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Ideas and reflections from UCL's Digital Education team


Archive for the 'Digital Assessment' Category

Update on the Moodle-SITS Marks Transfer Wizard

By Kerry, on 6 June 2024

Since the release of the Moodle-SITS Marks Transfer Wizard in March 2024, we have an important update for you. When selecting a source Moodle activity to transfer marks from, Moodle activities can now include a Grade Item or Grade Category from the Moodle Grade Book.

Previously, it was only possible to transfer marks from a single Moodle assignment, Quiz or Turnitin assignment to one or more than one assessment component in Portico.

From 6th June 2024, you will also be able to select a Grade Item from the Moodle Grade Book to transfer marks from. This could be for another Moodle activity such as a Workshop or Lesson, or it could be for an LTI external tool activity that has permission to add grades to the Grade Book (such as Crowdmark or H5P). Alternatively, it could be an item you have added manually.

In addition, you can transfer marks from a Grade Category. This means that if you have set up a Category in the Grade Book which has its own aggregated grade calculated from its Grade Items, you can also transfer this grade to one or more than one assessment component in Portico.

Please ensure that the Grade Item or Category meet the following criteria before completing a marks transfer:

  • The mark is numeric (letter grades are not eligible) so the Grade type should be set to “value”.
  • The maximum value is 100.
  • The Grade display type is set to “Real” (other display types will not be recognised by Portico so the item or Category would not show up as a Source activity in the Marks Transfer Wizard). 

These developments were prioritised following user feedback during the pilot earlier this year. Our next priority will be to analyse requirements for SORAs, ECs, LSAs and other special cases.

You can access guidance on how to use Marks Transfer in our Wiki, which includes short screen recordings. There is now also a short Tour on Moodle for users getting started with the tool.

If you are experiencing issues with using the Marks Transfer Wizard, please check our FAQs (which are frequently updated) and if you are still unable to resolve your issue, you should contact the Digital Education Support team at digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk.

For any issues with Portico data e.g. incorrect assessment or student information, please contact lifecycle@ucl.ac.uk

For general feedback or suggestions on future developments, please contact your Faculty Champion.

Moodle Exam guard

By Eliot Hoving, on 19 April 2024

UCL Moodle has been updated with a new feature called Exam guard.

What is it?

Exam guard will prevent users from editing their course from 10 minutes before the start of a Moodle quiz until 10 minutes after the quiz has finished. Exam guard does this by looking at the “open the quiz”/ “close the quiz”  setting when a Moodle quiz is created. The course editing freeze will only apply where the Moodle quiz is open for less than 5 hours as it is designed to target Moodle quizzes being used for controlled condition exams.

A banner will appear at the top of your course when Exam guard is in effect.

Exam guard banner on a course page

Why is this required?

In the past, when users have attempted to edit and save changes to a Moodle course while a quiz is underway, it has caused serious performance issues while Moodle tries to refresh caches and implement the changes. This issue is particularly bad where a large cohort (300+) are taking the quiz, and has caused exams to be disrupted.

What do I need to do?

Exam guard will work automatically and should have no impact on the majority of workflows. Staff can still post to forums, and mark submissions in other assignments. They can also add user overrides for late minute ECs and SORA students to a quiz.

Staff will not be able to edit course settings or create or edit activities in their course while the exam is running.

Staff will no longer be able to manually release a Moodle quiz by making the quiz visible at the exam start time. This workflow is not recommended or required. A better approach is for staff to set the Moodle “open the quiz” setting to the exam start date and time when creating the quiz. Students will see the quiz item on Moodle but aren’t able to access the questions or begin the quiz before the open date and time so there is no risk your exam is released early.

Important Notice: Moodle groups

By Kerry, on 12 April 2024

Groups with “Hidden” or “Only see own membership” visibility are designed by Moodle to be secure so as not to disclose sensitive information.

It recently came to our attention that as a result they cannot be used when filtering assignments for markers.

If you do require groups that are filterable for markers, you will need to create new groups with group visibility set to “visible” or “only visible to members” and avoid naming them anything that could disclose they are for SORA or another specific group of students. This is because students within such a group can see who else is a member.

Any questions, please contact digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk

Initial release of Marks Transfer available on UCL Moodle!

By Kerry, on 18 March 2024

What is it?

A new UCL Moodle integration is now available to facilitate the transfer of marks from Moodle to Portico, aimed at improving the overall process. The marks transfer integration has been tested during two pilot phases and has received very positive feedback.

You can complete marks transfer for the following assessment scenarios:

  • One Moodle assessment activity is linked to one assessment component in Portico
  • One Moodle assessment activity is linked to multiple assessment components in Portico

Using the following Moodle assessment activity-types:

  • Moodle Assignment
  • Moodle Quiz
  • Turnitin Assignment (single submission)

In addition, the following conditions must be met:

  • A Portico enrolment block must be used to create a mapping with a Module Delivery to your Moodle course.​
  • An assessment component (or components) exists in Portico to map against.​
  • Assessment marks are numerical and 0-100.​
  • The assessment component(s) in Portico is compatible with SITS Marking Schemes and SITS Assessment Types.​
  • For exam assessments, the Portico assessment component is the exam room code EXAMMDLE. 

The flowchart below provides a visual overview of when you can use this initial release of Marks Transfer.

Flowchart indicating when you can use the initial release of Marks Tranfer.

How do I use it?

For guidance on how to use marks transfer, you can view our general overview, how to guide and FAQs.

There will also be demonstration and drop in support sessions: open to all to find out how to use the wizard / ask questions (note – you are welcome to “drop in” to these sessions with questions and do not need to stay for the whole duration). Please use the links below on the specified date / time to join the sessions (alternatively, if you would like to receive a calendar invitation to join one of these sessions, please email currentstudent@ucl.ac.uk specifying which session).

What should I do if I require support?

Please review our detailed FAQs, if you cannot find your answer there, please use one of the following contact points:

  • For any issues with using the marks transfer tool, please contact digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk
  • For any issues with Portico data eg. incorrect assessment or student information, contact lifecycle@ucl.ac.uk
  • Please provide any feedback about the Marks Transfer Wizard to your Faculty Champion.

What next?

Following this initial release, we will continue to develop the integration by adding further marking scenarios and functionality.

Current development priorities are:

  • Grade Book items and categories including external LTI resources
  • Handling of SoRAs, ECs and LSAs
  • Turnitin Multipart Assignments

This is a very exciting development for assessment administration at UCL. We hope you find the new Moodle Marks Transfer integration beneficial!

Many thanks,

Digital Learning Environments and the Student Records Team

Moodle-SITS Marks Transfer Pilot Update

By Kerry, on 9 February 2024

As some of you may be aware, a new Moodle integration is due to be released in the spring which has been designed and developed by the DLE Team to improve the process for transferring marks from Moodle to Portico. It is called the Moodle-SITS Marks Transfer Integration and we are currently trialing this with around 40 course administrators across the institution.

The pilot kicked off on 8 January and will run until 29 February 2024. The purpose of the pilot is to test the Moodle-SITS Marks Transfer Integration using the newly designed Marks Transfer Wizard and its marks transfer functionality that was developed following the Phase 1 Pilot, which took place with a very small group of course administrators at the end of last year. This wizard provides a more streamlined experience for end users by putting the core assessment component information at the centre of the tool which can then be mapped to a selection of Moodle assessments.

Pilot Phase 2 is the last pilot phase before an initial MVP (Minimal Viable Product) release into UCL Moodle Production in late March 2024. Currently, users can take advantage of the integration if the following criteria are met:

  1. They have used the Portico enrolment block to create a mapping with a Module Delivery on their Moodle course.
  2. Either of the following assessment scenarios is true:-
    1. Only one Moodle assessment activity is being linked to one assessment component in SITS.
    2. Only one Moodle assessment activity is being linked to multiple assessment components in SITS.
  3. An assessment component exists in SITS to map against.
  4. The Moodle assessment marks are numerical 0-100.
  5. The assessment component in SITS is compatible with SITS Marking Schemes and SITS Assessment Types.
  6. For exam assessments, the SITS assessment component is the exam room code EXAMMDLE.

The Marks Transfer Wizard currently supports the transfer of marks from one of the following summative assessment activities in Moodle:

  • Moodle Assignment
  • Moodle Quiz
  • Turnitin Assignment (NOT multipart)

We intend to collect feedback on the new Marks Transfer Wizard from pilot participants to improve the interface and workflow for a general UCL-wide release in late March 2024 and also to prioritise next step improvements and developments following the launch.

So far informal feedback has been very positive: users say the assessment wizard works well and will save them a lot of time. The pilot has also been useful for exploring where issues might arise with Portico records or Moodle course administration as well as for gathering frequently asked questions and advice on best practice which will feed into our guidance for wider rollout.

So what are the next steps? Well, we will continue to support our pilot participants until the end of February. In mid-February, the Marks Transfer Assessment Wizard will be updated with some interface improvements so participants will be able to feedback on these too. Towards the end of February, participants will be asked to complete a survey and some will take part in a focus group to help us evaluate the success of the MVP integration and to prioritise our plans for future developments. In addition, our Change Manager is working with us on a communications plan for wider release on UCL Moodle Production and is currently in the process of recruiting a network of champions to cascade guidance and best practice on Moodle-SITS Marks Transfer across UCL, as well as to help us to continue to gather feedback on the user experience. More information about this exciting new development will be available in the coming months!

The Assessment Matrix Resurrected

By Claudia Cox, on 31 October 2023

Credit: Tobias_ET, 2017.

The Digital Assessment Team are pleased to announce a new version of the Assessment Matrix tool, which replaces and expands on a comparison table of the main technologies used for assignments at UCL.

Overview of the Matrix

The Assessment Matrix tool is aimed at helping users in the process of designing assessments decide which platform is best suited for delivery. In addition to providing a quick, visual guide of what different platforms can offer online, users can also download an offline, interactive version of this resource and filter assessment options based on their submission, marking and feedback, and administrative needs.

View the Assessment Matrix.

The tool is expected to be relevant to both academics and administrative staff. It will serve as a valuable starting point for discussions that occur after assessments have been aligned with learning outcomes but before they have been fully developed and designed, and before the platform to be used has been finalised. The decision on which platform should be used will also need to consider faculty approach, tools used for formative assessment and other factors.

The new version contains information on the following platforms:

  • Moodle assignment
  • Turnitin Assigment (in Moodle)
  • Wiseflow – the UCL AssessmentUCL digital assessment platform [NEW]
  • Reflect – the UCL version of the WordPress blogging service [NEW]
  • MyPortfolio – the UCL version of the Mahara eportfolio platform
  • Crowdmark – an assessment tool currently used by the maths department [NEW]

The matrix covers assessment submission options (such as type of formats that can be submitted, if group work is possible and text editor options), marking (such as if double or blind marking are available, audio feedback options and inline annotation) and feedback and administrative settings (such reporting, export of content and is it integrated with SITs).

A screenshot of the updated assessment matrix


Initial feedback on the Assessment Matrix highlighted the importance of testing resources to ensure they meet accessibility requirements. Originally this was intended to have a ‘traffic light’ design to indicate whether tools met users’ needs for assessment, however due to the limited cell colour range available on the Confluence wiki this would not have met WCAG 2.2.

Using staff recommended tools such as COBLIS and TPGi’s Colour Contrast Analyser are great ways to help ensure that any resources and materials are WCAG compliant and allowed us to find a colour scheme that works for a broader audience of users.


Digital Assessment Team has been cautious about overloading the matrix to prevent overwhelming its users. However, they are eager to ensure that the matrix remains as user-friendly as possible. If you spot anything that needs updating or editing please contact the Digital Assessment Team (assessment-advisory@ucl.ac.uk).

If you wish to discuss your assessment approach in more detail refer to the education support contacts in your faculty and department.