Canvas New Gradebook Best Practices

In order to save time and headaches at the end of the semester, we recommend following the steps below to ensure that your gradebook is set up correctly at the beginning so that it will be easier to use during the semester and your final grades will be calculated accurately.

Use the links below to jump down to the information you need:

Start of Semester: Gradebook Setup

During the Semester: Using the Gradebook

End of Semester: Grading Wrap-up

Start of Semester: Gradebook Setup

  1. Set up your course Grading Scheme
    You will need to enable and accurately implement a Grading Scheme according to the information provided in your course syllabus document. If you are providing a syllabus file and not using the HTML Syllabus page in your course site, we recommend that you delete the "grading scheme" block from the HTML Syllabus page in order to prevent confusion.

    It is crucial that you ensure your course Grading Scheme matches your syllabus information even if you do not intend to use the FSU Final Grade Upload Tool to transfer final grades from Canvas to the Faculty Center for final grade submission. A standard FSU grading scheme is automatically enabled in your course site, so it is best that you check the grading scheme and make any adjustments needed. You can do this by clicking the Settings link on your course navigation menu. For additional information regarding Grading Schemes, please refer to How to setup your course Grading Scheme.
     
  2. Set up grade weighting in your Canvas course according to your Syllabus.
    The first step is to set up your assignment group weights on the Assignments page in your course. Canvas does not assign weights to individual Assignments, and instead assigns weights to each assignment grouping. If you need to weight a single assignment, such as a final exam, then you will need to create a separate assignment group for that particular item. For more information, see our tutorial How do I create Assignment Weights?.
     
  3. Create Assignments and grade columns as needed within each assignment group.
    Create all the assignments that your students will submit and organize them within your assignment groups. These assignments can be "assignment shells" right now, meaning that they simply state the assignment title, due date, and how many points they are worth. You can come back and edit each assignment at any time to include more detailed information. However, it is important when creating your assignment shells to determine the types of assignments your students will complete: Graded Quizzes (assessments and surveys taken online), graded Discussions, Canvas Assignments submitted online (papers submitted online but not checked for plagiarism), and Turnitin Assignments (papers submitted online and checked for plagiarism) are all possible within Canvas. For any graded items for which students will not submit work online, e.g., an in-class exam, create an on-paper assignment. For any graded items for which students do not submit anything tangible, e.g., participation, create a non-submission assignment.
     
  4. Decide how you would like to keep track of your students' attendance.
    Depending on your class size and how hands-on or automatic you want your in-class attendance-taking approach to be, there are a few different options that may work well for you. See Using Canvas to take attendance in class for more information.
     
  5. Optional: Setup any drop rules that you have written into your syllabus (e.g., drop lowest score from your pop-quiz assignment group).
    Keep in mind: If you want to drop the lowest score from an assignment group, in order for Canvas to correctly drop the lowest score, all items within that assignment group must be graded items. At the end of the semester, you will need to ensure that all assignments in this group have a grade value entered in the Gradebook.

    Any "ungraded" grades (e.g., an item that does not factor into the final grade) will not be accounted for and will not be dropped. So, if you wish to drop the lowest quiz score from your pop-quiz assignment group, you will need to make sure that every item in your pop-quiz assignment group is being factored into the final grade. You will also need to make sure to add a grade value to the Gradebook cells for every assignment in this group. Leaving any cells ungraded (with a "-" in them) will cause the drop rule to be applied incorrectly for the students who have ungraded cells. To learn more about how to enable this type of drop rule, please refer to this assignment group rule guide.
     
  6. Optional: Set up any automated late submission or missing submission policies you wish to use before your students start to submit their work.
    You can use a missing submission policy to automatically assign a grade of 0 once the due date has passed to students who have not submitted an assignment (keep in mind: this won't impact "no submission" or "on paper" assignments, so you will have to manually assign zeroes to those items). You can also use a late submission policy to automatically deduct points for late submissions. However, there are important caveats to keep in mind when using the late submission policy, so be sure to read Canvas's late submission documentation in its entirety before opting to use this tool to make sure that it is a good option for your course.
     
  7. Optional: Set up your grade posting policy if you wish to use a manual posting policy at any point.
    If you wish to use a manual posting policy for your entire gradebook so that grades are released for them to view only after you choose to release the grades, it is best to setup this posting policy at the gradebook level before students begin submitting work. If you have not yet finished building out your assignments, you can still enable manual posting at the course level so that all new gradebook columns are created with the manual posting policy selected. If you wish to use a manual posting policy for only a few items, then we recommend selecting manual posting for those individual columns. Learn more about how grade posting policies work.
     
  8. Optional: Hide the total column from student view.
    If you don't want your students to see the total column value when they check their grades, follow the steps in our tutorial. Please note, this will only hide the total column from students - it will not hide the assignment group columns from students.
     
  9. Optional: Make sure the extra credit you want to give students is factored in correctly.
    Even if you are not sure whether you will offer students extra credit, it is never too early to think about how you would want the extra credit to factor in to students' final grades if you do decide to offer it later in the semester. For clarification about adding extra credit to your course, please consult our Managing Extra Credit in Canvas article to learn more about the two options we recommend.

You can organize and rearrange the columns in your gradebook by clicking-and-dragging them into your desired display order. For more information, see our How can I organize my Gradebook in Canvas? FAQ.

During the Semester: Using the Gradebook

  1. Hide assignments while grading so that your students cannot see their grade until you have finished grading everyone's assignment.
    We recommend applying the manual posting policy to the individual gradebook column before you start grading it if you have not done so already. If you have already started grading your students' assignments, then you will need to use the "hide grades"  for an assignment feature instead. Hidden assignments and assignments with a manual posting policy are not visible to your students, and will only become visible once you post grades to unhide the assignment column. Please refer to How do I use a Grade Posting Policy in my Gradebook? for more information on how these tools work. When you post the grades for the assignment, remember to select "everyone" to ensure no grades remain hidden.
     
  2. Use SpeedGrader to grade student submissions.
    You can mark up students' papers without having to download your students' submissions, and easily leave feedback. This tool is also useful for grading discussion posts and adjusting the points a student earned for a question on a quiz if you find that there was an error in a quiz question.
     
  3. Grades can be excused by typing EX into the grade book.
    Excusing a grade allows an assignment to be ignored while determining the final grade.
     
  4. Automated Gradebook Conversions.
    You can opt to display and enter grades as a point value or percentages interchangeably depending upon your needs as the instructor, and your students' needs.
     
  5. Don't like working in Canvas? You can complete your edits in Excel!
    If you would like to adjust your students' grades offline, you can export your Canvas gradebook to excel and make changes to student grades, and then use the Import a CSV file option to upload your grade changes to Canvas
     
  6. Keep in mind: Your students may not be seeing the same information as you.
    You may wish to guide your students to our support article Students: Make sure you are seeing the right grades in Canvas! so that they view accurate grading information, particularly towards the end of the semester. We also strongly recommend assigning a 0 for any graded item that the student has not submitted in order to avoid confusion at the end of the semester.

    If you have opted to use the Gradebook's missing submission policy tool to automatically assign zeroes to missing submissions, keep in mind that this does not apply to "no submission" and "on paper" assignments. You will have to manually assign zeroes to those items.

For more information about using your Canvas Gradebook, see How do I navigate/use Canvas's Gradebook?

End of Semster: Grading Wrap-up

  1. Set up your course Grading Scheme if you did not do so at the start of the semester.
    You will need to enable and accurately implement a Grading Scheme according to the information provided in your course syllabus. It is crucial that you do this even if you do not intend to use the FSU Final Grade Upload Tool to transfer final grades from Canvas to the Faculty Center for final grade submission. A standard FSU grading scheme is automatically enabled in your course site, so it is best that you check the grading scheme and make any adjustments needed.  You can access your course's Grading Scheme from the Settings link on your course navigation menu.
     
  2. Ensure that there are no "hidden" assignments and all grades have been posted for all students.
    Hidden assignments are not visible to your students, so they give your students an inaccurate view of their overall grade in Canvas. Any grades that have not been posted will not be factored into the final grade in Canvas, so if you have not posted all grades for all students then you may end up with inaccurate final grades. Please refer to this guide for more information about hidden grades and using the grade posting policy feature.
     

  3. Make sure that all grade cells have a value entered in them, including entering in zeroes for unsubmitted assignments.
    The final grade column will not be accurate if any cells are left ungraded. When grade cells are left ungraded (containing a dash) students with ungraded work see their final grade without any unsubmitted assignments factored in, which gives students an inaccurate view of their grades. Students can uncheck the "calculate based only on graded assignments" box on their grades page to see what their real grade will be. However, to prevent confusion and misunderstandings, we strongly recommend that you enter zeroes for all unsubmitted assignments. This way, students will see an accurate view of their grades without having to uncheck anything on their grades page.

    The most efficient way to assign zeroes to unsubmitted assignments is to use the Set Default Grade feature to set the default grade for each assignment to zero at the end of the term. It will allow you to automatically insert zeros for all students that haven't yet received a grade for a specific assignment.

    If you are using the missing submission policy to automatically assign zeroes to missing assignments: Review each column in your gradebook to ensure that the missing submission policy did not skip over any assignments. Remember, this automated tool will not apply zeroes to missing "on paper" and "no submission" assignments. You must manually add zeroes to these items. We recommend using the Set Default Grade feature described above for any columns that need zeroes assigned.
     

  4. Grades can be excused by typing EX into the grade book.
    Excusing a grade allows an assignment to be ignored while determining the final grade.
     

  5. Make sure the extra credit you want to give students is factored in correctly.
    For clarification about adding extra credit to your course, please consult our Managing Extra Credit in Canvas article to find out the best option for your particular course's grading structure.
     

  6. Don't like working in Canvas? You can complete your edits in Excel!
    If you would like to adjust your students' grades offline, you can export your Canvas gradebook to excel and make changes to student grades, and then use the Import a CSV file option to upload your grade changes to Canvas.
     

  7. Optional: Hide the total column from student view.
    If you don't want your students to see the total column value when they check their grades in Canvas, follow the steps in our tutorial. Please note, this will only hide the total column from students - it will not hide the assignment group columns from students.
     
  8. Optional: Use the FSU Canvas Grade Upload Tool to transfer final grades from your Canvas course to the Grade Roster in the Faculty Center for final grade submission.
    Using the Canvas Grade Upload Tool may be particularly helpful for large-enrollment classes (more than 50 students in the course).

If any of your students will be receiving an incomplete, please review this finishing incompletes in Canvas resource and submit the accompanying manual enrollment form to ensure your students will retain access to submit coursework.

  • 1110
  • 30-Sep-2019
  • 9173 Views