than the category and the uncategorized activities, and 'Assignment' is shown beneath the folder labeled 'Category.' This means that the activity belongs to the 'Category' folder, and so will only be weighted if the aggregation is adjusted for that category. There will be no option to weight the assignment if you have only adjusted the course-level aggregation. To apply weights to the items within your categories, go to the Edit option across from the category's name (see red boxes below) and adjust your aggregation as described above. 


Once you have adjusted your aggregation at either the course or category level (or both) you will see a screen similar to the one below; the image shows the weights available after the aggregation has been adjusted at the course level only.



You will notice that after changing the aggregation to Weighted Mean of Grades, boxes appear in the Weights column. There will be a placeholder '1' in each box, which means that all of your grade items are currently weighted equally. To apply a new weight, simply enter the weight into the correct box and then select Enter on your keyboard. If you are entering multiple weights, you can enter each weight and select Save Changes at the bottom of the page. To ensure your grades are calculated appropriately, please ensure your weights add up to 100%. 

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