[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 Participant

Hello ericwerth ,  @RobDitto  ,  @mfp11  ,  @gdefalussy  , pardoj ,  @Renee_Carney 

Just in case you are not 'following' this feature idea, I thought I might mention the awesome post that  @James  added to this discussion - explaining how the calculations for such things work, and showing that the code for including this feature would be quite doable.

Community Champion

I actually read all that Smiley Happy and to answer your ending question "Is it worth it?" I would only say that I voted for this because of the impact to students.  I grade all assignments out of 100 (and so my case is way simpler than all your examples) and I enter all assignments before the start of the semester (so the total number of assignments is never unknown).  Yet I still have a few students confused.  I drop the two lowest out of 12 in order to keep the top 10 scores.  That's all well and good, except that scores are dropped when there are even two scores entered.  A student who is excused from the first quiz (after a last minute add/drop) ends up with a grade based on the highest 9 scores (which increases the importance of each quiz for that student).  Then for students who skip multiple assignments it continually looks like I have dropped the latest assignment, so the zeros never appear to be a big deal to the students.  Meanwhile their total grade drops steadily.

On top of that, I am using replacement assignments as extra credit by adding 3 optional assignments that start with temporary grades of zero out of 100 before the class starts (and then dropping the lowest 5 out of 15 scores), and so students who check out the gradebook early on see that one of the pre-entered zeros actually counts (until our first "real" assignment is entered.)

Keeping the highest 10 grades suggests to me (although I am admittedly less qualified to comment) that none of the first 10 grades entered would be dropped until the 11th is graded.  That means the late drop/add would not have any scores dropped until after quiz 12 is graded, and the students who skip assignments early on see an impact to their grade and can then be prompted to correct the change by taking the "extra" 11th and 12th quiz or by doing extra credit which now no longer needs pre-entered zeros (or any zero ever) to be correctly adjusting the grades.

Basically, the most important distinction is how this gets displayed to the students.

Community Novice

I would love to see a "keep the highest" option. It has been one of my greatest frustrations in adopting Canvas that the gradebook functionality causes enormous miscommunication to students given the way the "ignore the lowest" rule works. Students often are caused to overestimate their grade by the way it works. It seems so straightforward to just offer another rule of "keep the highest" and would eliminate ALL grade miscommunciation. 

That feature is what I miss most from Moodle. It seems so archaic to have to ask students to MANUALLY add up their scores to work around the way the Canvas gradebook operates. This has been especially problematic in distance learning during the pandemic, because students are completing work at more varied paces and they are all in a different place of confusion about their grades. 

Community Participant

Having a "keep the highest" either in addition to or instead of dropping scores would also be helpful in courses where students are offered a choice between different assignments.

For example, I'm offering my students 6 possible assignments to complete over the semester. They only need to complete 3 of them in order to get the required credit in the course. Students might complete more if they want to, but only the top 3 will be used in grade calculations.

If I had the option to "keep the highest 3 scores", then the gradebook would show their accurate score progressively through the semester - each assignment would be counted towards their grade as it's completed until they've completed 3 of them, and if a student chooses to complete more than 3, their score would be updated to only include the highest scores.

With the current model, I can't account for the assignment scores until the very end, when zeroes must be added to any assignments that were not completed in order to drop them from the calculations. Which means a wave of grade notifications of "you got a zero on this assignment" gets pushed to the class at the end of the semester, when stress is already super high, and students get upset that they were marked a zero for something they didn't think they needed to complete. 

Having the option to keep the highest [x] scores would save such a headache at the end of the term.

Community Explorer

I agree this is one of the best changes we could make to help students stay more accurately informed of their progress while allowing them flexibility in their graded work, such as a choice between graded assignments. Some students know how to use the What-If tool effectively, but others don't, and as a result, they don't necessarily make the best choices in completing their work. They need this.

How do I vote for this? Right now I only see 2 ratings for this idea. That can't possibly be right, right?

Community Participant

This idea seems so obviously needed.  I use the "apply the drop lowest rule at the end of the semester" trick as a workaround.  But I shouldn't have to work around this.

Community Explorer

I don't really understand why we have to work around the drop lowest rule, either.

If we have an "ignore highest" rule offered, then clearly it's possible to identify a set number of highest scores. What's the difficulty in using that set of scores to calculate the grade?


Community Member


Would it be possible to put this "keep the highest x activities" rule into beta for testing? I join colleagues in expressing my strong desire to see this come to fruition. I have a faculty member who wishes to keep the highest 20 discussion board posts (out of 23 offered).  The "drop lowest x rule" doesn't work, as some students will submit only 20 anyways, and they need to be scored out of those 20, not 17 (which would occur with the "drop lowest 3" rule enabled).  Thanks for your consideration!


Community Participant

Can someone please tell me why most all of the links above return the message "You do not have sufficient privileges for this resource or its parent to perform this action."?

How does one obtain the privileges necessary to view these conversations? 

Others appear to be experiencing the same issue on a number of different pages: https://community.canvaslms.com/t5/Catalog-Users/Canvas-Community-August-6th-Launch/td-p/241475/page...  

Thank you.

Community Team
Community Team
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