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Preparing your gradebook in Canvas prior to the start of term will help you avoid last-minute changes. Five setting areas to consider are below. After you make your selections in each area, a good way to see if grades display as expected is with the Test Student account. This is the last entry in your Grades class roster. In that row, enter the maximum point value for each graded activity. Then select Test Student and Grades to see a student view of your current grade visibility and display settings. For details check See a student view of Grades.

Your course grading scheme

In Canvas Grades, student scores are shown by default as a percentage. If you want to display a letter grade, you select a grading scheme. You can enable the default grading Canvas scheme or create your own, as long as it conforms with the Portland State grading scale. You can customize your grading scheme, or select the default, in course Settings. Instructions are here: How do I add a grading scheme in a course?

Canvas default grade scheme

Assignment grade display (points, percentage, or letter)

Each graded assignment you create automatically generates a column in the gradebook. You can also select how you want the grade displayed. By default, it will be displayed as a point value. You can change this to a percentage, complete/incomplete, or to a letter grade by applying your grading scheme to the assignment. Note that selecting a grading scheme in Settings (as above) will display a letter grade in the course Total column, but not individual assignment columns. To do that, you must select the Letter Grade display setting for each assignment.

By default students can also view grade distribution statistics for a course. To hide that data from students, follow these steps: How do I hide grade distribution scoring details from students?

Menu to select grade display.

Assignment groups, with options to weight or drop grades

It’s helpful for students if you organize assignments into categories like quizzes, papers, homework, etc. You can do this with assignment groups. Each group creates a new column in your gradebook. That column displays each student’s percentage of the total points available in the group. You can also use assignment groups to set up a weighted grading system, with each group given a percentage value for the course. This is helpful if you need a high point value for an activity that is not a high percentage of the grade – as with frequent low-stakes quizzing. Lastly, you can use assignment groups to create rules, such as dropping the lowest score in a group. Find detailed instructions below on:

Assignment groups.

A grade posting policy

By default, Canvas will post grades to students automatically as you enter them. You can change this setting so that grades are posted manually, when you choose to make them visible to students. This setting can be made at the gradebook level (the policy affects all assignments), or the individual assignment level.
Note that If you copy a course and include course settings as part of the import, the course posting policy from the original course will be copied into the new course. This will override any grade posting policy settings you have in the new course. Additionally, imported assignments will retain their assignment posting policy from the original course.

Set a grade posting policy for the full gradebook

Set a grade posting policy for individual assignments

Gradebook settings.

A rule for calculating missing assignments

By default, the Canvas gradebook totals only positive scores. Missing assignments are not automatically calculated as zero. This can give students a misleading grade view. To change this you set missing assignments to a percentage value of 0%. This affects all assignments in the course, and is applied once the due date has passed. If a missing assignment is submitted, the new submission must be updated in the gradebook or the grade will not change.

Apply a missing submission policy for all course assignments

Missing submission setting.

This article was last updated on Jul 27, 2022 @ 1:24 pm.