When learning online first took off nearly two decades ago, one of the big attractions was paperless grading: students could send work to Moodle and the teacher could provide feedback without exhausting their supply of pens or straining their back carrying weighty dissertations.
Nowadays, even the smallest LMS-lite includes assessment features, but Moodle still leads the way in both the wide-ranging options available and the sound educational basis behind them.
Multiple ways to submit and feedback
Moodle’s Assignment activity allows students to upload presentations, text documents, media or any file type required for the assignment. Alternatively, they can type their submission into a textbox in Moodle, which has a handy word count. Teachers may comment directly on submissions, annotate them as PDF or even, using one of the many assignment plugins available, add audio or video feedback.
Simple points or advanced grading?
Whether you are an individual teacher using single percentages or a tutor in a major institution assessing against complex rubrics, Moodle can meet your grading needs. You can add your own custom scales, set outcomes against tasks and even grade activities completed offline.
It’s possible not only to assess students individually but also as a group, using the group submission settings feature in assignments. Students in the same group will all receive the group grade and feedback comments – unless you choose to assess and grade each member separately.The choice is yours!
Peer and self assessment
While the assignment module is essential for traditional grading, Moodle’s powerful Workshop activity puts the control firmly in the hands of the students: they can assess their own work (based on criteria you provide) and can provide feedback on submissions of others, building their understanding collectively.
Students may also be given permission to rate each other’s posts in other Moodle activities such as forums. This increases engagement in the course and gives responsibility to the participants.
While every LMS includes a ‘Quiz’ feature which grades responses automatically, giving instant results and feedback, no other LMS can boast the number and variety of question types that Moodle’s Quiz activity can. Moodle 3.0 will see the introduction of 4 new question types, focusing on drag and drop (watch this space!), and the Moodle plugins directory includes over 50 other contributed question types to suit all learning requirements. But a quiz is more than just questions: adapting the behaviour and layout of questions in Moodle quiz means you can tailor your quiz for formative or summative assessment and even independent study.
‘Blind marking’ is an optional feature available to teachers when grading assignments and is useful in organisations where student identities must not be revealed. Student names are replaced by a participant number.
While the above options are freely available in standard Moodle installations, perhaps you require something more specific? Moodle partners offer extra, customised assessment tools and can also develop and adapt existing tools to meet your needs. Get in touch with a Moodle partner in your country here.