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Community Participant

Any progress toward allowing Specifications grading (no points)?

I've been working for several hours trying to get Canvas to not show points. I've searched the old Q&A, and I see the issue of specifications grading came up in 2016 and again in 2018. I know I can create grading schemes that work on Pass/Fail. But they still show students points. Getting away from points grading is the whole point (ha!) of specs grading. D2L allowed it, but alas, my institution has switched to Canvas. This is one of several issues I'm having, and the most serious drawback in my view. Going back to points represents a big backwards step, pedagogically speaking. Have the Canvas creators paid this any attention recently? If not, maybe someone should create a specs grading app. 

4 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @leslie_irvine  

There are a couple feature ideas you might want to check out, add your own discussion and support with your votes.


Community Champion

Hi again Leslie Irvine,

I didn't remember anything about specification grading, so I looked it up and found a helpful article: Hall, M. (2018, April 11). What is specifications grading and why should you consider using it? The Innovative Instructor blog [Blog article].

The ideas in the article reminded me of Feedback not grades philosophy that I learned from laurakgibbs‌. I'm hoping she'll chime in to this discussion.


I'd like to introduce you to Laura Gibbs' Blog‌ where Laura has a lot to say about feedback and grading and how she uses Canvas. Some of the newer entries are:

Let's Talk about Grading (9): Book Chapter Draft 

Let's Talk about Grading (8): Feedback versus Grades 

You can find more at Tag TTOG 

Meanwhile, there are some ways you can not show points to students,  but the points will still exist since ultimately there has to be a calculation to determine if they have "passed" a specific threshold.

Remove Points from Rubric

You can remove the points from a rubric. How do I add a rubric to an assignment?  see Select Rubric Settings about mid-way down.

Select rubric settings

Hide Totals in Grades Summary

And you can hide the grade total from students too. How do I hide totals in my students' grade summaries? 

Grades visible:
student total grade visible

Grades Hidden:
student total grade hidden

Grading Schemes

As you know, you can also setup a grading scheme that displays a "rating" word rather than a numeric score.
How do I add a grading scheme to an assignment? 
How do I enable a grading scheme for a course? 

Here's one I have that is just emoji:
Emoji in grading scheme

But yeah even with a grading scheme, students will still see how many points were associated with the item. So you can choose an arbitrary amount of points that corresponds to a rating like 4 points for every assignment and 4-3-2-1 refer to Great-Good-Meh-Tryagain

Canvas Outcomes

You can also implement outcomes to use for Learning Mastery and then the rating levels will make sense to include in a rubric.

What are Outcomes? 

How do I align an outcome with a rubric in a course? 

How do I use the Learning Mastery Gradebook to view outcome results in a course? 

I know switching to a new LMS can be an unsettling change, but fortunately there are plenty of folks here who have gone through it, keep searching the community and asking questions. I also encourage you to reach out to your school's instructional designers or tech team or teacher quality framework folks to work with you on what you want to accomplish in your Canvas implementation of your courses.

And check out Laura's work with Her students know exactly how much work each week they have to accomplish in order to get a specific grade and it's completely their choice; they do the work, the earn the grade.

Hope some of these ideas are helpful to you,
Cheers - Shar

Community Participant

Thank you!

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Community Member

Going on two years for this question. Any new progress on allowing Specifications grading in Canvas?

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