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raisa_alvarado
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How to Assign Individual, Points for an Assignment?

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Hello,

I can't figure out how to assign individual points for a discussion board. Students have the option of completing five discussions throughout the academic semester but have ten options; each answer/response is worth ten points. How can I assign the points for the question/answer they choose to fill out without making every single discussion worth ten points?

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kblack
Community Champion

Hi  @raisa_alvarado  Welcometo the Canvas Community.  There is a way to do this with a bit of an explanation--both to you now and to your students.

First, create an Assignment Group called Discussions (or whatever) on your Assignments page as outlined here: How do I add an assignment group in a course?  As you create graded Discussions, in addition to being created on the Discussions page they will also be added automatically to the Assignments page since they are graded.  I know you said not to make each discussion worth 10 points, but that in fact is exactly what you are going to do in this case, as explained below.  Ten discussions; each worth 10 points. 

On the assignments page, edit that Assignment group that you just created by clicking the options icon at the far right (as illustrated under the Manage Assignment Group heading on that previous link) and create an assignment group rule to drop the 5 lowest scores, as covered here: How do I create rules for an assignment group?  

You can probably figure out how this is going to work.  For the five discussions your students choose not to participate in, assign a grade of 0 and, by the end of the term, those five 0s will be dropped from Canvas' calculation of that grade.  You may well be asking what's to keep a student from participating in all 10 discussions "just in case" to get the highest grade possible.  I suppose that's up to you, but there's technically no way around this.   I suggest you take advantage of the Test Student line in your gradebook to get an idea of how this will work, but Canvas will indeed automatically drop the 5 lowest scores. It's good that all are worth 10 points, because otherwise Canvas may not define "lowest" in quite the same way that you do, as explained in the blue area on top of that page.

On the student's end, you will have to explain that this starts immediately.  So, for example, if a student participates in the first two discussions and you give a grade of 10/10 and 8/10, Canvas will drop the 8/10 because it automatically detects the 8 as lower than the 10.  It will not be until 7 or so discussions have been graded, basically, that students will start seeing the bigger picture of exactly which 5 discussions will be dropped.  A student who participates in 4 of the first 5 discussions and gets scores of 10, 10, 10, 10, and 0 will also only be earning 10 points total so far (albeit 100% for that Discussions assignment group), because Canvas will still drop the other 10s scored until there are more scores in place so that it can figure out which to drop.  (This is what you have to explain it to your students!  Again, use the Test Student line in the gradebook to get an idea for this; the Test Student line is generated automatically once you go into Student View yourself.)  

I'm not too sure there is any way to prevent students from trying to reply in all 10 discussions, but the only other work-around to this issue would be to have all ten discussions worth 0 points or to not have them set as graded discussions at all.  You can then create one final assignment as a "no submission"-type of assignment that you call (for example) Total Grade for Discussion Replies worth however many points you want it to be, and assign a grade based on their 5 discussion replies.  This is, I believe, not as transparent for the students, since you would be waiting until the very end of the term to assign this grade.  But that's the other work-around that I can think of.

I hope this helps a bit, Raisa.

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kblack
Community Champion

Hi  @raisa_alvarado  Welcometo the Canvas Community.  There is a way to do this with a bit of an explanation--both to you now and to your students.

First, create an Assignment Group called Discussions (or whatever) on your Assignments page as outlined here: How do I add an assignment group in a course?  As you create graded Discussions, in addition to being created on the Discussions page they will also be added automatically to the Assignments page since they are graded.  I know you said not to make each discussion worth 10 points, but that in fact is exactly what you are going to do in this case, as explained below.  Ten discussions; each worth 10 points. 

On the assignments page, edit that Assignment group that you just created by clicking the options icon at the far right (as illustrated under the Manage Assignment Group heading on that previous link) and create an assignment group rule to drop the 5 lowest scores, as covered here: How do I create rules for an assignment group?  

You can probably figure out how this is going to work.  For the five discussions your students choose not to participate in, assign a grade of 0 and, by the end of the term, those five 0s will be dropped from Canvas' calculation of that grade.  You may well be asking what's to keep a student from participating in all 10 discussions "just in case" to get the highest grade possible.  I suppose that's up to you, but there's technically no way around this.   I suggest you take advantage of the Test Student line in your gradebook to get an idea of how this will work, but Canvas will indeed automatically drop the 5 lowest scores. It's good that all are worth 10 points, because otherwise Canvas may not define "lowest" in quite the same way that you do, as explained in the blue area on top of that page.

On the student's end, you will have to explain that this starts immediately.  So, for example, if a student participates in the first two discussions and you give a grade of 10/10 and 8/10, Canvas will drop the 8/10 because it automatically detects the 8 as lower than the 10.  It will not be until 7 or so discussions have been graded, basically, that students will start seeing the bigger picture of exactly which 5 discussions will be dropped.  A student who participates in 4 of the first 5 discussions and gets scores of 10, 10, 10, 10, and 0 will also only be earning 10 points total so far (albeit 100% for that Discussions assignment group), because Canvas will still drop the other 10s scored until there are more scores in place so that it can figure out which to drop.  (This is what you have to explain it to your students!  Again, use the Test Student line in the gradebook to get an idea for this; the Test Student line is generated automatically once you go into Student View yourself.)  

I'm not too sure there is any way to prevent students from trying to reply in all 10 discussions, but the only other work-around to this issue would be to have all ten discussions worth 0 points or to not have them set as graded discussions at all.  You can then create one final assignment as a "no submission"-type of assignment that you call (for example) Total Grade for Discussion Replies worth however many points you want it to be, and assign a grade based on their 5 discussion replies.  This is, I believe, not as transparent for the students, since you would be waiting until the very end of the term to assign this grade.  But that's the other work-around that I can think of.

I hope this helps a bit, Raisa.