How do I use grading periods in a course?

Document created by Canvas Doc Team Employee on Apr 19, 2017Last modified by Canvas Doc Team Employee on Jul 16, 2017
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If your course includes Multiple Grading Periods, grading periods created at the account level automatically display in your course and can be filtered in the Assignments Index Page, the Gradebook, and the student Grades page.

Grading periods consist of a specific date range that define the grading period. Grading periods also include a close date as to when you can no longer edit grades in a grading period. Grading periods can also be weighted. To view grading period date ranges and any weighted grading periods, you can view the grading periods in a course.


At the course level, Canvas validates all assignments against closed grading periods in Canvas. For a complete overview of the Multiple Grading Periods feature and current limitations associated with close dates, please view the Close Dates for Grading Periods document in the Canvas Community.

View Assignments

View Assignments

When you create an assignment, by default each assignment is assigned to everyone. However, the assignment can be differentiated among course sections, course groups, or individual students.

When grading periods are enabled, the due date of the assignment determines the grading period where the assignment appears in the Gradebook. If no due date is set, the assignment defaults to the last grading period available for the course.

When grading periods are weighted, assignments outside of grading periods do not count toward the final grade.

Note: The Assign field cannot be edited for anyone if the due date is in a closed grading period. However, you can add additional differentiated assignments with due dates outside the closed grading period. Assignments with due dates in open grading periods cannot be edited from an open grading period to a date in a closed grading period, but the due date can be edited to any date within an open grading period. These restrictions do not apply to availability dates, which can be set to overlap a grading period.

View Gradebook

View Gradebook

The Gradebook lists grading periods for the course in a drop-down menu. By default, the Gradebook displays the current grading period. However, you can view and filter grades by previous or future grading period.

View Grading Period

View Grading Period

Grading periods are arranged by date, with the newest grading period listed first.

Assignments are grouped in the grading period according to the published assignment due date (unpublished assignments never appear in the Gradebook). If there is no due date for the published assignment, the assignment defaults to the latest grading period. Grading periods cannot be selected within an individual assignment.

In the grading periods menu [1], viewing the All Grading Periods option [2] displays all course assignments. However, you can view the assignments that appear during a specified period by selecting the name of the grading period [3].

You can only edit grades for assignments in a current or future grading period. Once the close date for a grading period has passed, you cannot edit grades for the prior grading period.

View Differentiated Assignments

View Differentiated Assignments

Assignments cannot overlap grading periods except with differentiated assignments. When differentiated assignment dates overlap grading periods, the assignment appears in each appropriate grading period.

  • If a student is not part of an assignment in the specific grading period, the assignment is grayed out.
  • If a student is part of a differentiated assignment with no due date, the assignment appears in the last available grading period.
  • If a student is part of multiple differentiated assignments, the grading period shows the assignment in the grading period of the latest date.

Display Total Grades for All Grading Periods

When using the Multiple Grading Periods feature, you may be able to view total grades in the All Grading Periods view. This grades view also includes displaying assignment group totals. Viewing total grades in a course is managed by your Canvas administrator.

By default, viewing total grades in the All Grading Periods view is disabled in a course and affects the global Grades view, courses Grades view, and the instructor Gradebook.

View Global Grades

View Global Grades

Students have one of two options from the global Grades page. When viewing total grades is disabled [1], students do not have the option to view All Grading Periods. They can only view the grade for a specific grading period in the course.

When viewing total grades is enabled [2], students can select the All Grading Periods option and can view the appropriate grade.

View Course Grades

  View Course Grades 

In the courses Grades page, students can always view the All Grading Periods option, but the total view may be limited.

When viewing total grades is disabled, students cannot view the total grade calculation in either the sidebar or the bottom of the grades page. Calculations also include assignment totals for weighted assignment groups. Hiding total grades impacts calculations for student What-If Grades.

When viewing total grades is enabled, students can still view the total grade for All Grading Periods and any assignment group calculations.

View Gradebook

  View Gradebook 

Hiding and displaying total grades also applies to the Gradebook and sets whether or not you can view the total grade column and any weighted assignment groups.

Hide Grades in Individual Grading Periods

Hide Grades in Individual Grading Periods

When viewing total grades is disabled, students can still view total grades for an individual grading period unless you hide student totals in Course Settings. When this setting is enabled, students will not be able to view any totals in their global grades page or course grades page.

View Closed Grading Periods

  View Closed Grading Periods 

At the course level, Canvas validates all assignments against closed grading periods in Canvas. You cannot edit assignments in closed grading periods. If an assignment is in a closed grading period, the assignment shows that the submission is in a closed grading period. Learn how to view the date range of a course grading period.

Students are not affected by closed grading periods in their Grades page.

Note: For current limitations associated with the close date feature, please view the Close Dates for Grading Periods document in the Canvas Community.

Export Gradebook

  Export Gradebook 

When you download scores from the Gradebook, the Export button supports multiple grading periods and viewing total grades. The Export button is linked to the grading period displayed in the Gradebook and the CSV file will include all associated assignments. For instance, if you only want to export a specific grading period, choose that grading period in the drop-down menu and click the Export button.

The CSV file displays a total grade for the specific grading period being viewed. However, if the instructor exports the All Grading Periods Gradebook view, the CSV honors whether or not total grades can be viewed. Current and total columns are only shown if the Display Total feature option is enabled for the course.

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