Allow "Missing" label to be enabled/disabled

This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas

For more information, please read through the  Canvas Release Notes (2021-10-16).

Currently, the "missing" label that appears throughout Canvas on student assignments, Speedgrader, etc. appears for every student who has a missing assignment regardless of the specific intentions of the teacher or the type of assignment (ex: one that requires a submission).


I would like to see Canvas allow this to be optional. For example, it would be beneficial during the assignment creation process if there was a drop-down menu that included the option allowing the assignment to be marked as missing after the due date or not. Another idea would be to provide a check-box on Speedgrader that would allow the teacher to check/uncheck the "missing" label feature and therefore remove it from certain student's Canvas profiles.


I have students now who have an excused reason for turning an assignment in late but because it wasn't submitted by the due date, that assignment has been marked "missing," which cannot be undone even now that the student submitted the assignment and I graded it. Having the option to add/remove this label will also help students pay more attention to "missing" once they know it actually indicates a missing assignment.

Community Champion

I am so glad to have found this already as a feature request. I want to create multiple accounts just to vote on this multiple times. YES YES YES.

Earlier this week I got a desperate email from a student who was worried about assignments she had missed. I wrote her back and told her she had not missed any assignments; everything was good. In my classes, students choose what assignments they want to do.

Then, I got a second email from a desperate student, and I realized something must have happened at Canvas. I logged on with the Student View and saw the awful RED INK Missing Missing Missing Missing. I didn't even know Canvas did that until I went in and looked at the Student View (I just use the spreadsheet view when I need to manually enter something that a student forgot to record, so I had not seen the red ink Missing). When did this start? I did not get emails from students about this last spring.

My whole approach to grading is NON-PUNITIVE. Nothing is missing. I love how Canvas had blanks, honest-to-goodness, totally neutral blanks in the Gradebook: not zeroes, not red ink, just blanks, for assignments my students CHOOSE not to complete.

Now Canvas is telling them their assignments are missing.

For my class, THAT IS JUST WRONG. The assignments are not missing, and I really do not like having Canvas turn my student-choice system into a punitive system where students are being made to feel like they have failed to do something when they are doing just fine.

If people want red ink all over their Gradebook, well, that's their choice. I use non-punitive grading, and I do not want red ink in my Gradebook. I really hope we will be allowed to turn this feature off. Gak. It's awful.

Red ink means bad, right? So, I repeat: this is AWFUL

screenshot of missing assignments

Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi laurakgibbs‌...

Laura Gibbs wrote:

When did this start? I did not get emails from students about this last spring.

The "Missing" and "Late" labels were added as a part of the  Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-08-05).

Community Champion

AH... I feel better! And that just goes to show: my students noticed. And, in their panic, they contacted me. Which is how I came to see it in the Student View option. I'll make sure to say something about in the class announcements now for the students who noticed it but did not actually write me an email to ask.

Community Contributor

I agree with this feature request.  We encourage our faculty to use Canvas as a supplement to their face-to-face classes and have many faculty that give students the option of turning in an assignment in person OR online.  If they do not turn it in online, even when a grade has been entered, it still says missing.

At a MINIMUM, an entered grade should trigger that notification to be removed!

Community Champion

Here is an Idea with a lot of related discussion in the comments:‌.

I think this feature idea does a better job of covering a variety of use cases than that one, but that both are ways of solving a related set of problems and Canvas devs should read the comments on both before implementing either.

Community Champion

As I pointed out on the other Idea I linked, the issue with a grade removing the "missing" label is that some teachers use "balanced grading" where they put in a 30% or 50% for missing assignments rather than a zero. (For context, this is most commonly done in classes where the lowest score anyone turning in the assignment would have received was a 55% F rather than in classes where actual grades trend all the way down to zero - this is something that often comes up around the subjects of homework and equity in k-12.)

Such teachers would still want the assignment to show as "missing" even after they entered the grade.

I really think some sort of customizable setting is the way to go (probably I'd implement it as a toggled status that could be applied to an assignment via the gradebook, just like setting a default grade is now), because "missing" is more complicated than people realize until you collect everyone's use cases. (I just realized that it's going to flag all of my optional/honors/challenge assignments as missing when the students get to that part of the term. Arrrrgggggggggggggh. I don't need a ton of worried parents contacting me because their students didn't complete every possible set of optional practice problems that I provide during review week.)

Community Champion

Worried students contacting me is exactly how I found out about the missing label, and it is a situation similar to yours,  @thompsli ‌ ... students are supposed to CHOOSE which options to complete in my class, and there is no expectation for them to do them all. The assignments are NOT "missing" and Canvas applying that label is completely inappropriate to my classes.

I don't know who this scary-looking label is even supposed to help: if it is supposed to help students (???), then students should be able to turn it on or off.

If it is supposed to help instructors (???), then instructors should be able to turn it on or off.

If it is supposed to help parents (???), then parents should be able to turn it on or off.

Anything connected with communicating about grades is fraught with emotion and anxiety (which is why I think we should just stop punitive grading, but that is a separate discussion; I'll just say #TTOG and leave it at that)... the idea that Canvas would adopt a one-size-fits-none red-ink form of grading communication like this is really disappointing to me. I already had to work hard to cope with the existing constraints of the Canvas Gradebook, and this new intrusion has made that task even harder for me.

Community Champion

I've written up in more detail why these red labels are a bad idea IMO: 

Community Novice

In several of my face-to-face classes, I do not allow students to physically turn in late papers; however, I do allow them to submit their late papers on Canvas for half credit. Because I create the online submission in the assignment, a majority of the students show missing or late because most of them have actually brought their papers in class. As much as I like students to see what they are missing, we NEED an option to disable this feature for certain situations.

Please, please listen to us before fall quarter starts!!

This creates so much chaos for so many instructors and students!

Community Novice

I would really like to be able to turn off the status column. The "missing" next to an entered grade is causing a lot of headache with my students. If I give them a paper copy of a quiz and enter their score online in my gradebook, but had an online option that I hadn't published..the grade column is showing "missing" even though the student DID complete the on-campus version of the quiz. I don't want to create another "assignment" just to be able to enter a grade without the "missing" notification.

PLEASE let us turn off this status option.

Thank you.,