Automatic zero in gradebook after a date

This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas


I would like to throw this out there...


What if an assignment could automatically be scored as a zero if not completed by a specified date? This would be a huge time saver for everyone:


Student: this would allow their grade to accurately reflect true grade (if teacher is behind)- will encourage/motivate, etc.

Teacher: huge time saver! Helpful for schools/teachers with students who self pace

Academic Adviser: view true and accurate grade for reporting


Currently, a teacher can default an assignment grade (for all or some students) to a zero. But what if on the same prompt (window) it asks for a date. When the date passes, a zero in placed in the grade. This gives the teacher control of when it happens and it's easy to find.


Just an idea.


Comments from Instructure


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Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Hi Stephanie,

I can see the pros of controlling when a zero is determined could be helpful for both student and teacher. I'll go ahead and move this idea forward.

However, I encourage you to view and follow this idea: , this idea takes the date out of the equation entirely and suggests that zeros should be the set default in order to minimize the confusion for grades from the student POV. It's actually quite an interesting thought, as well.

Be sure to cast your vote and add your opinions when the next round of voting is open.

Smiley Happy

Community Champion

Hello Biray,

Thank you for moving this idea forward.

Thank you for letting me know of the other idea. I've heard of this and understand the value behind it, but I have concerns about the student viewing their grades with zeros before even starting a course or assignment. It's like setting them up for failure- or the perspective of failure. I'm not a fan of this idea. I would prefer the teacher be able to encourage success by the zero being entered at a specific time. Another thought is to have a "zero" on the back end but not have it visible to the student. This makes for a more convoluted process.

Community Explorer

I agree with you, Stepanie.   Thank you for moving it forward.

For things that are graded automatically, like some quizzes, it should show a zero if they miss it.   I am always going back in to put zeros.  Students are misled because the zero wasn't calculated in before I added it, even though they missed the assignment.

The treat zeros as ungraded doesn't solve this.


Community Contributor

I think in this case both ideas would add the flexibility for how an instructor teaches their class.  If an instructor would prefer to turn on treat ungraded towards the end of the semester or to ensure they haven't missed any grades or could set a date to automatically add a zero so that as soon as the due date passes the student would see an accurate grade through out the semester.

Community Novice

This feature would be great! Currently I have to manually enter zeros for students who submit late assignments and it is a huge time sync. The problem I've encountered is when students submit the work much later than the deadline. If the assignment is automatically graded, their late grade seems to trump my manually entered zero and I am more likely to miss it. This has required me to keep a separate list of students who submit late and continuously go back to previous assignments to ensure students didn't submit the assignment well after the due date.

Ideally, the grades would be locked as a zero after the deadline passes and there would be a functionality to offer individual extensions where my manual entry overrides the automatic system.

Community Novice

This would be a great feature.  It would save time for me having to manually enter zeroes for 600 students in order to give them an accurate portrayal of their current course grade.

Community Contributor

David,  A faster way to enter those zeros right now would be to click the down arrow for the assignment and click Set Default Grade.  Then you will be able to give all students who do not have a grade a zero without having to enter a zero for each student.  Thanks, Sam

Community Champion

Hello Erin,

This would be a great addition to this possible feature. Great idea!


Community Participant

I think the easiest place to put this is actually as a checkbox under the assignment settings. Again, that's just my opinion.

Community Novice

I agree with Tricia. Those that want the zero automatically could have it, but it wouldn't be forced on everyone.