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All about grading


Canvas has many grading features.  Here we cover some of your options and discuss best practices at Wharton.  Please see Understanding Grading in Canvas for a detailed discussion about points, weighting, grade display types (letter, percentage, complete/incomplete), and how this all fits together in the Gradebook.

Notes and warnings:

  • If an assignment is not Published or has the type "Not Graded", it will not have a corresponding Gradebook column.
  • If you're a TA and you're grading peers, to protect grade confidentiality, you should choose to hide student names in SpeedGrader and the Gradebook when possible. For undergrads, a peer is any fellow undergrad student. For MBAs, a peer is anyone in your year.
  • Editing an assignment causes a 0 to be entered for possible points if no possible points were previously entered. The 0 point value is easily removed on the main Assignments page.  This is not a bug; Canvas Gradebook works best (especially import/export) when the points possible for an assignment are greater than zero.

Wharton tips

  • Wharton and Penn have several standard practices regarding final course grades. Please see this article for information about submitting grades with Wharton's Instruction Center and information about how we customize Canvas sites to support these practices.
  • While Canvas has a Grading Schemes feature for giving letter grades on assignments, each letter grade always has a corresponding numeric score which fits into a fixed percentage range for all students. Because Wharton has specific rules for final course grades which work differently for different types of students, we always configure Canvas to hide the Total grade it computes.  Wharton's final grade rules are supported by the Grade Submission tab of Instruction Center.
  • Faculty sometimes want to know if students can see each other's grades. They cannot - this article describes how to get to a student view of grades.

Basic grading lifecycle

  1. Create and Publish an assignment. To give your students context about the worth of the assignment, you can put a value in Points. That way, when you give scores back, they will know how well they did. ("14 out of 15" is more informative than just "14.")
  2. The only type of assignment that will not show up in the Gradebook is a "Not Graded" assignment. Graded assignments, published quizzes, and graded discussions will get columns in the Gradebook.
  3. Use the Gradebook or Speedgrader to enter scores for the assignment. The students will be notified about the grades according to their notification preferences.
  4. If you ever want to see what grades look like from a student perspective, you can use the "Student View."

Choosing your tool

  • The Gradebook lets you quickly assign points or grades to everyone in the class - it's like entering or checking grades in a paper gradebook - except you can also sort by student or score, filter by class section, rearrange columns, show a grading history for each student, post comments to students, and optionally compute a total weighted grade (not shown to students). You can also use a special column to keep notes about each student. The Gradebook uses various icons and colors to indicate when assignments have been submitted, the type of submission, if the submission is late, and other characteristics.
  • SpeedGrader lets you browse through student submissions. It's like flipping through a stack of papers. As with traditional papers, you can leave comments and mark up student submissions, but you can also leave audio or video comments, and use rubrics to provide structured feedback about the components of a grade (eg: 4 out of 5 for grammar, 5 out of 5 for clarity).

Cool features

  • Mute an assignment to temporarily hide grading activity from students.
  • Explicitly define the criteria that will be used to assess an assignment with Rubrics.
  • Provide feedback online with text comments, audio or video comments, or online paper annotation.
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