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Community Member

Default Zeros for Ungraded Quizzes

I've noticed with the new quiz program, if I give a quiz with short answers or essays that I have to grade, the default grade that goes in the grade book right after a student takes the quiz, is a zero.  Not "pending" or "to be graded" as a paper icon would suggest, but a zero that counts against the student's grade.  This is not with "late" quizzes or assignments.  I've looked for an option to uncheck in settings, but I didn't see anything.

Anyone know how to fix this?

9 Replies
Community Participant

I am suddenly having this problem too. I am using the new gradebook and the old quiz program. Several years ago this problem existed and was resolved by Canvas. In my case, I have an all multiple choice quiz, it is published and open. If the kids haven’t taken it, the zero is averaged into their grade. Not helpful. My quiz has been unattempted and isn’t due for a week. 

Community Coach
Community Coach

Hello  @david_lawrence  and  @megan_williams ...

I don't necessarily have an answer for you, but I did want to let you both know that I am going to share this question with the here in the Canvas Community in hopes that your question will get some additional exposure.  If you are not following this group, you can use the link that I have provided, and then click on the "Follow" button at the top right corner of the page.  Next to that button is a link called "Actions".  Click "Actions", and then choose "Join group".  I hope this will be of help to you both!

Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @david_lawrence  and  @megan_williams ,

I wanted to check in as I noted that your question seems to have the community a little stumped. Were you able to find an answer to your question possibly through some of your own additional sleuthing?

If you found a solution that solved this, it would be great to hear from you how you did (as this will help anyone else that finds your question in future).

No. I and the other teachers in my district continue to have the same problem. It’s just a glitch Canvas needs to fix. Soon rather than later would be nice as the zeros (if they are not caught) count against students’ grades and jeopardize their eligibility.

No, I have not found a solution. I and the other teachers in my district continue to have the same problem. It’s a glitch Canvas needs to fix. Soon rather than later would be nice as the zeros (if they are not caught) count against students’ grades and jeopardize their eligibility.

Hi  @david_lawrence .  I know that this is an older question, but I am wondering if you are still experiencing the problem you described?  I just checked in one of my sandbox courses with "fake" students and it appears that when I have the same type of assessment you describe, a partial grade is entered into the gradebook instead of a zero.  This may have been a bug that was fixed since you last posted.  Also, I was using the new gradebook and didn't test in the older grades view.  

Thanks for the update!

Over time, this bug re-surfaces.  I am still using the "old" quizzes and the "new" gradebook.  If I give a quiz with mixed multiple choice and essay questions, it grades the multiple choices, enters zero for each ungraded essay question and reports a low grade in the gradebook until I grade the essay questions.  It seems to me the default should be "ungraded" in the gradebook until each question is graded.  My workaround has been to mute the grades until I have graded them all.  Unfortunately, I have three separate sections that meet on different days.  I'd like to be able to mute/unmute by section for this reason.

Community Coach
Community Coach

It looks like there hasn't been a post to this thread in some time so I am going to mark it as "assumed answered".  This doesn't suggest the issue, that seems to reappear from time-to-time for some folks, is necessarily fixed.  However, when this arises the best approach is probably to notify Canvas Support so they can look into the issue and find a fix.  I hope this is ok with everyone.


Community Champion

The answer for new quizzes is that it's a function of the way LTI's work, and new quizzes is an LTI.  Essay questions are graded as 0, and that's what gets sent to the gradebook. It's in the New Quizzes FAQ.


LTI supports grade passback but does not provide a way to offer further context about the assessment. Without the ability to provide additional context, Canvas cannot distinguish if the lack of a grade or the passed grade represents the fully graded contents of the quiz.

The only working solution is to set the gradebook column policy to Manually Post Grades, then the score will be hidden until you've completed grading and posted the grades manually.

You might want to vote for this, it could help.