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New Member

Canvas randomly auto-grading essay questions

I apologize if this has been asked before, but I'm not finding it in a search, possibly because the associated search terms are too general:

I am grading a quiz I gave last week that includes multiple choice and essay questions. I assumed Canvas would leave the grades for the essay questions blank, since I did not provide any information that would allow it to assess students' answers (I mean, how would that even work?). What I am finding is that although it often does leave the grades for those questions blank, and alert me at the top of the quiz to the fact that they need attention, occasionally it will randomly fill in points for those questions on some students' quizzes. Other times, it will fill the point boxes in with "NaN" but apparently counts it as "graded" (so it doesn't list it at the top as needing attention). Both create problems, because in dealing with a large number of students' quizzes, it would be easy for me not to realize that those questions had not actually been graded, and that Canvas had assigned a number that is probably higher or lower than it should be. 

Does anyone know what causes this to happen and how to prevent it? There seems to be no pattern to it (i.e., it happens on different questions on different students' quizzes, doesn't happen at all on most of them, etc.).

Any help much appreciated!

5 Replies
New Member

This is happening to me right now! Are you providing feedback in the comment field? I wouldn't normally assume this level of AI - but perhaps it's looking for key phrases? This only started happening after I had graded several quizzes. I hope Canvas support staff will chime in because I find this pretty unsettling and am concerned about students receiving the wrong score. 

Community Member

I just received this question / issue from a faculty member.  This just started on Thurs. April 2, 2020.

Happened with all grading of essay and Fill-in-the-Blank questions.

I am going to get to Canvas Support with this.

- Tammy Macek, Lorain County Community College

Community Member

I have an instructor that this happened to recently. I realize this thread is over 6 months old, but was the reason for this ever uncovered?

New Member

Did someone find the solution? I know this thread is so old, but I have the same issue. Sometimes I can forget about it, and my students see bad marks on their excellent work. They are so worried about it. Students' mental health is so unstable that they must study, work, and find a time for rest, and I don't want to hurt them with such strange things. I recently found an article  about the importance of childhood memories on the resource with writing help. As a teacher and pedagog, I understand the necessity of university lifes' memories. So, please, if someone has a solution, tell it to me.

Community Champion

@joyfuleast -

I do not know about a solution to this issue.  However, if you are worried about students seeing their grades before an assignment is completely graded, then I suggest you set up your grade book for manually posting of assignment grades.  That way the grades and any comments are hidden from the students until you post the grades.

Instructors Guide page for grade posting policy

That page has the information for both course settings and assignment settings - the links to their individual pages are included in the description.