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Community Member

How can a user of screen reading software review entries in the CANVAS Gradebook?

A faculty member is using JAWS and would like to be able to review the entries in the Gradebook. 

The faculty member is able to create assignments and use SpeedGrader to enter the grades with JAWS.  However, it appears that the Gradebook is not organized as tables.  This means that the table reading and navigation commands cannot be used. 

When attempting to navigate through the Gradebook with JAWS, it appears that the Gradebook is organized in two separate structures similar to tables.  The first area contains the student names and student IDs.  The second area of the Gradebook contains the assignments, scores, and totals.

Using the Individual View of the Gradebook, it appears there is an accessible way to review the grades for an individual student.  However, the faculty member would like to be able to review the grades for an individual assignment in a way that is more efficient than reviewing the individual scores with SpeedGrader.  While there is the option to export the grades to a CSV file, this requires proficiency with Excel and exporting the grades frequently.  There is also the option to review the Grading History.  However, if the grading for an individual assignment takes place on multiple dates, the grades for the assignment are not organized into a single table.

Has anyone else come across this issue with the Gradebook?  Can anyone suggest an accessible option for reviewing the scores entered for a single assignment similar to the information available in the Gradebook?

7 Replies
Community Champion

Hello Nicolas, I don't have a direct answer for you but I can point you to another discussion where the accessibility of the SpeedGrader has been discussed. Besides this accessibility space there is also a separate accessibility space setup in a Canvas course where there have been some great discussions on screen reader issues. 

Information about joining the other group is available in this discussion: Multiple Canvas Accessibility Spaces 

Once you have joined that space, here is a link to the discussion on the SpeedGrader: 

SpeedGrader Accessibility & Usability

Community Champion

Some good news on this - the beta release notes that came out today share information about the new Gradebook  that when released can be enabled on a course by course basis and has made significant accessibility improvements. I know that accessibility was considered from the beginning with this new product so hopefully it is a better experience. You may want to enable it for the faculty member that had concerns and share any feedback with on the release notes. Hopefully the new accessible version will soon be available for everyone! 


It is very unfortunate that the term "accessible" is used in the Beta release notes that you mentioned.  Accessible does not always mean "accessibility".

The New Gradebook currently offers the following enhancements:

  • Additional views to sort and filter assignments
  • Custom color status options
  • Accessible and improved grade entry

The New Gradebook appears to have the same accessibility issues as the current Gradebook.  I just tested it and there still does not appear to be an accessible option within the Gradebook for an instructor using screen reading software to review the grade entries in a column for an assignment.   

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Thanks  @ncrisosto ‌, I think I understand the issue you are talking about. It appears that Canvas is using this version of SlickGrid to present the table data instead of an actual table (as you described above). There is an open ticket to build some accessibility into the tool, but it sounds like nothing is being done on that for now. 

It does appear that some efforts have been made to make the code accessible, but obviously there are still issues. I'm going to submit a bug report and hopefully others will as well. If Canvas is going to stick with SlickGrid hopefully they will take the time to make sure it is accessible and document any differences in how to navigate the gradebook grid different from a regular data table. 

An alternate script that appears to provide the same functionality and at least claims to be accessibe is DataTables

For what it is worth, here is some documentation of some of the accessibility features that they have added: 

Using the new filters you can use group to shower fewer assignments in the gradebook, but there are still multiple columns, so my guess is the same problems would persist. 

Hi, Nicolas,

We apologize for posting incorrect information and have since updated the release notes. Our accessibility team is aware that the New Gradebook is not yet accessible to screen readers, which is one reason why the feature is still in beta.



Just as an update, some of the features in the New Gradebook may eventually be added to Individual View, which is the accessible version of the gradebook, but I don't have a timeline as to when that may happen.



Thank you for the comment. However, perhaps it would be clearer to explain that while the Gradebook is not accessible, the limited information available in the Individual View of the Gradebook is accessible.

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