It would be very useful to be able to use the 'Treat ungraded as 0' feature of the current Gradebook in the New Gradebook, especially once the New Gradebook becomes the default in January 2020. I understand that not having this option seems to be by design, however there are use cases relevant to our tertiary institution that I would like to outline to see if they gather support among the Canvas Community. Please feel free to add your own use cases in the comments if this is relevant to you as well.
Our teaching staff use the Total column in the Gradebook to view how well a student is doing overall in their unit attempt. Not having the 'Treat ungraded as 0' feature in the future will mean that:
1. At the start of a teaching period – if say, 2/5 assignments have been completed by students and graded – the Total column will display a grade that is the scaled-up version of where they are sitting, working on the assumption that the other assignments are to be ignored. It would be possible for someone to achieve 100% in both completed assessments, and the Total column would then display a score of 100%. This is not an accurate reflection of where the student is at in terms of their overall completion of the unit and means the instructor has to do manual work, or ensure they set up assignment groups in particular ways, to try and figure out an accurate representation of student progress.
2. At the end of a teaching period – once all assignments have been completed by students and graded – the Total column will display a scaled-up grade for any students who have not completed any assignments or are missing grades. For these students, in reality, their non-submission is equivalent to a score of 0 – however in the New Gradebook, the Total column will not reflect this. This makes it difficult for instructors to review their cohort's progress and standing once the teaching period is complete, before those grades are to be formally sent to the SIS for release.
The only suggestion I've seen so far to mitigate against these issues is to use a Missing Submission policy.
This is not an adequate solution in our case.
In the case of example 1 above: at early stages of semester, students won't actually have 'missing' submissions – those submissions will be due in the future. A Missing Submissions policy would not apply.
In the case of example 2 above: Missing Submission policies do not apply to No Submission or On Paper assignments, LTI assignments, or assignments that do not have due dates set. We also cannot force Missing Submission policies at the account level, or via API when each individual Canvas course is created, to ensure consistency across our institution for such a crucial display issue. This would mean that even if it were an acceptable solution in other regards (and as per example 1, it isn't quite there in this case), we would be asking all of our institution's instructors to apply the same Missing Submission policy, and ensure that the exceptions to the policy as above also had 0 grades implemented where students had not submitted work. Not only is there scope for error here across large institutions such as ours, but this seems a disproportionate amount of effort to ask instructors to go to simply so that they can see an accurate reflection of their student's total grades for the overall unit.
This is a crucial issue for us, as we need instructors to be able to see how their students are doing throughout, and at the end of semester – this information informs moderation, future assessment design, learning outcomes, and reporting to faculty.
Others have suggested that the Missing Submission policy feature be amended (Apply Missing Submission Policy to all Assignment Types), and while I agree that it could use further flexibility, in our above case it would not quite solve our problems. It would be a simpler solution to allow the new Gradebook to set 'Treat ungraded as 0' to on or off instead. I understand that the Gradebook CSV Export is still calculating the Unposted Final Grade anyway – so the 'Treat ungraded as 0' score is still there in the system, just not being displayed at the UI level.