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Gradebook Averages Wrong

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I have a student with three equally weighted assignment grades: 0%, 0%, 0% and 70% and their current average for the semester is 93.89%. What is going wrong?

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You're not giving us the full picture in order to answer this. I'll explain what I suspect is happening.

First, you say there are three equally weighted grades and then give us four. You do not tell us if those are the only four grades in the entire gradebook.

Based on the elevated overall score, it sounds like you're using assignment groups with weighting. In a weighted gradebook, the percentages of the assignments don't matter, it's the points assigned (even if you enter or display them as percentages). If a student scores 10% on a 10 point assignment and 90% on a 200 point assignment within the same assignment group, their grade is not 50%, it's 181/210=86.19%

With a weighted gradebook, the weighted average only uses assignments where the student has graded assignments and then upscales that to 100% if it is less than 100%. If exams are worth 70%, quizzes 20%, and homework 10%, but there are only quizzes and homework so far with no exams, then you only have 30% of the final grade available. If a student has 10% on quizzes and 90% on homework, then their final score right now will be 36.67% -- despite there only being 30% of the final grade available. If a different student had 90% on quizzes and 10% on homework, then their grade would be 63.33%, again despite there only being 30% of the final grade available right now.

There are other factors to consider.

- You may have some of those grades marked as not counting towards the final. There is a checkbox for assignments other than classic quizzes where you can tell it to not count or you can have them in an assignment group worth 0% of the grade.
- Another thing is to make sure that you have actually entered 0% for their grades rather than just having them as missing. A -- in the gradebook is not a 0. A -- is a missing grade and if there are no actual graded assignments in the assignment group, the assignment group doesn't get counted.
- You may have an assignment group rule that is dropping grades. For example, if you tell Canvas to drop 3 grades (in anticipation of the end of the course), then it starts dropping them as soon as their are four grades available. If those four grades were in the same assignment group, then only the 70% would count. Combine that with the upscaling for not having all assignment groups with grades yet and you could reach the 93.89%.
- You didn't say whether it was your view of the current semester grade or the student grade. If you're giving us what the student sees, then it may be because some of those grades are hidden or not posted yet. If there was a quiz where you had to manually grade some questions, then the students wouldn't be seeing those grades, but you would in your gradebook.
- You might have some extra credit assignments factoring into the grade. I'm talking about the kind where they are worth 0 points and you give them points for it. If you have an extra credit assignment group, then it doesn't get considered extra credit until the sum of the assignment group weights is more than 100. Until that point, extra credit isn't extra, it's part of the regular grade.
- There may be other assignment groups you didn't mention. If someone has 100% in a category worth 95% of the grade and 70% in a category worth 5% of the grade, then their grade right now would be 98.5% for the course. Bonus points can especially things if you didn't mention them. If someone had a 110% in a category worth 70% of the grade and a 70% in a category worth 30% of the grade, their weighted grade would be 98%. If the weights don't exceed 100% yet, then the upscaling of the grade also comes into play: a 103% in a category worth 60% of the grade and a 70% in a category worth 25% of the grade gives a 93.29% for the course grade.

There are several different ways you could come up with your 93.89%, which is why I couldn't explain exactly what is happening with the information provided.

Canvas is almost certainly calculating the grade correctly based on the rules they've established. I teach math and have answered similar questions about the gradebook many times over the 10 years I've been in the Canvas Community. I have never seen case of Canvas miscalculating the grade. Canvas is computer software. It has clearly defined rules for how it calculates grades. It consistently follows those rules. The issue is usually that humans don't understand the rules that Canvas is following. Faculty sometimes have different expectations of how grades should be computed. They may think about how things are going to work at the end of the semester without realizing that grades may seem off until all of the grades are in. They sometimes forget that bonus points can play an even bigger role at the beginning of the semester.

Canvas has recently been messing up a lot of things that used to be established and working fine for years. So, it's possible that the 93.89% is not correct. The gradebook has been pretty solid though. I strongly suspect it's something other than a miscalculation on Canvas' part. I would dig into the gradebook and see if any of the things I mentioned are at play.