Canvas - Total Grade Calculation with Missing Assignments
Any ungraded items can result in different final grades being presented to Teachers, Students, and/or the Student Information System (SIS), depending on the settings used by each individual. The only way to ensure grades are consistently displayed is to follow the best practices listed below.
How Canvas Calculates Total Grades
- Student View
When a Student looks at their final grade, the blank item will not be included in the calculation, and the assignment counts neither for nor against their score appearing as if it has been Excused. This means that if the blank item is meant to be a 0, the Student will see an artificially inflated grade. A Student who notices this is able to use the “What-If” feature to see what their grade should actually be, this but requires the student to notice the discrepancy and take steps to check the difference.
- Teacher View
Typically, the Teacher view is the same as the Student view for the Total grade; however, there is a setting available only to Teachers that will show the Total grade as if 0’s had been entered. From Instructure’s documentation on treating ungraded assignments as zero in the Gradebook, we can see that “Treat Ungraded as 0 is a visual change and does not affect any grades”. What this means, is that the Students’ views are unchanged, and they will still see the artificially inflated grade.
- Student Information System (SIS) View
If you choose not to utilize SIS Sync, the grade you manually enter into the SIS will be the grade the student receives. If the grade you are seeing in Canvas is inaccurate for the reasons listed above, the SIS will reflect that inaccurate information after you hand enter it.
If you choose to utilize SIS Sync, the process will treat blanks scores as 0. This means that the Student view and the grade submitted via SIS Sync are different if you have any ungraded items in your gradebook. If you intend for any items to be Excused you will need to mark them as such before starting the SIS Sync process.
Best Practices for Handling Missing Assignments
- Set Default Grade to 0 on Assignments
Zeros need to be entered regularly for students to see a true reflection of their grade. The fastest way to do this is to use Set Default Grade for an item.
- Mark Excused Items
In the case where a student will be Excused from an assignment, their grade should be marked as excused. The fastest way to excuse a student from an assignment is by entering EX into the grade input field.
- Late Policy - Automatically Apply Grade for Missing Submissions
The Late Policies area can enable Canvas to enter some 0’s on the Teachers behalf. The Late policy will only work with assignments that require a submission. This means that any in-class assignments, attendance grades, on paper submissions, live presentations, etc will NOT have the 0 entered automatically, even with this setting turned on. See How do I apply a Missing Submission policy in the New Gradebook.
Verifying Total Grade
- Load the Grades area in your course.
- Click on Actions
- Select Export.