[Gradebook] Include a Keep Highest Scores Rule (instead of Ignore Lowest) in Assignment Groups

This is not a new idea (see below). However, since many of the responses appear to suggest creating a Feature Idea... I have tried to title this so that it includes words that will get picked up multiple searched. Interestingly, when I pasted my title, I saw a message indicating there were 'no similar ideas'. My 'idea' is, obviously, to provide an option that lets instructors 'Keep Highest X Scores' when assigning rules to an Assignment Group. The 'ignore lowest' option does not function the same a 'keep highest' would in relation to maintining an accurate running total of accumulated points in the Gradebook. Below are a few links to others who have asked about this. My personal reasoning is presented in "Student Gradebook Issues With 'Ignore Lowest Scores' in Assignment Group.


Tonight I watched Jason Sparks presentation InstCon16 | Quizzes.Next: Modern Quizzing in Canvas - YouTube 
It was a great presentation. It seems lots of excellent changes are coming to Quizzes (soon?). I was clapping even when the audience wasn't. The one thing I didn't see (that I very much was hoping to) is this one here. Hopefully it is included, and was just not specifically addressed in the presentation. If someone happens to know if that option will be coming with Quizzes.Next, I would love to hear from you. Thank you.


547 Views https://community.canvaslms.com/thread/2214

Assignment Group settings - *keep* the highest _n_ scores

Question asked by Cordah Pearce on Jun 10, 2015


109 Views https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/4319

Add a "Keep Highest" Option to the Groups in Assignments

Idea created by Melissa Ritter on Jan 8, 2016


536 Views https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/4321

Assignment Group Settings: Option for "Keep Highest" Scores

Idea created by Emily Hunt on Jan 8, 2016


987 Views https://community.canvaslms.com/thread/12913-keep-highest-scores

Keep Highest Scores ???

Question asked by George de Falussy on Sep 16, 2016


181 Views https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/7443 

IF/THEN Logic on Drop Lowest Score

Idea created by Neal Legler Champion on Nov 3, 2016


3044 Views https://community.canvaslms.com/thread/13886-drop-lowest-grade

Drop lowest grade?

Question asked by Benjamin (Ben) Croucher on Nov 10, 2016


194 Views   https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/8325-keep-best-scores-instead-of-ignore

Keep Best Scores Instead of Ignore

Idea created by Kimberley Patterson on Mar 22, 2017


141 Views https://community.canvaslms.com/thread/19118-student-gradebook-issues-with-ignore-lowest-scores-in-a...

Student Gradebook Issues With 'Ignore Lowest Scores' in Assignment Group

Question asked by Kimberly Smith on Sep 8, 2017

Added to Theme

Provide more flexible grading options Theme Status: Identified

Community Team
Community Team

 @kimberly_smith2 ‌

Thank you for resubmitting this idea.  As you have found, this idea has come in a few times, but never garners a lot of votes (comparatively).  Maybe this is it's season?

Community Novice

I asked Canvas support about doing this exact thing years ago and was met with resistance. They didn't seem to care that the current "drop X lowest" rule causes X number of grades to be greyed out throughout the semester, creating confusion and alarm for students concerned about losing credits. For example, after completing just 3 out of 12 quizzes, the two lowest are greyed out as students take them, even though the 10 highest will be kept when all is said and done. If the rule were switched, then the X highest grades would always show up as active grades, as they should.

Community Participant

Hello Jennifer,

Thank you for responding!

Yes, many of us who allow students some flexibility (drop lowest/missed) in an assignment group have been frustrated by the lack of a 'keep highest' option (myself included). One of my posts in the Community include a list of previous requests for this (since archived/cold storage, etc.), along with the number of views for each. I have been trying to find out if the upcoming Quizzes.Next has adressed this issue, but have no answer yet. If it hasn't, then hopefully enough votes on this most recent version will move the request along. Fingers crossed


Kimberly Smith

Community Explorer

 @kimberly_smith2 ‌, I just ran into this while working with a faculty member today.  This individual gives weekly quizzes (normally) and wants to keep the highest 10 scores.  The problem is that she doesn't know for sure how many quizzes there will be so can't say for sure how many of the lowest scores would need to dropped in order to ensure the highest are kept.  Either she needs to continue to change the dropping rule, or wait until the semester is near its end in order to set up the drop rule.  Either way, the students can't use the gradebook as effectively as they could if there was a way to just indicate that the highest 10 scores should be kept.  I really hope that this can be implemented with the new quizzing system!

Community Explorer

Thanks for your votes!

Community Participant

Hello out there...
I notice that this idea had been viewed 687 times, but only has 91 votes? I am trying to figure out why this might be.

? Is it that viewers feel implementing this idea is problematic in some way? If so, I would really like your feedback.

? Is it that those viewing the idea are not yet familiar with how to login and participate in voting? If so... and you would like to participate, you just need to verify your Canvas account; it takes less than 60 seconds (honest). The easiest way to do this is to: 1) open a different browser window, 2) log into your Canvas LMS then come back to this page, 3) click on Log In (top right), 4) verify your account, 5) participate Smiley Happy

? Is it that those viewing have found a workaround to the issue that this idea seeks to address? (e.g. If you use have used the Canvas Gradebook and allowed students to drop their lowest score(s) from within a given assignment group, then you are likely familiar with the issue associated with this system's inability to maintain accurate gradebook totals until the deadlines for all of the assignments in that assignment group have passed. This issue arises because the only assignment group ‘rule' Canvas offers to accomplish this is the 'Ignore Lowest x Scores' option. A solution would be for Canvas to add a ‘Keep Highest X Scores’ assignment group rule.) I know of no viable workaround for this (other than applying the rule at the end of the semester… which is still a 'not really accurate' problem, and comes with a different set of problems). If you have found a solution, could you please please please share it here for us?

? Is there some other reason why viewing does not lead to voting (either up or down)?
Thank you for your time!!

Community Explorer

Good questions  @kimberly_smith2 ,‌ I would like to see this functionality. 

I don't know for sure but maybe to some if you have a group of 10 assignments, then keeping the top 8 seems like the same as dropping the lowest 2 scores.  The issue we run into is when you don't know how many assignments you will end up with within a particular group.  Some of our faculty know they want to keep the top 8 assignments but don't know if they will end up assigning 10, 11, 12, etc., so unless you continually change the rule you can't say for sure that in the end "x" number need to be dropped.

Community Champion

It may also count multiple views by the same person. I have personally viewed some ideas upwards of 10 or 20 times (usually ideas with an active comments section where I keep going back to read and add to a comment thread).

Also, since Canvas recently changed to keep the top percentage of ideas within each period and close the rest (rather than keeping those that met a static vote threshold), there are really three "vote choices" for each idea now: Up, Neutral, Down. Voting Up moves the vote-count up, not voting keeps the vote-count the same, and voting Down lowers the vote count. This means that if a single person voted uniformly across every Idea on the Canvas Community (regardless of whether that vote was up or down as long as it was the same each time) it would have no effect on the Idea process since it looks at relative rather than absolute votes. This in turn motivates some Canvas Community members to vote for fewer things they wouldn't actually use a lot since they'd rather the ones they support the most strongly are in the top whatever percent and they don't want to "dilute" their other votes. So far, I haven't noticed it leading to a lot of new down-voting this year, which would be another logical consequence of the current incentives, but not voting at all may be up.

Community Participant

Thank you Linnea. I hadn't considered the multiple views by the same person - which, of course, seems obvious to me now :-/. However, I was not at all aware of the new 'top percentage' or the 'neutral voting' factor. It seems you are saying that the 'neutral vote' is implied (behind the scenes), by virtue of someone just viewing an idea but not voting on it? So then 'relative' votes means relative to the number of views? I really hope not, but am I getting that right? If so, this seems very problematic to me.

I have more comments on this, but I will start a new conversation elsewhere... since now it seems that broadening the conversation (more comments on my comments) may be effectivly reduce the liklihood that this feature idea moves forward (lower % due to views without votes)? Thank you for the heads up. Would you mind if I pasted your explanation into the new thread I create?

Community Champion

 @kimberly_smith1  ‌,

I believe you have misunderstood what I said. The current Canvas idea process does not, to my knowledge, take "views" into account as part of their metric. I was trying to explain why people who felt neutral-to-slightly-positive (rather than passionate) might choose to read an Idea and neither up nor down vote it.

What Canvas does (as far as I can tell) is keep the top 10%-ish of ideas, as measured by vote score, and archive the rest to Cold Storage‌ on a regular basis (I think it's a certain number of months after submission). (They used to keep just the ones that got 100 votes or more rather than a percentage, but changed the process this year.) 

Let's look at a simpler scenario: A world in which there were only 20 ideas (there are a LOT more ideas than this in the real Canvas Feature Ideas) and the top 10% would be kept. That would mean that only the top 4 vote-getters (since 10% of 20 is 4) could move on, no matter how many good ideas there were. If the scores were:

Idea #1: Score of 300

Idea #2: Score of 250

Idea #3: Score of 249

Idea #4: Score of 150

Idea #5: Score of 125

Idea #6: Score of 100

Idea #7: Score of 100

Idea #8: Score of 100

Idea #9: Score of 100

Idea #10: Score of 100

Idea #11: Score of 100

Idea #12: Score of 100

Idea #13: Score of 100

Idea #14: Score of 20

Idea #15: Score of 15

Idea #16: Score of 5

Idea #17: Score of 2

Idea #18: Score of 2

Idea #19: Score of 0

Idea #20: Score of -2

Then Ideas 1, 2, 3, and 4 would be kept, even though Ideas 5-13 still had a lot more support than Ideas 14-20. 

In "only 20 ideas world", voting for more than 4 ideas would effectively be saying "I don't care which four ideas from this list of 5-plus things that I voted for move on", so people might choose to not vote for something if there were 4 things they liked more.

We live in a world with LOTS more than 20 ideas, so the optimal voting strategy is more complicated, but the current idea promotion system incentivizes not voting for everything that sounds vaguely good but instead voting for fewer things that matter more to you since it takes a relative (percentage) rather than absolute (score) point as its cutoff.

For what it's worth, I don't currently see a lot of the petty strategic nonsense that you'd see in a community where people were being highly strategic with their votes and trying to game the system. With the current system, that would look like doing a lot of downvoting of things they don't care about one way or the other (instead, downvotes are rare and usually seem to be accompanied by comments explaining why, which means people are treating it as a strong objection rather than "part of the game") and creation of lots of junk ideas (since more total ideas would make the top ten percent if there were 20,000 ideas, 15,000 of which were poorly thought out and unpopular, than would make the top ten percent if there were 20 ideas that were all actually good ideas). I do suspect people may be more likely to pass by without voting at all on ideas since every highly-ranked idea displaces another in a percentage-based system like this, but I have no idea if this is actually the case because I don't have access to that data to see if the policy change resulted in community members upvoting fewer ideas.