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Keep Highest Scores ???

Why is there not an option for "Keep Highest Scores" in the assignment group setting?

How does CANVAS/instructure suggest that we accomplish this? Is there a work around?

There are several posts for this feature suggestion on several different threads, but each does not have the vote count for implementation. However, if all the votes from different threads were counted the total would be different. This is a no brainer! Get rid of "drop highest" I cannot think of any instance where this would be used. It shouldn't even be considered a "feature", it should have been there from the start.

There has to be a better way to tally votes for a feature that is absolutely essential to managing the grades for a course

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43 Replies
Community Champion

Before I answer your questions, I want to address the concept of this idea. I can understand from a user standpoint the desire for this feature, however, as a developer and university employee I don't see the problem. If there are 7 items in an assignment group and you want to keep the top 5 scores, then you only have to set Number of score to ignore for each student for "Lowest Scores" to 2.

Having said that, and me being ignorant of the requirements for any level of accreditation, why would you drop any scores? Is it fair that a student that did bad on one assignment got it dropped when another student did well on all of them? The student that did well is unaffected while the student that had trouble gets it excused. Further, there's no consistency in this process. One student drops assignment x while another student drops assignment y.

Now, to address the questions you have asked I've set it up in the form of a Q&A.

Question: Why is there not an option for "Keep Highest Scores" in the assignment group setting?

Answer: The sum number of votes from multiple idea submissions is irrelevant when you consider that key part of resubmitting an idea is encouraging those that previously voted to vote again. Many of the votes are duplicates and thus add no count value. That isn't to say there aren't votes in one submission that aren't in another, but it still makes no difference. The vote count gives the Instructure team a feel for how the community feels about the idea. There is nothing that says "Hey, you got 100 votes, we're going to do this!" Instructure has their own plans for the development of Canvas. While it is heavily influenced by the community, somethings just can't be worked at the time of submission, for one reason or another. That doesn't mean it won't be done, but that it won't be done at that time. A perfect example of this is , which has over 400 votes for it, but the idea was too big to be considered as is for that time. If you'd like to have this idea reconsidered, then please submit it as a new idea, referencing previous submissions. You can learn about the idea and voting process at How do I create a new feature idea?

Question: How does CANVAS/instructure suggest that we accomplish this?

Answer: Instructure has not provided any suggestion on how-to accomplish this as it is not a feature they have provided.

Question: Is there a work around?

Answer: As I noted in my addressing of the actual idea, some simple arithmetic can be used to provide the desired outcome by subtracting the total number of scores desired to be retained from the total number of scores possible for the assignment group. This should then be applied to the "Lowest Scores" option of Number of scores to ignore for each student.

Keeping the highest, as opposed to dropping the lowest, is important for grade calculations throughout the semester, when an instructor is not sure how many quizzes or assignments there will be.  If we use the work-around you suggest, then we cannot calculate grades until after the semester is over, and students aren't displayed their accurate scores throughout the semester.

I keep the best 5 quizzes and assignments; I guarantee students at least 7 in this group.  However, the number of quizzes and assignments varies, depending on many factors, so there are 7 some semesters, 8 or 9 in others, 10 in some.  It works out well if we keep highest, as our previous course management system did, as scores are dropped off as new highest scores come in.  Same with exams -- the best 3 are kept.

At my University, we have 24 hours to turn in final grades to the Registrar from when exams come back, so with 3 classes, that puts a lot of pressure on instructors to get things graded, posted, give students a chance to see scores, and alert instructors to a problem.

Community Champion

I've never tried to test this functionality, but it was stand to reason that Canvas would drop the x lowest regardless of it is from a new assignment or a previously dropped one. Thus, if you add a new assignment that a student scores lower on, it would swap out which would be dropped for that student. If I can manage the time, I'll do some testing of this, but there's no other way this would work that I can logically see a programmer using.

As for not knowing how many activities there will be, that sounds like it should be addressed prior to the course running. It's understandable that there will need to be term-by-term adjustments, but there should be a basic system in place that accommodates the intended standard functionality. If the course is designed with 7 quizzes and "keeping the 5 highest", then it should be configured to drop the 2 lowest. Should the term demand that a quiz be dropped or added, then this should be handled on a term-by-term basis.

I'm not an instructor, but I do understand that those teaching multiple courses could easily feel overwhelmed having to accommodate such adjustments, but they shouldn't be last-minute adjustments to begin with. If you knew an activity had to be added, then you also knew it would adjust the weighting within the category and should've been accounted for then. The same goes for dropping an activity.

Using your example, let's take a quick look at how this could play out:

Keep Highest 5Grades
AssignmentTerm 1 (Drop Lowest 2)Term 2 (Drop Lowest 3)Term 3 (Drop Lowest 4)Term 4 (Drop Lowest 5)
Activity 194949494
Activity 287878787
Activity 372*72*72*72*
Activity 486868686*
Activity 597979797
Activity 67474*74*74*
Activity 772*72*72*72*
Activity 87878*78*
Activity 99898
Activity 1091
Adjusted Total87.688.492.493.4

The grades with the asterisk (*) next to them get dropped for that term and the grade is then calculated normally. I hope this visual comparison better explains how affects the grade calculation. When everything is considered, the terms have a more average result, giving a better picture of how well the learning is going, despite the change in the number of activities. Whereas when you drop activities, there is a curve in the totals that favor the students that were lucky enough to get the larger number of activities.

In essence, the course would, ideally, run the same from one term to the next with an odd modification required that would be term-related rather than content related. This also goes back to my original note regarding the fairness of dropping any scores from a course based upon what would hurt a student more. Is it really best to help a student out that is struggling to meet the course requirements when it doesn't help another student that has successfully met them?

What my "solution" ultimately boils down to is that the idea of adding "Keep Highest Scores" is redundant functionality.

I teach multiple large sections (250-400 students) without the resources to give make-up quizzes and exams.  Attendance-taking is also a non-starter. The drop-score policy in place so that students can have a number of misses without grade penalty. The idea is to give as many assignments and quizzes as possible, while still covering the material that meets the learning outcomes of the class, and so this does vary within a semester. The material needs to get covered, the assessments may vary, deviating from the goal. Things that cause this variance include how much discussion occurs in a class, a campus closure, instructor illness, conferences that come up that require instructor absence, departmental events, and so forth. You personally may believe that an instructor needs to know how many quizzes or assignments there are, and you may also personally believe that it is wrong to drop scores, however, please keep in mind that users of Canvas also have not only personal opinions and beliefs, but also constraints which may not be obvious.  The hope is that Canvas will provide maximum usability.  Students do want to be able to see their grades as the semester proceeds, and it is hoped that the Canvas grade book can accurately reflect this, keeping the highest x scores in a group or category.  Thank you.

Community Champion

 @thomasn ​, I am not trying to say that my opinion is correct or better, or anything of the sort. The question was asked regarding Canvas functionality and I provided background information regarding why my answer for it not being present fit into its not being there.

If you feel that this is a feature that needs to be added, you are more than welcome to submit it to the Share Ideas board. It has been submitted in the past, so if you do pursue it, you could look at the previous submissions to see if there's any changes you would like to see in the idea that may get it approved.

Community Champion

Hi  @thomasn ​,

I agree that students should "be able to see their scores as the semester proceeds". And I believe Christopher's solution of dropping the quizzes you don't want counted still works. The instructor just has to adjust the number of scores to drop by 1 each time they add a new quiz/assignment to the Gradebook.

Problem Solved Smiley Happy the lowest 3, 4, or 5 quizzes get dropped as more quizzes get added in the semester. Just requires a bit more diligence on the instructor throughout the term rather than at the end as a workaround until the keep highest gets implemented.

Cheers - Shar

New Member

Keeping highest grades vs. ignoring lowest is necessary in the following situation:

Students are required to submit three essays in a particular category. After the grade is posted with a mark up of the original submission, the students have two options to improve their score. One is to revise the paper and one is to submit a fourth, fifth, sixth, etc. essay but only the top three grades will count. Without a finite number of submissions the "Drop lowest" option would penalize the student who submits only the minimum requirement.

I'd suggest setting up the fourth, fifth, and sixth submission activities so the student resubmits the first, second, and third or the alternate essays. However, this could result in the same essay being counted twice. As such, I have no simple work-around for the scenario. There is no way to accommodate such a scenario without the instructor manually adjusting for each student.

If you feel this is significant of a scenario, then I highly recommend resubmitting the idea as I mentioned in my reply to  @thomasn . You can use this scenario as leverage of its importance.

Edit: Upon further consideration, there is a work-around that I can suggest for that scenario. If a student resubmits the original essays, the instructor can set the alternate essays as receiving a 0. This would then cause them to be counted as having the lowest scores for the category.

Since this is still more work than simply doing the grading, I thought of a alternate to this. The Canvas gradebook has a feature to Treat Ungraded as 0 in the calculations (How do I treat ungraded assignments as zero in the Gradebook?). I haven't tested whether this would count those ungraded assignments towards the Ignore Lowest Scores​ feature, but when I can I'll take a look.

Community Champion

Since this was a relatively quick test, I went ahead and tossed the scenario into one of my dummy shells on our test instance. The Treat Ungraded as 0 does seem to count ungraded activities when determining the lowest scores. I already had ten activities in a category and added the rule to drop the lowest five.

For the grades, I gave the student: 94, 87, 72, 86, and 97. The other five were left ungraded.

Before I enabled the Treat Ungraded as 0, the category averaged a 97%. This being because the Ignore Lowest Scores feature will not drop all graded activities in a category, so it kept the highest score while dropping the other four.

After enabling it, the five ungraded activities became 0s and the category total changed to 87.2%.

As such, if you can determine how many will be dropped, the Treat Ungraded as 0 will automatically accommodate for ungraded assignments by making them 0s.

I also took a moment to toss in a new assignment on a category with all graded items and provided a grade that forced a previously graded activity to drop. So, Canvas will dynamically determine the activities being dropped by the rules.

cesbrandt​, I am hoping you are enabling the Treat Ungraded as 0 setting in the Gradebook solely for the purposes of this hypothetical exercise, i.e. as a way for the instructor to see the potential impact of the grades. Treat Ungraded as 0 is a view-only setting that only the instructor can see, so enabling that setting does not change students' grades; only by assigning a default grade of 0 in each assignment column can the instructor do that.

Ah, I completely glossed over that. Thank you for catching that! 🙂

I stand corrected, using Treat Ungraded as 0 is NOT an alternative to applying 0s to the unsubmitted assignments, but the original suggestion of manually assigning 0s to those would still work.

New Member

Thanks to all who have suggested "Work-A-rounds" and they may work (I have not had the chance to test them) but, they are "Work-A-rounds". Is there a fundamental reason that the "Keep Highest Scores" option should not be implemented. That is the simplest and cleanest solution. Other LMS's have that as an option.

Beyond the feature essentially being a redundant function, which I admit would be an easier process given some/many (I have poor imagination :S) scenarios, I can think of no reason not to suggest it. I encourage you to resubmit the idea. The benefits of the idea are not lost to me and I'd be happy to vote for it to be implemented. 🙂

It's not redundant.  It does something very different.  

Just as others are suggesting, there is a very distinct difference in the way the students see their grades.   The scenario is: I assign 10 discussions during the semester, and students must respond to 5.   If I set the rule to "Drop lowest 5" (which I have), then students are confused about their grades until all 10 discussions have closed and been graded.  Thus, I have students who have answered 5 already, but where two discussions are still ungraded, asking me why two of their five scores are being dropped.   It confuses them and gives me more work.   The workaround discussed above (to drop one more assignment each time I add a new assignment) only works if I don't post all the assignments at the beginning of the semester.  

While the impact at the very end of the semester when everything is graded is essentially the same, it has very different implications for students trying to figure out what their grade is during the course of the semester (which is the whole point of giving them access to the grade book).   And it creates confusion about what assignments still need to be done for students.  In addition, the lack of this option gives extra work for faculty, either in answering e-mails or doing kludgy workarounds throughout the semester.  

I agree that it should be submitted and voted on, but it is frustrating that you would say this is "redundant" when you've had multiple instructors tell you that it is functionally very different in practice, even if it seem redundant "in theory".

Community Champion

I don't understand how the gradebook calculations would be any different using Keep x Highest Scores than it would be with Drop x Lowest Scores when x reflects the appropriate value.

The gradebook can't factor in a grade for a submitted discussion in either scenario until the teacher grades it.

As for my noting it as a redundant function, that's based upon my understanding of how Canvas functions and the explanations of the scenarios provided. I even concede that there are scenarios where it is easier to make grading work with a Keep x Highest Scores, but I also pointed out that there is a perfectly valid option of simply adding a manual grade of 0 to those activities that will be dropped. The result would be the same with an extra step. I see the desired function as a redundant function because the desired outcome is already possible.

Having said that, just because I believe it is an unneeded function does not mean I can't understand the reasoning and desire for it. If I was in anyway unclear before, I do understand it and endorse it. If it shows up in the ideas block for voting (which may be a while now that the system is to be revamped), I would be happy to vote for it.

Because if you mark it as "zero" then:

1) I have to mark everything as zero, which I already have to do after a due date passes.

2) If I mark everything as zero pre-emptively, I won't be able to see if students submit an assignment, because I will have already graded it.

3) Students will think they already got a zero on the assignment, so they may not submit one.

4) I will have to answer lots of e-mails from confused students.

5) I don't know which assignments will be dropped until the end of the semester, and all the assignment due dates have passed.

6) Students will be confused about their grades, which is completely not the point of giving them access to their grades.

This issue is not for submitted assignments.  The issue is for assignment groups where some assignments haven't been submitted yet.   So if I have 10 discussions assigned and students need to answer 5 (i.e. lowest five grades dropped), and 8 due dates have passed, then a student who has already answered 5 (i.e. has 5 grades and 3 zeros for the discussions already submitted), Canvas will drop the three zero grades, but also 2 of the valid grades.    That student does not need to answer two more, but can, if they want to replace previously lower grades.   So I can't pre-emptively just assign zeros to the two last assignments, and I end up fielding lots of questions about why Canvas is dropping the grades when they thought they already answered 5.  

Basically, it doesn't work for signalling to students what their grade currently is.   If it kept the highest five grades instead, a student who had only answered 3 out of 8 would see that their grade was 3 valid grades + two zero grades.   If it drops the five lowest, their grade shows as an average of just the three they've answered, and it makes them think that their grade is higher than it is.

The final gradebook calculations are no different.   But it provides very different information to students during the semester about how they are doing in the class and how many assignments they still need to complete.   The point of Canvas is not as a gradebook calculator.  I can do that in Excel without having to deal with internet connections, and better.   The point of Canvas is as a communication device with students.   So the functions are NOT the same, and the commentors here are telling you that "Keep X highest" is very different from "Drop X lowest" in practice, and during the semester.   The end of the semester when all assignments have been turned in and graded is when Canvas is no longer useful.  

Community Champion

I apologize if I caused you any sort of trouble, I simply did not understand. I kept seeing what my mind expected rather than properly comprehending what you were explaining. Now I see what you are concerned about. It's not the end result but the progress to it. Rereading your previous post, I now see the references to this that didn't quite "click" for me before, and it certainly gives me a different perspective than I previously saw.

I concede that while the Total grade calculation is redundant the calculation of What-If and Current grades while running the course would be affected.

Thank you for putting up with me and taking the time to thoroughly explain this so that even I could not misunderstand. ^^'

Sadly, though, the issue comes back to having to have the idea resubmitted (which will now have to wait until after the revamp) and approved. Should it be resubmitted, if I may offer a suggestion or two, the explanations of the idea posted in this question thread highlight the full value of the idea. Including them as part of the idea submission should help others to understand its importance. Also, something I've done with idea submissions is to create mock ups. This allows people to see the desired effect, rather than trying to piece it together with the knowledge that they have.

I'm glad the problem is now clear... but I want to make certain you understand that the final grade is also affected (it's not just an as-you-go problem).  My case, I always offer an optional final exam that can be used to replace one exam score, but there is no way to apply a "drop" rule appropriately.... if I say "drop lowest grade" even students who have opted NOT to take the final get a grade dropped (and I"m now dealing with the fallout of that unforeseen problem).  The solution I have used for years was to keep the highest 4 exam scores. In addition, I'm afraid if I add zeros for the optional final grade (an online canvas quiz), it will be marked as "attempted" and students won't be able to take the exam (in addition to the flood of panicked student emails).

Good like trying to get this added. I've tried for over a year. It's ridiculous. I appreciate your efforts, but hold no hope for improved functionality. Probably they can't even write the code!

Please excuse errors. Sent from my phone.

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 @thomasn ‌, if this is functionality you'd like to see added to Canvas, you might want to rally your friends and colleagues around . At this writing, it has only received 10 upvotes from the Community.

And this is exactly what is ridiculous about how Canvas works.

It had 78 votes 2 years ago, it's obviously important, other systems have it, but no; it's argued about m, people have to politic -- what a waste of time and energy for so many!

Please excuse errors. Sent from my phone.

 @thomasn ‌, at the time the idea received 78 votes, 100 votes was the minimum threshold for moving an idea forward--so the Community did not prioritize it then. As times change, priorities do as well, and under the new ideation system (,  perhaps you will be able to muster more support for it this time around.


Hear, Hear! I've responded to this issue four times now!  Read all the comments. I still do not understand Infrastructure's reluctance in implementing this.


Yes, i am yelling. I've struggled with this for more than a year. ANGEL had a "Keep Highest "n" Scores" option. This cannot be that hard to code.

See my posts above, dated Sep 16, 2016, Dec. 1, 2016 and Dec. 2, 2016:

"Keeping highest grades vs. ignoring lowest is necessary in the following situation:"

Currently. with "Drop Lowest" as the only option, (I don't understand when the "Drop Highest" option would ever be used) I have to manually enter zeros in all assignments that students have no submissions for. In a class of 50 or more with more than a dozen possible submissions per student and needing to count only the top 3 scores, a total waste of time.

I was instrumental on our LMS Committee for choosing CANVAS when ANGEL dropped out of the picture. I am beginning to regret that decision over this implementation issue. Yes, in making the choice, we "kicked the tires, and drove it around the block" but did not have the chance to take it on a full term trip. Our choice was made under the assumption that Infrastructure was responsive to user's needs. The foot dragging in this case is very frustrating.

Even as a Feature Suggestion, if it received 78 votes, did any one at Infrastructure look at other threads on the same issue, there are at least three that I have seen. (See Related Content below)


Thank you! ?Ridiculous!!

and I am getting condescending replies asking me to go out and get votes? Really? That's not my job.

My job is to teach, and Canvas is a fail with functionality.

Total waste of time.

Thanks very much for the support.

Hope you posted this to the thread.

Spread the love,


Lisa Thomassen, Ph.D.

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Indiana University

1101 East Tenth Street

Bloomington, Indiana 47405-7007

Community Champion

 @gdefalussy ‌ and  @thomasn ‌

I've previously mentioned, once I understood the reasoning for this, that I recognize the use of this functionality, but I also recognize the nature of the Canvas LMS. As it is, determining that this is an functionality issue (bug) is something relative to perspective. While I recognize and agree with the reasoning for wanting this, I can not see this as anything more than a desired feature. It is troublesome for you, sure, but there are hundreds of ideas that are posted that are troublesome for others to not have. Many of them are based off functionality users had in other LMS'. That Canvas lacks such functionality does not warranty it as being a bug.

The community can't provide a solution to this due to the level of integration to the Canvas backend required to make the functionality work. In the end, the situation is straight-forward in that there are only two options:

  1. Resubmit the feature as an idea and encourage others to vote for it.
    • As stefaniesanders‌ has noted, there is a current idea open for voting, which I added my vote for today.
  2. If you truly feel this should be considered a bug, then you need to submit a ticket to Instructure.
Community Champion

 @thomasn ‌ and  @gdefalussy ‌ - I will come to cesbrandt‌'s defense here (and no, neither of us work for Instructure/Canvas) and speak as one who works closely with Canvas himself on the administrative end and, like Lisa, was part of a committee decision to drop Blackboard (in our case) and go with Canvas.  I understand the frustration with the voting process--having been on the losing end of a few feature ideas myself in the past--but every LMS is going to have its positives and negatives. I still get complaints from faculty who miss Blackboard's old "External Links" menu item. Faculty who come from D2L/Brightspace institutions bemoan the lack of more sophisticated grade calculations that is possible in that LMS. (I swear the D2L gradebook could solve Fermat's Last Theorem if given the data.)   What seems "easy to program" to us usually is not--at least not without the potential of breaking several other features that rely on it.  But overall, most still appreciate Canvas for the relative ease of use for faculty member and student alike. The perfect LMS that makes everyone happy (including its administrators) has yet to exist. 

 @thomasn , would you be so kind as to provide the link to the singular feature idea that received 78 votes? Perhaps I've missed it, but I've checked the ones linked in this discussion, and the highest vote total I see for any single submission is 51. We don't combine votes for ideas that moved forward in different voting periods because of the high likelihood of double counting.

Also, I hope you and  @gdefalussy ‌ will keep in mind that the community voting process is only one of several ways Instructure's product team prioritizes a proposed feature. We also evaluate feedback from our Customer Success Managers and other sources. So if this is a feature that is of considerable interest to you, I hope you or your school's Canvas admin will make that known to your CSM. Please refer to

Christopher and Stephanie,

Thank you for your prompt reply. I will pursue with our Canvas admin to make this known to your CSM. (I do believe that he has done that). However, I have to agree with Lisa that this involves a heck of a lot of invested time. (I don't know how POTUS Trump has time for this kind of thing).

I don't think this is a "Feature" at all, this relates directly to the usability of the product. A feature to put up for votes would be to change the symbol in bullet point list from dots to octagons, (Our School's logo). If I have to go through extra steps for what could be a simple grade calculation, then i might as well set up a simple Excel spreadsheet for that. Having to use an external calculation is clumsier than telling students that their grade standing will be displayed only at the end of the term. The beauty of using an LMS is that I can grade student submissions anywhere in the world and students can have my feedback immediately and see how it affects their overall grade. If I cannot set the correct rules for grading calculation of assignment categories them that process is useless.

I can't classify this issue as a "Bug" because it is not something that is an error in programing, but an ignorance toward end user's needs. Can anyone explain when the Drop Highest Score function would be used?

I truly appreciate you letting me bend your ear(eyes in this case), i hope that it is clear what the problem is, and that a fix is desperately needed.

It's likely just my lack of imagination, as previously mentioned, but the only scenario I could think of would be the same one you provided. The instructor allows the submission of as many assignments as the students submits, but only the x highest grades are kept.

Our campus administrators tout one of the great "features" of Canvas is how responsive to feedback they are.  However, for all of the issues I've posted, responses have been more along the lines of "no, you are wrong to want that...", or "I don't see the importance of this...".  I do think folks are trying to be helpful, but there is something incredibly condescending about telling someone who has been using LMSs for years (indeed, designing whole courses around key functionality) that their way is flawed, and they should adapt.  I agree that this is not a "feature request", this is key functionality. I feel like a beta tester whose feedback is utterly disregarded.  

First, and foremost, I want to apologize, but this thread is getting off topic with the various subtopics that have sprouted and taken clear hold over the topic. The actual subject of the thread has been addressed and the answer has not changed since it was first asked. If you wish to discuss the various other topics raised, it may prove more beneficial to create dedicated threads to the subjects to attract attention to them.

While the community is a useful place to seek support, and there are many Instructure employees involved with the community, but it is not the primary form of contact with Instructure. I agree that Canvas lacks a great deal of functionality that I believe should be present, but that doesn't change that wanting it to be added is a feature/functionality request. These can only be processed three ways:

  1. Direct submission to Instructure via your CMS
  2. Direct submission to Instructure via a support ticket, should be believe the lack of functionality is a bug
  3. Indirect submission to Instructure via the voting system

With regards to the feedback from the community, you should expect such what you post to the community. Not everyone understands your reasoning or shares your perspective. It isn't even that we are trying to be condescending or insulting, at least not most of us. I certainly wasn't, I just didn't understand the idea or the reasoning behind it. If you don't wish you accept the feedback of the public community, the good and bad, then you should go through one of the two direct submission methods I mentioned above, though you're unlikely to make much progress that way.

Finally, no one, that I've seen, has accused your ways as being flawed. We have provided our opinions regarding the idea. Many of us have been working for LMS' for years,  you're not the only one, and many of us have developed our own methods over the years. Your way is no more right or wrong than any of ours, it's simply different. That Canvas does not fit with your way doesn't make it a flawed LMS, though I agree that it is highly flawed. This missing functionality is by design, whether intentional or unintentional, making the change in functionality a feature request.

Ironically, this makes my point exactly.  A very polite post stating that my post was misguided.

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Hello Stephanie,

Thank you for this! I did not know there was, perhaps, another path. I have emailed my Canvas Admin to ask if they will provide our CSM's contact information, or at least forward the request for a 

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Hello Christopher,

I have posted the bulk of this (below) elsewhere, but here is my 2 cents on this. My hope is that it adds support to the discussion about why "Keeping Highest" in an Assignment Group, as opposed to "Ignore Lowest", is not at all redundant.

Here is my situation: I allow students to drop their lowest score from several of my assignment groups (1/14 lowest quiz score, 2/5 lowest critical thinking tasks, 1/5 lowest exam score, 1/3 video quiz scores). So, if students do well on the X number required assignments in each group they can, potentially, skip the remaining one(s) in that group. Alternatively, students can choose do all of the assignments in each group and then keep their highest X required scores in each group. I find that this not only encourages students be focused early in the semester (do well 'up-front' may = less work later), but also offers flexibility in terms of their balancing school and 'life' responsibilities. Students are allowed to miss one assignment deadline from each assignment group for any reason (sick, car trouble, have to attend a wedding, internet went down, dog ate my homework) and use that as the assignment that gets dropped from that group. It also eliminates the need for creating make-up assignments. Unfortunately, this also wreaks havoc with students' (and sometimes my) ability to understand their current course grade across the semester.

Presently, in my case, as students' grades are posted across the semester, the system automatically "drops" their lowest X scores for each group (based on rules set for each assignment group) ans 'grays out' those scores in the students' Gradebook. A case in point... I have a student who has already completed the required 3/5 critical thinking tasks this semester (90/90, 85/90, 90/90). However, two of these are grayed out in her Gradebook because the lowest 2/5 of these are 'ignored' – so only 1/5 is counted toward her course grade. This Gradebook issue does not resolve itself until the deadlines for ALL of the assignments in that Assignment Group have passed (near the end of the semester) – even though she is likely to skip the two remaining assignments in that group, and use those two zeros as her “dropped' scores. I realize, of course, that I could just set the Assignment Group rules at the end of the semester. But, as others have alluded to, students will think they are fine - until suddenly points (lowest scores) disappear from their Gradebook at the end of the semester.

A solution presented to me by Canvas tech at my college was to 'Set Default Grade' to zero for all assignments. This would effectively resolve this issue in the mathematical sense. However, to do so now (after the start of the semester) would 1) change all 'submitted but still ungraded' assignments to zero, and 2) likely freak most students out.

Ideally, there would be some way that the 'not yet due' scores were grayed out until the submission deadlines pass in each group. Would an IF-THEN kind of thing, integrated into Assignment Group rule option, work? Something like...
IF "assignment is not locked" (in an Assignment Group) THEN "treat ungraded as zero"?
This way (I think), all assignments would start out as zero (and grayed out) in the Gradebook and, early in the semester, the X number of “to be ignored” scores would (of course) be the scores grayed out in the Gradebook. However, as the semester progresses, and students’ assignments are graded, higher (non-zero) scores replace them and are included in course grade totals - while the “to be ignored” scores (I think) have no influence on overall course grades until their respective deadlines pass? Refering to the example case from above, that student's 3/5 scores would be counted in her total and the two up-coming (likely to be dropped) assignments have no influence. In that same example, if that student decided to complete a 4th critical thinking task, and that 4th score was higher than one of the three previous scores in that group, the 4th (higher) score would replace the lowest of the first three in that group. Sadly, of course, this would not a perfect solution either - since students may interpret 'grayed out' as = 'not open to submit' or 'dealine has passed'.

Right now, I am just preventing totals from displaying to students in the Gradebook, which is problematic - as is the 'dropping' (graying out) of scores that will ultimately be kept/counted at the end of the semester.

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Bingo!  'Keep Highest' is needed since 'Drop lowest' as only option is NOT equivalent during 'real time' (changing calculations based on deadlines).  So a student who completes one assignment in best 3 of 4 will have that one immediately dropped from their current grade.  This shows them that their work is not important.  The alternative, setting all grades to default to zero, shows students that they are failing form the start. 

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Hello Michael,

This Feature Idea was resubmitted recently and is Open for Voting at Joe Fahs and I have been working tp put the word out on this feature - so this it gets enough votes this time around. If you would like to see a 'keep highest score' assignment rule option become available, we would appreciate your vote Smiley Happy 

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Unfortunately we can't immediately resubmit a "Grading Rule to Keep Highest Scores" idea immediately due to Changes Coming to Canvas Community Feature Ideas process.  When submitting ideas is possible again, I want to help with this. (I also have found a possible bug with the way "drop lowest" works which I will report soon.)

For now, those interested in improving grading rules may want to consider voting on:

Hello Rob,

This Feature Idea was resubmitted recently and is Open for Voting at I voted on the IF/THEN Logic on Drop Lowest Scores, but a 'Keep Highest Scores' option seems a bit more intuitive and straight forward to me. I look forward to your report about the possible 'bug' with how 'drop lowest' works. Is this in addition to the Gradebook issues associated with an inability to view an accurate assessment of student performance (via the Gradebook total) during the semester when using the 'ignore lowest' rule? 

 @kimberly_smith1 ‌, thanks for all you are doing to create and promote the idea. My inquiry in 2016 resulted in a determination that there was not a bug -- "drop lowest" grading rules are and were working as designed, consulting only already-entered grades. Regarding:

Is this in addition to the Gradebook issues associated with an inability to view an accurate assessment of student performance (via the Gradebook total) during the semester when using the 'ignore lowest' rule? 

That essentially was our issue, along with confusion about which scores display the "grayed out" formatting mid-semester.  I agree with the consensus here that a "Keep Highest" rule would fit better with how Canvas tries to display a sensible overall total before all scores for a course's assignments are entered.