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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Community Champion

Deactivated user​

I do not know your exact policy for late submissions, but to solve your overly late submissions issue, use the until date for the assignment.  You have three date settings: due date (when the ontime submissions are due by), the available date(when the assignment becomes available) and the Until date( this date is the cutoff date for any submission on the assignment).  Late submissions are automatically color coded in the grade book and have a note on the grading views.  Not sure if this helps with what you stated, but I thought i would throw it out there.

An interesting side note to the late submission with auto grading(something I don't use) is it possible to deduct points automatically for a late submission?

As for the individual extensions on assignments, check out:


Community Participant

Another way to think about this would be to accomplish this by adding another date option instead.

So you would have Available, Due, Until and this proposed new one - Publish Grades On Date. That date could replace the Muting and the Set Default Grade features and would be using a concept instructors are already used to setting and easy to find as the original post has as a goal also.

When set to a specific date and time the Publish Grades On date feature could:

  1. Allow the instructor to do the job of Muting
    1. It would keep the assignment notifications and grade details hidden and then release them when the date was reached.
  2. It would allow for people to control the timing of the release of grades - like Muting but with specific timing control.
    1. If you wanted grades to show up immediately, you set it the same as Until Date (or Due Date depending on your POV). If you want to wait until a specific date to give people a zero this would facilitate that as well, again meeting the goals of the original suggestion.
  3. Provide an option while setting the Publish Grades On date similar to the original suggestion, "what if on the same prompt (window) it asks for a date. When the date passes, a zero in placed in the grade."  So, instead of asking for a date on setting this option, it would ask for a default score for ungraded items and once grades are 'published' via this date, any ungraded items could be turned to zeros.  So it could (like Set Default Score) ask for a score value which could be zero.  That would allow it to entirely replace the Set Default Grade feature.
  4. This would automate both the Muting and Set Default Grades feature, both of witch require very manual action by the instructor, and would replace 2 disparate features with a single one, following the existing 'date' paradigm already in use in the quizzes and assignments.

I voted for this feature and would be happy if implemented as suggested but this has been my thought on how this could be handled.  Muting has seemed awkward to many at our institution because without a date option, it is very manual and has to be remembered.  Set Default Grades is handy but a little clunky and still must be done manually.  This would consolidate some UX, automate some key things and, IMO, make this set of operations much more clear and easier to manage.

Community Contributor

To solve the repetitive entry of 0's I export the book as a .csv, and use excel to enter in 0's by dragging them into columns. Not as convent as this idea, but it works for me rather well.

Community Coach
Community Coach

This is a great idea Stephanie and one that would have a very positive impact for all concerned (staff, parents and students). As someone tasked with making a decision on a new VLE for my school, how the organisation responds to its users is a very important benchmark in the decision making process. Whilst reading through your suggestion I started thinking about the ability to excuse students from assignments eg due to absence and the ability to put in a code such as Ab or X in the gradebook. I then came across this thread - Ability to "Excuse" an Assignment in the Gradebook : Help Center and the frustrations that many users have felt in putting forward this feature (3yrs!). I do hope you have success with your suggestion and perhaps more importantly you are kept informed of its progress.

Community Team
Community Team

​I like the idea of having the option! What if we could choose from a zero OR missing/zero flag after a certain time? Sometimes students can make up missing work, and other times not.

Community Contributor

 @GideonWilliams ​ it appears that on Canvas Studio your idea is In Development (Canvas Studio: Excuse an assignment (Phase 1) ) you can find out more there.  Thanks, Sam

Community Coach
Community Coach

Thanks Sam. Not my idea merely added to the discussion and backed it.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Hey all,

I'm doing research to figure out the best way to help you all save time when it comes to late/missing work. I'd like to allow for more flexibility beyond just awarding a zero if the assignment is late. I'm curious to hear more about your late and missing rules. Do you take percentage points off for each day it's missing? Do you have grace periods? What are some other ways you handle late/missing items?

Thanks for your feedback!

Community Coach
Community Coach

Current measures (not on a VLE)

Late assignment: Still marked but comment made as to lateness or colour added to spreadsheet (no marks taken away)

Absence: Letter A or Ab added so does not interfere with grade book average

Missing/Not done: Letter X added but does not interfere with grade book average

Summary position of results, lates and missing homework shared with parents either at parents evening or 1-1 meeting or email

Ideally, whatever feature is added other than a students score needs to be recognised by the Dropout Detective software should we wish to purchase this and Canvas

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Very interesting Gideon. Thank you! We are currently working on a design that allows you to award statuses to individual cells in the gradebook. I think this will cover what you're looking for. I'll share the designs for that soon!