Add option of grading by Outcomes instead of assessment type

Idea created by Jason Belnap on Jul 13, 2019
    Open for Voting
    • Christy Brazee
    • Brian Ledwell
    • Amy Parrott
    • Jeanne Hiatt
    • Larry Herzberg
    • Jason Belnap
    • Jennifer Mihalick

    In order to have grades reflect student mastery of course Outcomes, I would Canvas to have the option of having grades based on Outcomes, rather than assignment type. 


    Currently, Canvas allows teachers to create Outcomes and groups of Outcomes for courses.  These can be used with Rubrics to determine students' and class' mastery of these outcomes.  While reports can be generated to see which Outcomes students have mastered and to what extent, there is to option for having grades based on students' mastery on these Outcomes--even though Outcome-based instruction & assessment is encouraged.  Currently, grades can only be based on assessment type (i.e. on how students performed overall on each assignment, quiz, exam, etc.), regardless of which Outcomes students have or have not mastered.


    I propose that Canvas add an option of having the gradebook instead determine grades based student performance on the Outcomes.  So teachers could choose to have each Outcome or group of Outcomes be worth a certain number of points or percentage of the students' total grade, instead of each assessment type (assignment, quiz, etc) carrying a certain weight.  This would allow teachers to ensure that students' grades represented students' mastery of outcomes, rather than how well they did on certain types of assessments.


    For example, suppose that my math class included the following Outcome groups and Outcomes:

    • A - Solving novel & challenging problems:
      • A1 - Use models to understand & make sense of a problem.
      • A2 - Find patterns by generating and organizing data.
      • A3 - Arriving at a correct and complete solution.
    • B - Writing math arguments:
      • B1 - Using language that explains why the solution is correct, rather than how it was solved.
      • B2 - Basing argument on appropriate assumptions.
      • B3 - Recognizing when an argument can be made with a single example verses a general explanation.
    • C - Using precision:
      • C1 - Performing calculations accurately and without error.
      • C2 - Using math symbols correctly and conventionally.
      • C3 - Using math terminology and language correctly.


    Suppose that:

    • Assignment 1 only shows students' ability to do outcomes in groups A and C and a student does it perfectly (100%).
    • Assignment 2 shows students' ability to do outcomes in groups A, B, and C and the same student does great on the outcomes in A and C, but could not do B at all (say 66%).
    • Quiz 1 only shows students' ability to do outcomes in group C and the student does perfectly (100%).

    Under the current system, only the students' overall grade on each assessment could be used to determine their grade; the fact that they have not at all mastered Outcomes in B is lost. If all 3 items had equal weight, the student's grade would be 88% (pretty high), even though they did not master a certain set of outcomes for the course.

    If, however, we could opt to base grades on their performance on Outcomes, then grading might look like this:

    • On assignment 1, the student earned 100% for outcomes in A & 100% for outcomes in C.
    • On assignment 2, the student earned 100% for outcomes in A, 0% for outcomes in B, and 100% for outcomes in C.
    • On Quiz 1, the student earned 100% for outcomes in C.

    Then (assuming each outcome group, rather than assignment type, had equal weight), the student's grade would be 66% (100% for Outcome group A, 0% for Outcome group B, and 100% for Outcome group C).  This more accurately reflects the Outcomes for the course. 


    With this option, teachers could control how important each outcome or group of outcomes were for the course and have direct control over how they impact grades. Furthermore, grades would focus students on what they need to be working on and motivate improvement in those Outcomes.