[Assignments] weighting in assignment groups

It seems this has been a reoccurring request for some time now, but is not generating the votes needed to get attention. Perhaps it is time to try again!


Canvas would benefit greatly from being able to allocate a weighting to individual assignments within an assignment group. At present, rather than an overarching "Geography" assignment group for HASS, I have to put each individual assignment in their own group to distribute task weighting for the course. HASS also covers economics, politics and history - that makes for A LOT of assignment groups to break up the weighting for tasks.


In my view, it would be much simpler to have the Assignment Group that aligns with the unit or module being taught and has a weighting for the overall course, and an individual assignment weighting function within the group without having to fiddle around with the points. I think most teachers would agree that there is enough of a workload without adjusting and readjusting points to weight assignments according to their worth. I for one wold love to be able to do this with a quick click of a button instead of laboriously pouring over numbers.


Please vote up on this - it is clear that many people are asking for this function in many different ways.

Gradebook: weigh assignment within assignment group

"Lock Grade" option in Gradebook

Weighting Assignments

Added to Theme

Improve Gradebook settings options Theme Status: Identified


Hi Jodie

Thank you for your interest and for taking the time to submit this feature idea/request.

Another related idea: that did not get sufficient votes to be moved to the next stage in the process.  Perhaps this time around priorities will have changed and intra-assignment group weighting will receive more votes.

Thank you for submitting this feature idea! Learn more about the feature idea process and how to champion your idea.

Your feature idea will be open for vote from Wed. November 2, 2016 - Wed. February 1, 2017. Smiley Wink

Community Contributor

Renee, here's a first draft of a use case describing in more detail the problem we're seeing at my institution.  This doesn't affect every instructor here at the University of Michigan but in some of our more complex classes -- ones with solid pedagogical approaches, using lots of small assignments and in some cases external tools -- are faced with difficult workarounds.  These classes need the ability to grade questions by points but to weight assignments *within a group* separately from the points.


U-M classes have groups of assignments where:

  1. Numbers of questions across assignments vary
  2. Points per question are consistent across assignments in order to grade effectively (e.g., all questions worth 5 points, arithmetic mistakes = one point deduction, not showing equation = one point deduction)
  3. Number of points on a given assignment does not correlate to desired impact on grade (weight). Requires that assignments are in separate assignment groups.
  4. Lowest scores within the group are dropped (e.g., drop the lowest two grades).  In some cases this is because students can elect which assignment to complete (e.g., attend lecture 1 or 2, each of which has an in-class assignment).  Requires that assignments are in the same assignment group

Given the conflict between ##3 and 4, some instructors at U-M are unable to calculate final grades in Canvas and instead must recreate gradebook logic in Excel, with all the concomitant risk of error and the loss of transparency for students.

Community Contributor

With his knowledge, I'm adding in a comment here that Professor Keith Riles from the University of Michigan posted last week on the recently archived idea 6831.  Thanks.

new comment by Keith Riles View all comments on this idea

I am one of the UM instructors who does not wish to do these manipulations in Excel. Being able to weight assignments in a "group" as we please and being able to drop a set of lowest scores have been the norm here for at least a dozen years. If Canvas cannot manage to implement this change promptly, I will conclude that its software is already too ossified to be a reliable platform for our future and will lobby the IT higher-ups to reconsider the recent migration to Canvas. It's not rocket science to incorporate arbitrary weighting; if Canvas thinks this is a difficult undertaking, some start-up company will eat your lunch.

Please try to impress us with your commitment to making this change before the end of the semester and then succeeding rather than reinforcing the impression that we have made a dreadful mistake in signing on to Canvas. I find it very disconcerting to read above that: "Let me do some more searching, as I am pretty confident that we have seen this idea before." Good ideas that help instructors do their jobs better should be promptly implemented, not filed away for future consideration (or lost).

I realize I sound a bit harsh, but it's dismaying to me that we have regressed a dozen years with respect to a key feature of our online grade book.

Community Team
Community Team

This idea has moved to the next stage and will be open for voting among the Canvas Community, from Wed. November 2, 2016 - Wed. February 1, 2017.

Check out this doc for additional details about how the voting process works!

Community Novice

I agree with all of the above comments as well as the tone. Our university (University of Tennessee) is transitioning from Black Board to Canvas this year. My co-instructors and I decided to be an "early adopter" and we are currently using Canvas instead of Black Board (we had the choice of using either system for the 2016-2017 academic year) and this inability of not being able to weight assignments WITHIN an assignment group arose very early in the semester. We have a number of assignment groups where the weighting factors of the assignments WITHIN the group vary and in some cases vary widely. For the most part, we have found a workaround by adjusting the "points" for each assignment and then displaying the grades as a percentage. This is rather "clumsy" and "kludgy (word?)" in my opinion. In addition, this requires that we know ahead of time how much we want every assignment to count before the start of the semester. This is okay in some cases, but we have some assignment groups that are "flexible" in nature like "projects". That is, we do not always know how many projects that we will assign and how we want to "weigh" each project since we make those decisions as we proceed through the semester based on the complexity of each project. In Black Board and in Moodle (I used Moodle for six years), this was very easy because you could weigh assignments WITHIN an assignment group and you could adjust the weighting factors at any time during the semester.

This is 2016 not 1996. I found the fact that a 21st century Learning Management System (LMS) does not allow the instructor to weight assignments WITHIN and assignment group to be quite frankly, absurd. Other LMS systems, like Moodle, even go beyond the ability to apply simple weighting factors in that they let you write complex equations to calculate grade averages similar to what you can do in spreadsheet (Black Board does not have this capability either). I can provide and example on how this may feature may be useful and how we use this feature in a spreadsheet if you are interested.

We have been using Canvas since August and this issue is just one of several that I have with this LMS including the fact the changes are not made to system unless it gets "100 votes up". While I understand the need to prioritize development resources, this seems bit ridiculous to me. Canvas should be looking at the features available in competitors' systems (standard practice) as well as proactively thinking about and implementing features that make the system easier to use and more robust for both the student and the instructor. We were told by our IT group that we were moving to Canvas because it was a "Modern LMS" at least compared to Black Board. Even though I was not a big fan of Black Board (it has its own issues), in three months of use I have failed to see how Canvas is step up from our previous LMS Black Board.

Sorry for the long rant but as you tell, this has been a particularly frustrating issue with me.


Community Novice

Also, can someone from Canvas explain within the Assignments Tool faculty are given the option to "Display Grade as POINTS, PERCENTAGE, COMPLETE/INCOMPLETE, etc. (which is good) but in the Quizzes Tool there are no Display Grade Options (only as Points).  This is confusing to students and clunky to faculty especially with the course is setup as a weighted average and in Canvas a Quiz is a type of Assignment.

Community Novice

Much, much, much needed by us, and seems a no brainer.

Community Novice

I voted against by mistake. Can I rescind my vote and vote again?

Can the voting language be changed to Vote FOR and Vote AGAINST? @jodie_brotherto ​

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

 @buckleyc ​, since voting is still open on this idea, you can change your vote by logging into the Community, navigating to the feature idea, and clicking on the Vote up button. Your downvote will be rescinded and your upvote will register. The incorrect registering of votes is a known bug in the Jive platform that powers the Community, and a ticket is open for it.

Community Novice

Thanks, Stephanie. I did vote up but the numbers haven't changed.