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Community Participant

How do I align the Learning mastery gradebook & Grades with a 4.0 scale? And, rubric questions for outcomes.

Is there a way to convert my canvas to a 4.0 scale?

I'm using the learning mastery gradebook.  I have 3 sections for grading. 60% is assessments/summative, 30% for assignments/summative, and 10% for bellwork. I'm aligning everything I do to a standard.  Every standard has a rubric on a 1-4 scale. I grade everything on a 1-4 scale. If it's a big assignment then the assignment has multiple standards. I use the 30% section for practice. The kids see the rubric, but it's not attached (because I don't want this appearing in their learning mastery gradebook). I simply put the rubric in the assignment text box instead.

A student should be able to pass my class with a D. A 1 represents "emerging." A student can be emerging on all standards and still pass.   I do not have a D- on my scale.

My system looks like this:

Rubric ScaleLetter ScaleWords used
4AMastery + (attainable, but perfection)

Grading scale: (see question #6)

Letter grade% low end of scale


1) The decaying option works in the learning mastery grade book; however, it does not transfer to the actual grade book. The assignments stay at the point value originally assigned. The grade book averages the grades. So, all 3 assignments are averaged vs decaying. Is there a way to have the normal gradebook decay like the mastery gradebook does?

2) I can't edit an outcomes mastery scale or grading method if it's already been used to grade an assignment. Is there a way around this?

3) The descriptions in the mastery grade book are phrased super negative. Isn't learning mastery about progress? The phrase "Well Below Mastery" is horrible! Is there a way to CHANGE the phrase?

4) When using a rubric scale for outcomes, I've been creating an outcome. Then, I make a rubric for the outcome. I've been attaching the same rubric via find rubric for each assignment. In theory, this means that the outcome/rubric are aligned and the outcome will be graded in the learning mastery grade book for each assignment that I add a rubric this correct thinking?

5) What if I create a new rubric but use the same outcome? Will the new rubric/outcome also go into the specific learning mastery gradebook section as in #4 above?

6) (SEE chart above) I had to change the grading scale (thresholds), because using a normal A-100%, D= 65% and below, doesn't work with a 1-4 scale. If a D is passing, and a 1=emerging/passing, then it shows that in the learning mastery gradebook. However, in the actual grade book it equates the score to a kid failing...because to the grading system a 1/4=25%. So, I did the math. See the scale above. The issue is, once it calculates the kids score, it shows a 50% and a C (for example). I HATE that there is a percentage there. It's confusing to kids. Can I change it to a 4.0 scale or get rid of the %? I don't want kids or parents seeing a C and a confusing for them!

7) Is there an easier way to get the 1=D in the gradebook then the above?

6 Replies
Community Champion

Hi  @elisabethhuber ​, you're touching on a lot of philosophical questions regarding standards-based grading and assessment. We've been digging into some research at our school and have a few teachers who are trying a full standards-based model where the traditional percentage scale is abandoned for assessment and reporting entirely using a series of standards and "sub-standards" we call "learning targets" (or outcomes in Canvas language). There is a lot that goes into this and I'd be willing to share what we've done if you'd like to Skype.

I've attached the grading policies document that one of our faculty, Dr. Steven Crumb, shares with his students and parents. It outlines how he ultimately translates scores on standards to a letter grade for reporting on the student's transcript. Something to note about the document is that we aren't currently using the Canvas Learning Mastery Gradebook. There are too many flaws for how we'd like to grade using standards, including but not limited to: the inability to report an outcome group score (which we call power standards), their simplified decaying average calculation method, and the inability to add scores into the mastery gradebook that aren't tied to specific assignments in the course (i.e. observations - though we know this can be done via Magic Marker, albeit clunkily if that's a word).

Let me take a stab at your questions:

1.) There is not a way for the normal gradebook to automatically decay, and I don't think you want it to. The traditional gradebook takes a weighted average on a traditional percentage point scale. Decaying averaged outcomes are designed to display mastery over time, weighing the most recent assessment the heaviest with the logic that the most recent assessment point gives the best indication of their current level of skill on the outcome in question.

2.) There is not a way around this at the moment.

3.) You should be able to change all of the language in those fields. We use Excels (or exceeds expectations), meets expectations, approaches expectations, and does not meet expectations.

4.) Yes, using the same rubric with attached outcomes will create new assessment points for each of those outcomes in your learning mastery gradebook.

5.) Be sure you're delineating between "rubric" and "outcome" as these are two separate things. Yes, if you attach the same outcome to a different rubric and use that rubric on another assignment, you will have a new assessment point for that outcome in the LMG.

6.) I would refer you to Dr. Crumb's document for this one. The translation of scores on standards to letter grades are complicated and up for much debate and discussion (including a valid point for whether we should be using letter grades at all).

Hopefully this is helpful. Let me know if you want to talk further about this. Regardless, the movement away from a traditional percentage point scale is a discussion worth having. There is a lot of compelling research out there and even some public districts implementing successful programs.

Good luck!


Community Participant

I am finding a similar frustration: using a current standard A=100%, Failing = 69% and below, doesn't work with a 1-4 (or 1-3 or whatever) rubric scale because in the actual grade book, which is the student's legal GPA, the students are all failing unless they are getting the top category 1/4=25%, 2/3 = 66% and so on. Even if I create a rubric based on the College Board's 1-9 scale, where scores of 4 or 5 should be a low passing score and scores of 8 or 9 are exemplary, the grade book tells a very different, and dismal, story. If I build a rubric with the lowest points set at 6 and use point values 6, 7, 8, 9, to reflect progress, I can get the math to come out better in the grade book. If I then add outcome rows to the rubric that have no points, can I track mastery without tanking GPA? Or does the tracking feature require actual point values?

Also, why will the tracking feature only work for outcomes created at the admin level? None of the rubrics created by instructors can be tracked, and the rubrics created at the admin level cannot be edited by instructors. Is the solution to this a matter of having the trackable elements consist of outcomes without points and the score-able elements consist of rubrics editable by instructors with points ranging from, say 6-9, or whatever range reflects an accurate score for the student's GPA? 

michelle.ciccariello‌, I will preface my remarks by admitting that I have not tracked my outcomes with the Learning Mastery Gradebook, but your description resonated with me, because I have always been confused by the grades awarded with rubrics using a 1-4 or even 0-4 scale. Having equal cells across a criterion row just doesn't make sense to me. So I build my rubrics so that each assignment is worth 100 points, each row contributes an unequal number of points according to how I want to weight that particular criterion--and critically, within each row, points for mastery levels correspond proportionately to a 100-point grade scheme (in my case, >60 is failing).

The simple iteration is of a single row: 100 points = Perfect/Full Mastery; 90-99 points = Excellent; 80-89 points = Very good; 70-79 points = Satisfactory; 60-69 points = Needs improvement; and 0-59 = Does not achieve mastery/Unacceptable. So, a row worth 50 points would have ranges worth half of each of these.

Would it be possible for you to manipulate the points for the outcomes in this fashion? To allow for one click/one criterion grading, each cell could be worth the low end of the range as its single point, since Canvas rubrics don't automatically accommodate ranges. Using this approach should allow the Learning Mastery Gradebook measurements to come closer to the school's official GPA grading scheme.


Rubrics and outcomes are different. You can create an outcome on the teacher level and track it.  The best solution is to use a 1-4 scale and realign the percentages to the gradebook. You can alter what % a C- is. My school uses letter grades to form a students GPA. The percent doesn't matter, so this solution works. My C is set at a 50% since 2/4=50%. I have a matrix that aligns 1-4 to a A-F scale if you'd like it. Feel free to email me.

The challenge is trying to combine mastery tracking with a traditional percentage-based system of grading, which can give conflicting messages to students, as you're finding. If you use a 1-4 scale where 4=Exceeds Expectations, 3=Meets Expectations, 2=Approaches Expectations, 1=Does not Meet Expectations, then you need to be very clear with students what "grade" each of these mean. We've been attempting to do this at my school in an extended standards-based grading pilot. It can be very confusing to students who are used to a points-based system, but we're finding that once they get used to the language, they become more interested in learning rather than grade grubbing for points. The quest for meaningful and accurate assessment can involve a serious culture shift!

Here is a link to the grading policies of Dr. Crumb, who teaches French here at MICDS:

French 400 grading policies 2016-2017.pdf - Google Drive 

You can see toward the end of the document how he translates standard scores into letter grades. Of course, if you're required to report a traditional percentage score, it is (almost) pointless to attempt what he's doing. I would recommend separating outcome and mastery tracking from their graded point/percentage scores; and track skill based outcomes rather than content. This ensures that you'll have plenty of assessment points throughout the year as you likely assess the same skills over and over, enabling them to see their progress over time in the Learning Mastery Gradebook. I should note, however, that we've found the Learning Mastery Gradebook to be lacking in features to do a true standards-based grading system; at least using the structure and calculation methods we are wanting. We've used JumpRope to track mastery in these courses instead.

Regarding your issue of not being able to track mastery at the course level (vs. admin level), we haven't found that to be true at our school. Are you sure that the rubrics used at the course level are aligned to outcomes? Can you create outcomes at the course level and align them to your own course-level rubrics?

If you'd like to Skype/Hangout or other kind of video chat, let me know. It's fun to talk to other teachers attempting to track mastery!

Community Member

I am also challenged with a similar issue.  This is my current solution.

 First,  I transform the 4-Point into a 100 point scale as follows:  multiply the points by 24 and then add a range of plus/minus 4.  Thus,

A  92-100

A- 84-91

B+  76-83

B  68-76

B-  60-67

C+ 52-59

C  44-51

C- 36-43

D+ 28-35

D 20-27

D-  12-19

F  0-11

This has the advantage that one can directly add  letter grades and numeric grades consistent with a standard 4 point gpa.  With multiple choice exams I grade students based on the % of correct answers above random guessing. For example,  an exam with 100 questions and four answers for each question.  By random guessing we would expect students to get 25 . This is indicates that the student has learned nothing. Now, there are 75 answers they could get correct beyond this.  If we assign 4/3 of a  point for each of these, the maximum score becomes 100 again. This "modified exam score" =    (Raw% - 25%)*4/3.  Then we can apply the grading scale above. Thus a raw score of 70% becomes a modified score of  60% ( =(70%-25%)*4/3 ).  With practice one sets the the time per question asked at a pace such that  a C student would get a raw score of about  61, which transforms into a modified score of  48.   

  I find this approach very useful since there is much clearer distinction between student performance. Whereas the traditional 10-point scale would only distinguish a B performance from a C performance by 10 points, the scale above distinguishes it by 24-points.        For non-multiple choice/numeric grading,  one would translate the letter grade into the numeric range (e.g.  a C  gets 48,   an A- gets and 88,   a D- gets a 16).      There are other ways to get to the above scale. If one wanted a raw score of 60% to be barely passing, you could use   a modified score of   (Raw%-54%)*2.2.   So the raw score grade ranges would D  60-70,  C  71-81,  B 82-91,  A 92-100.... very similar to the traditional 10 point scale.