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Importing scores to the Canvas Gradebook


Some instructors at Wharton use a spreadsheet to track course grades or for calculating specialized curving or z-scores. If you are computing test or assignment grades outside of Canvas, but still want to report grades to students in Canvas, this article is for you.

Please note that overall final course grades should not be imported into Canvas. Overall course grades should only be posted to Instruction Center for distribution to students via PennInTouch and transcripts.

It's possible to enter grades individually in the Gradebook, but you can also upload them if you're already keeping a spreadsheet. While the Gradebook in Canvas can't import Excel spreadsheets (.xls/.xlsx) directly, you can take advantage of the Canvas Gradebook Import feature by using a formatted CSV (.csv) file.

  1. If the assignment you're grading has already been created, use that assignment column in the CSV file you download in step 3. If the assignment has not been created, create it first.
  2. If you want to control when students are notified that grades are available, Mute each assignment for which you will be importing scores.
  3. The best way to get a CSV file in the correct format is to export it from the Canvas Gradebook. (TIP: If it seems like the CSV file isn't downloading, click the Current button which appears beneath the Export button.)
  4. If your spreadsheet includes Penn ID numbers, sort it by Penn ID. Also sort your CSV file by Penn ID; those values will be in the SIS User ID column.  You will want to verify that both files contain the same list of students, sorted identically, in order to avoid grading errors.
  5. Copy the scores from your spreadsheet to the appropriate Assignment column in the CSV file.
  6. The use of letter grades in the Canvas Gradebook requires special consideration. Letter grades cannot be imported or exported, but you can import numeric scores to show an equivalent letter grade for an Assignment with:
    • Non-zero possible Points
    • Letter Grade in its "Display Grade As" option 
    • Grading Scheme defined to associate each letter grade with a percentile range. If you don't customize the grading scheme for your assignment, Canvas will use its default ranges. 
  7. When your CSV file is ready, import it into the Gradebook.
  8. Unless you Muted the assignment (see step 2 above), Canvas will notify each student about a new or changed score approximately one hour after import. Otherwise, students will learn of their scores when you Unmute.
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