If a student has not submitted an assignment and the due date has passed, you can either enter a zero in the Canvas Gradebook manually or you can have Canvas automatically assign a zero using a Missing Submission Policy.

It is important that every item in the Canvas Gradebook has a number or a value. If you do not enter a grade for an assignment, Canvas will ignore the assignment in their final grade calculation, resulting in an inaccurate, possibly inflated score. It is also important to enter any zeros immediately after the due date passes rather than at the end of the semester so that students’ grades are an accurate reflection of their current standing.

To use the Missing Submission Policy feature:

  1. Open your Canvas course and select Grades in the left-hand navigation.
  2. Click on the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner of the Gradebook. The Late Policies tab will now appear.
  3. Select “Automatically apply grade for missing submissions” and enter 0 in the field below.
Late Policies tab in the Gradebook settings, with the checkbox for "automatically apply grade for missing submissions" and the percentage for missing submissions input field circled in red.

Canvas will now automatically insert a zero into any missing assignment cell after a due date has passed. You can always override this score if you choose to accept a student’s assignment after the due date.

Setting a Missing Submission policy affects all assignments in a course, including assignments with due dates in the past. To exclude a specific assignment, mark the submission as something other than Missing in the Grade Detail Tray. Applying a missing submission policy will not affect previously graded missing submissions. See How do I apply a Missing Submission policy in the Gradebook? for more information.

Note that you can also use this feature to automatically apply deductions to late submissions.  See How do I apply a Late Submission policy in the Gradebook? for more information.

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