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Within Totara Learn most grading that takes place is simple direct grading (either numerical or a scale). Advanced grading methods allow you to grade based on criteria using either a grading rubric or marking guides. 

Marking guides

A marking guide allows you to grade a learner based on a set of criterion. 

You can either choose to add a new marking guide from scratch or to create one from a template. 

Adding a marking guide

Creating a marking guide from scratch 

To add a new marking guide you will first need to add an assignment, you will then need to follow these steps:

  1. In the Administration block select Advanced grading

  2. Next, select Marking guide in the Change active grading method to dropdown.

  3. Click on Define a new marking guide from scratch

  4. Add a name and description.

  5. You can now start adding marking criterion - you can fill out the first one then click Add criterion to add more. 

    • Add a Name e.g. 'Understanding'.

    • Add a Description for learners - this will let them know what the criterion means.

    • Add a Description for markers - this will help guide them when marking. 

    • Add the Maximum score (the highest amount that can be given for this criterion). 

  6. Add Frequently used comments - these can then be used to make marking quicker. 
  7. Configure Marking guide options
  8. Click Save marking guide and make it ready (or if you want to work more on the marking guide Save as draft). 

Example criterion

Adding a marking guide from a template 

To add a new marking guide you will first need to add an assignment, you will then need to follow these steps:

  1. In the Administration block select Advanced grading

  2. Next, select Marking guide in the Change active grading method to dropdown.

  3. Select Create new marking guide from a template.

  4. You will be able to browse or search for the marking guide you wish to use. 

  5. Once you have found the marking guide click Use this template underneath it. 

  6. You will then need to click Continue to confirm you wish to use that template.

You can now use the template or edit it to better suit your purposes. 

Using a marking guide

If you wish to use a marking guide then you need to make sure that Grading method is set to Marking guide. You can then create a marking guide from scratch or add an existing one from a template (it will need to have been published as a template). 

Then when you go to the table of submission simply follow these steps:

  1. Click Grade alongside the submission you wish to start marking. 
  2. Use the marking guide to help you grade, by considering each criterion and then giving a mark and leaving a comment that is appropriate for that criterion. If you have set up frequently used comments then you may find these help to speed up the marking process. 
  3. Once you have finished marking a learner you can use the arrows in the top right to change users and mark another learner.
  4. If you are finished marking entirely click Save changes before exiting to save your marks and comments. 

Marking guide example

Managing marking guides

Once you have added a marking guide you may wish to edit it. You can do this by going to Advanced grading in the assignment administration block. 

You can use the options to edit the marking guide or delete it. 

Editing options for marking guides

Sharing a marking guide 

If you wish to share your marking guide with other trainers, so that they can also use it, then you need to follow these steps:

  1. Go to the assignment that has the marking guide associated to it. 
  2. Click Publish the form as a new template.
  3. You will then need to confirm you wish to make this marking guide available across the site. 

Rubrics

A rubric is a grading matrix that allows you to grade the learner based on a preset marking grid. 

Adding a new rubric

Creating a new rubric from scratch 

To add a new rubric you will first need to add an assignment, you will then need to follow these steps:

  1. In the Administration block select Advanced grading

  2. Next, select Rubric in the Change active grading method to dropdown.

  3. Click on Define a new grading form from scratch

  4. Add a name and description.

  5. You can now start adding criterion to the rubric, clicking Add criterion for each criterion you need to add:

    • Criterion:  This can be a name or description for example simply 'Understanding' or 'The learner demonstrates a clear understanding of the topic'. A fuller criterion can help guide other trainers when marking. 

    • Level: Each criterion has a series of marking levels, which are the different point scales, for example you might have four levels going from Poor - Excellent. Each level can include a description of what it entails and is allocated a certain number of marks (these can be ascending or descending). Click Add level at the end of the criterion row to add additional levels. 

  6. Repeat step 5 as many times as you wish. 
  7. Configure Rubric options
  8. Click Save marking guide and make it ready (or if you want to work more on the marking guide Save as draft).

When adding criterion you can use the duplicate () icon to copy the current criterion and its levels - this is helpful if the levels are similar for subsequent criterion. You can also use the arrows to reorder criterion and the cross to remove them (the cross can also be used within a level to remove that level).


Creating a new rubric from scratch.

Adding a rubric from a template 

To add a new marking guide you will first need to add an assignment, you will then need to follow these steps:

  1. In the Administration block select Advanced grading

  2. Next, select Rubric in the Change active grading method to dropdown.

  3. Select Create new grading form from a template.

  4. You will be able to browse or search for the rubric you wish to use. 

  5. Once you have found the marking guide click Use this template underneath it. 

  6. You will then need to click Continue to confirm you wish to use that template.

You can now use the template or edit it to better suit your purposes. 

Adding a rubric from a template.

Rubric option settings 

SettingDescriptionNotes
Sort order for levels

Choose from:

  • Ascending by number of points
  • Descending by number of points
-
This setting only applies if the sum of the minimum number of points for each criterion is greater than 0. If ticked, the minimum achievable grade for the rubric will be greater than 0. If unticked, the minimum possible score for the rubric will be mapped to the minimum grade available for the activity (which is 0 unless a scale is used).-
Decide if learners can see the rubric before receiving their grade. This can help them familiarise themselves with the grading criterion before submitting their assignment.-
Decide if you wish learners to see this and get an idea of the basis of the rubric during the evaluation stage.-
Decide if you wish learners to see this and get an idea of the basis of the rubric whilst they are being graded. -
Decide if you wish learners to see this and get an idea of the point levels of the rubric during the evaluation stage.-
Decide if you wish learners to see this and get an idea of the point levels of the rubric whilst they are being graded.-
If this is enabled then graders can add additional remarks to explain or justify why they have chosen a certain point level for one or more criterion - this can help the learner understand what they did right or wrong and build upon that moving forward.-
Decide if you wish the remarks to be shown to learners.-

Using a rubric

If you wish to use a rubric then you need to make sure that Grading method is set to Rubric. You can then create a rubric from scratch or add an existing one from a template (it will need to have been published as a template). 

Then when you go to the table of submission simply follow these steps:

  1. Click Grade alongside the submission you wish to start marking. 
  2. Use the rubric to help you grade, by considering each criterion and selecting the appropriate level, you can also leave a comment if this setting has been enabled.  
  3. Once you have finished marking a learner you can use the arrows in the top right to change users and mark another learner.
  4. If you are finished marking entirely click Save changes before exiting to save your marks and comments. 

Using a rubric to mark.

Managing rubric

Once you have added a rubric you may wish to edit it. You can do this by going to Advanced grading in the assignment administration block. 

You can the use the options to edit the marking guide or delete it. 

Managing your rubric.

Sharing a rubric 

If you wish to share your rubric with other trainers, so that they can also use it, then you need to follow these steps:

  1. Go to the assignment that has the rubric associated to it. 
  2. Click Publish the form as a new template.
  3. You will then need to confirm you wish to make this rubric available across the site. 

Grade calculation

The rubric normalised score (i.e. basically a percentage grade) is calculated by adding all of the scores given (minus the minimum score possible) over the maximum grades (minus the minimum grades to achieve a fraction which is then converted into a percentage. 

For example, if you had an assessment form with two criteria, which both have four levels. The Trainer chooses the level with 2 points for the first criterion and 3 points for the second criterion. Then the normalised score is:

Example grade calculation.
This calculation may be different from how you intuitively use rubric. For example, if the Trainer in the example chose both levels with 1 point, the plain sum would be 2 points. But that is actually the lowest possible score so it maps to the grade 0 in Totara. To avoid confusion, it is recommended to always include a level with 0 points in the rubric definition.

Totara Academy

The Totara Academy has a whole course dedicated to using Grading, completion and certificates in Totara Learn. Here you can learn more on how to use these tools, see best practice, and give it a go yourself.

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