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Grading Forums, Glossaries, and Databases Using Ratings
Last modified on 05 July 2023 02:23 PM

Ratings can be useful for instructors who wish to track or grade forum posts, glossary entries, and database entries and link them directly to the course gradebook. They can also be used as a collaborative activity by allowing students to rate each other's posts anonymously.

Aggregation methods:

Ratings for each individual student can be tallied (aggregated) in several ways:

  • Average of ratings - The mean of all ratings.
  • Count of ratings - The number of rated items becomes the final grade. Note that the total cannot exceed the maximum grade for the activity.
  • Maximum rating - The highest rating becomes the final grade.
  • Minimum rating - The lowest rating becomes the final grade.
  • Sum of ratings - All ratings are added together. Note that the total cannot exceed the maximum grade for the activity.

The aggregation method will determine how students are scored (rated) on individual student posts, replies or entries. For example, you might select 'Maximum rating' if you wanted students to achieve a minimum standard and if they had a number of posts, replies or entries to try and achieve that standard. You could score (rate) them multiple times but they would only receive the highest score given.

Setting up Ratings:

1. In the 'Ratings' section of your activity's settings page, choose the required aggregation method in the 'Aggregate type' dropdown menu:


2. The 'Scale' section gives a number of choices on how students’ posts, replies or entries will be rated. Because ratings are assigned from a drop-down menu, numeric ratings are limited to discrete intervals. If students will be assessed a whole number rating, you should set 'Scale' Type to Point and specify the desired maximum score.

3. Otherwise, you should set 'Scale' Type to Scale. The following are some examples of commonly used scales:

    • Half Points and Quarter point scales can be used to give posts fractional numeric ratings.
    • Pass/Fail and Complete / Non-Complete can be used to give a student’s post a mark of either 0 or 1 but will be displayed as Pass, Fail, Complete, or Non-Complete.
    • More details on other scales can be found by clicking on the Grades tab at the top of your course main page. Then under the 'Grader report' drop-down, click on 'Scales'. It is also possible to Create and Use Custom Scales:

4. Choose a 'Scale' type:

5. The Like scale can be used to rate forum posts, glossary entries and database entries by the number of likes, similar to ‘liking’ something on social media. The Like scale is unique because the only assignable grade is Like and is, therefore, most often used with the Count of ratings Aggregate type. Numerically, a Like is worth 1 mark.

Who can rate activities:

Note that by default, only administrative roles in the course are allowed to rate forum posts, glossary entries and database entries. If you want to set your forum up so that students can 'Like' each other's posts, please follow the instructions in the article Allowing Students to Rate Forum Posts.

Time/date restrictions:

6. If you wish to add time restrictions to specify which ratings will be calculated, select the checkbox next to "Restrict ratings to items with dates in this range" and enter the desired range of dates.

7. Click Save and return to course, or Save and display, at the bottom of the page when you are done.

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