This article guides you through the process of setting up your Canvas Gradebook using weighted assignment groups. If you are not using weighted assignment groups (for example, if students accumulate points over the course of the semester, a strategy sometimes called “additive grading”), skip the first step and make sure that you assign point values correctly. If all of your assignments are in a single group, make sure it is worth 100% of the grade, not the default 0%.

We provide a video tutorial and written instructions below.

Video Tutorial

Written Instructions

Step 1 – Define Assignment Groups

Your assignment groups and their percentage values should exactly match the grading breakdown on your syllabus.

Most people choose to base their assignment groups on types of assignments (homework, quizzes, iterative reflections, etc). You may also wish to create a group for a major project that has multiple components. Using point values, you can weight different assignments within a group.

Some special assignment group situations exist:

Extra Credit – The easiest way to give extra credit is to create an assignment group called Extra Credit, and have the assignment group total (shown on your Canvas course’s Syllabus page) be greater than 100 percent. Learn more about ways to manage extra credit.

Attendance – There are two ways to calculate attendance. The first is to use the built in Roll Call feature. The second is to create an assignment group called “Attendance” and create assignments within that group. Roll Call will keep track of student attendance, but is very limited in how it grades attendance. Creating your own attendance assignments gives complete flexibility in grading, but requires that you keep track of attendance outside of Canvas (paper or spreadsheet).

Step 2 – Create Assignments

Most faculty will find that creating assignments in the Assignments screen to be the most intuitive, though you can also do it from the Modules and Calendar views, or from Quizzes and Discussions for those assignment types. Learn more about creating assignments.

If you are using assignment groups, create your assignments within the appropriate group by clicking the “+” icon to the right of the group title. This icon will allow you to quickly create assignment “placeholders”. You can select if you want your assignment to be a quiz, discussion, or another assignment type and set the due date and point value; go back later to edit details like the description. (If you create an assignment using the big blue “+ Assignment” button, you will be able to edit details immediately, but you will not be able to select special formats like a discussion or quiz, and the assignment will not be placed in the group you want. If you use this button or you make an assignment in the wrong group, you can drag and drop it to the correct group.)

An empty assignment group as seen on the Assignments page in Canvas, showing the + icon for adding an assignment to the group, as well as buttons for adding groups or assignments to the Assignments area in general.

If possible, try to create all assignments in their correct groups before the semester starts, even if many or most are simply placeholders until you have time to create descriptions, quiz questions, etc. This helps avoid snafus with the Gradebook later.

We strongly recommend making assignments out of 100 points so that everything within a given assignment group is equally weighted, unless you specifically do not want them to have equal value.

Step 3 – Determine Which Assignments to Collect Online

You can choose whether an assignment will be collected online, on paper, or not at all (“no submission”, typically used for participation). Open and edit an assignment to see its detailed view and change the submission type to “Online”. Learn more about adding assignment details, including point values, submission type, due dates, and descriptions.

Consider enabling Turnitin. It is fully integrated with Canvas and only requires a simple checkbox in the assignment settings. Learn more about using Turnitin in Canvas.

These three steps will get your Gradebook set up to the minimum standard. We strongly recommend proceeding with steps four and five as well for a robust experience with assignments.

Step 4 – Add Assignment Details

Adding a complete assignment description is highly recommended, and adding a due date is nearly essential! Students benefit greatly from clarity about expectations and deadlines. You can add these details by editing the assignment via the same path you use to set the submission type above.

Assignment descriptions/instructions can be as brief or detailed as necessary. If assignment instructions are already written in Word or PDF documents, it is easy to attach them to the assignment description. For Canvas discussions, make sure the student’s expectations are clearly defined. These expectations should include length of writing as well as other requirements for participation.

Step 5 – Mute Assignments (Grade Posting Policy)

The feature previously known as assignment grade “muting” is now controlled by changing an assignment’s grade posting policy. You can set an assignment so students cannot see their grades until you manually release all grades for that assignment (a good option if you want all students to receive their grades at once). The grade posting policy is controlled from the Gradebook rather than from the assignment itself. You can set a policy for a specific assignment, or you can set a policy for the entire course.

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