New Quizzes should not *automatically* grade written responses

This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas


Any questions that teachers have to manually grade (essay, short answer) are automatically calculated as zeros in Quizzes.Next. There are 2 major issues with this:


     1. Student's grades are completely inaccurate until the teacher grades them. This can cause serious issues like suspension from a sports team due to grades, consequences at home, and unneeded anxiety and stress. Yes, I can mute the assignment so they don't see that grade at home, but administrators who are determining eligibility see it as part of the average. 

     2. Because Quizzes.Next considers this question already graded, as a teacher, I have no way of telling which responses I have graded and which I have not.  In the old Quiz system, it shows a document symbol in the gradebook and a little orange dot next to their name in Speedgrader to show that these questions still need to be graded.  When you are look at a specific student's quiz in Speed grader, it tells you what still needs to be graded, but still shows a check next to their name in the list, so you have to scroll through every student to see if it has been graded. With hundreds of students turning in assignments at different times this is not helpful.


Considering the old version has this, this is something that should have been fixed before it ever came out of Beta. It is a serious glitch in how Quizzes.Next interacts with the Canvas Gradebook. 

Community Explorer

I got so tired of dealing with the issue that I submitted a query to Canvas support about this issue, just to see what (if anything) they would say in response. Here's what I got back:

Thank you for contacting Canvas Customer Support. I understand you have had issue with the function of essay questions in New Quizzes. By default, essay questions in New Quizzes will grade as a zero automatically until the instructor has graded the response. Although these do grade as zeros the students also can see that those questions have not been graded yet:

There is a feature idea for this already:

You also mentioned that you did not get To-Do items for these submissions either. This also is currently the intended function. Though there also is a feature idea for this:

Note what I've highlighted in red above. They designed it like this on purpose?!?!? That part took me by surprise. The rest was more or less what I expected.

Anyhow, I would suggest that everybody who has the problem writes directly to Canvas support. At least we know that somebody reads those support tickets. Maybe if they get enough users complaining about the same "feature," they will find it will take less time to fix it than it does to answer constant complaints about it.

Community Participant

Unfortunate that this is still an issue, as one of my faculty just reminded me.

Hopefully it will be resolved before the hard rollout in July of 2022.

Community Contributor

I was on the call with Support today because I was sure I must be missing something...but no. How discouraging to learn this issue has been known and not addressed for two and a half years.

Community Member

For essay questions, it is essential that quizzes not be automatically graded to "0" (even if the student can see that it is "not yet graded"). This has a chain of consequences: it tanks the student's final percentage calculation, which they track closely and strongly impacts their confidence. Student confidence is tied to investment and performance! It's also just untrue, so it is unhelpful.

Moreover, it throws off the "average" at the top of the speedgrader, which inhibits graders from maintaining consistency. AND, having a "Test Student" in the gradebook with all scores of "0" it makes it essentially impossible to know at a glance what the average score for the assignment actually was.

Our faculty handbook has a guideline about grade averages, so these metrics are important to have at hand!

Community Participant

This is insane! @kona Do you know anything that we can do to get this changed. I'm dragging our faculty, kicking and screaming no less, into New Quizzes because we want to have some cushion to migrate content before the drop-dead date and now this?! They're about ready to tar and feather me!

Community Member

This to-d issue is a huge problem! I want to echo that as of today 09/12/2021 at 1:28:25 PM. This has not been fixed.

Community Member

There are already many posts about this, and I myself have posted about it before, but time is ticking. Before long, "Old Quizzes" will lapse and "New Quizzes" will be the only option, and so this is becoming more and more urgent.

In Canvas New Quizzes, open-ended questions are automatically graded as zero until the instructor assigns a different grade. I already know the workarounds for this problem, but it should not be a problem that needs workarounds in the first place. After all, it is clear that no instructor would ever want the questions to be graded this way.

For other types of assignments, the grade is shown as pending until the instructor gives a grade. When will New Quizzes adopt this sensible and critical grading practice as well?

Community Explorer

I agree with the original post and what has been said by the many commenters here.

We need

1. A way to know which "New Quizzes" have questions that still need to be reviewed without having to look individually at each quiz.

2. Students to not see scores on quizzes that reflect only a partial score. This is highly distressing to students.

3. Partial grades (i.e. grades of new quizzes with items remaining to be graded) should not be posted in the gradebook or at least not be used in computing the overall course grade or assignment group grade.

It is very disappointing that no action has been taken on these issues despite the fact that they have been known issues for several years.


Community Explorer

Agree! This feature is way overdue. Saying it is graded is sending the wrong message to our students and our teachers have to constantly go back through every quiz every time to try to figure out whose they have and have not graded.

Community Participant

It's absolutely wild to me that Instructure's response to these complaints on how New Quizzes functions was "it's a feature, not a bug".

Every other assignment in Canvas that has to be manually graded appears in the instructor To Do list, has a special character marking it as needing to be graded in SpeedGrader, and has pending status in the gradebook. Literally nothing else on Canvas works like New Quizzes does. These differences are not an improvement, they make it harder to implement New Quizzes and keep track of grading.