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Community Participant

Average student submissions

I teach a Journalism class. Students turn in written assignments, I grade them and then the students can resubmit them. What I did in Blackboard was tell the system to average the two assignments and that worked pretty well.

Is there a way to do that in Canvas? Students are able to resubmit their stories, but when I grade them a second time I haven't figured out a way to have the system average the two grades.

Thanks in advance,

Gary Sawyer

7 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @gwsawyer , this is an interesting idea, but in Canvas there isn’t a way to do this for an Assignment - so resubmitting to the same assignment. Something else to consider is that when students resubmit to the same assignment they lose the ability to see previous assignments and feedback for those assignments. So students can only view the most recent assignment and assignment feedback. Instructors can see all attempts and feedback. 

What might work is if you make it two (or more) different assignments (worth the same number of points) within an Assignment group and weight the assignment group so it was only worth one assignment - which basically would average it if there were multiple attempts. That way students could see their previous attempts and feedback on them. 

I also did some quick checking and didn’t see this idea in the Canvas Studio‌, so you might consider adding it as a new feature idea. If you do that please add the link to your idea to this question. I think this feature could be helpful for teaching and would definitely vote for it!

[Side note, in case someone else stumbles on this question and was curious, there is a way in Canvas to average multiple quiz attempts for the same quiz.]

Community Coach
Community Coach

Hello there,  @gwsawyer ...

I have been reviewing older questions here in the Canvas Community, and I stumbled upon your question.  I wanted to check in with you because we have not heard back from you since you first posted this question on January 17, 2018.  It looks like  @kona ‌ provided a great response and some things to think about on January 18th.  Have you had an opportunity to review her response?  If so, did it help to answer your question?  Or, are you still looking for some assistance with your initial question?  If you feel that Kona's response has helped to answer your question, please go ahead and mark her response as "Correct".  However, if you are still looking for some assistance with this question, please post a message below letting us know how Community members might be able to assist you.  For now, I am going to mark your question as "Assumed Answered", but that won't prevent you or others from posting additional questions and/or comments below that are related to this topic.  I hope that's alright with you, Gary.  Looking forward to hearing back from you soon!

Community Participant

It is resolved. The resolution is that Canvas doesn’t perform this function. While that’s unfortunate, the issue has been resolved.

Thanks for checking back,


Gary Sawyer,

Lecturer, Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication

Iowa State University

204E Hamilton Hall

(Office) 515-294-1260

(Cell) 217-412-8379

Community Participant

As I see it, the problem with the suggestion of making two assignments is that ALL students would have to take both assignments instead of just the students who need to do a retake.  Then if all the students don't retake the assignment, it will be a missing score for them.

Community Participant


Sorry I'm joining this discussion a bit late. It's interesting because it relates to the fact that the Canvas gradebook doesn't allow calculated columns.

Workarounds like a special assignment group as suggested by @kona  are one way to address this, but @kona 's mention of the ability of quizzes to do what you want was interesting. Would a quiz with a single essay question do what you want?

Community Champion

Via the API, the teacher can access all of the history of the grade book entries; hence you can calculate anything you want over these scores via the API. - see at


Community Participant

I did try this, which seems like it worked:  After creating a quiz with only 1 attempt possible, and after students took the quiz, I edited the quiz to allow more attempts and to average the scores.  Some students retook the test and Canvas appeared to average the first score and second score.  This accomplishes my purposes and is fairly easy to do.