Canvas Gradebook Tips: Grade Breakdown, Assignment Weighting, and Dropping Lowest Grade

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Since we’re still close to the start of the semester, now is the perfect time to make sure your gradebook is set up properly. It may feel like you have lots of time left before this is absolutely necessary, but that’s not the case. If you take the time now, both you and your students will see accurate grades across the semester. So let’s talk about three things to check to make sure your gradebook is set up how you want. 

1. Setting up the grade breakdown

Canvas makes it easy to take your syllabus’ grading system in percentages and apply it to your course. You’ll set this up from the “Assignments” page in your course. 

  1. Make sure you have an assignment group set up for each category in your grading system. If you need to add assignment groups, check out Canvas’ “How do I add an assignment group in a course?” document.
  2. Click the three dots menu at the top of the assignments page and select “assignment groups weight.” 
  3. Enter the values for each group and click “save.” 

Canvas will even keep a running total of the values you enter so you can double-check that to ensure it all adds up to 100%. For more information about setting this up, check out Canvas’ “How do I weight the final course grade based on assignment groups?” document.

2. Weighting assignments inside an assignment group

Sometimes, you may have a place where you need to weight items inside one of your assignment groups. 

For example, you may have multiple exams in your course. You could make each one a separate assignment group, but you also want to easily see an overall average for the exams. 

Let’s say this is your grade breakdown: 

  • Exam 1: 10%
  • Exam 2: 10%
  • Final Exam: 20%

You can easily use weighting inside an assignment group to accomplish all your goals. 

  1. Create a main assignment group worth the total percentage for the items (here this would be an “Exams” group worth 40%)
  2. Place all of the items (exams) in that group
  3. Adjust the total points for each item to match the percentages (Exam 1 = 10 points, Exam 2 = 10 points, Final Exam = 20 points). 

And you’re all set! You can use this same method for other scenarios – simply set the points to be equal to the desired weights.

3. Dropping the lowest grade in an assignment group

If you say in your syllabus that you’re going to drop the lowest grade in an assignment group, Canvas can easily do that for you. 

  1. Click the three dots menu for the assignment group where you need to drop a grade. 
  2. Click “edit.”
  3. Change the value for “Lowest Scores” to however many you need to drop.
  4. Click “save.” 

You’ll see some other options on the “edit” screen for assignments. To learn more about those, check out Canvas’ “How do I create rules for an assignment group?” document.

If you implement these things in your course, you’ll be in good shape. You and your students will see accurate grades across the semester, and you’ll have a simpler time submitting final grades. 

Questions? Drop them below in the comments!

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