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Unsubmitted assignments getting zeroes added incorrectly in Canvas

Unsubmitted assignments are being assigned a zero in our Canvas gradebook, lowering some students’ current grades to an incorrect percentage. However, this is only happening for some students on certain assignments. Also, I don’t believe it is happening in all our currently-active courses.

The assignments that are getting zeroes:

  1. Have not yet submitted by the students
  2. Are not yet past their due date

We have assignments set to automatically get a zero if they are past their due date, but since these assignments are due on future dates, I don’t think that could be the problem here.

Does anyone know what might be happening here, and how to resolve the issue?

It is a serious problem for us because students and faculty are asking why the grades are incorrect. The only way we know how to fix is to manually delete all the zeroes, which is too time-consuming. Also, after we did that, they were added again.

We also filed a ticket directly to Canvas with more specific details, but sometimes in the past we have gotten quicker responses from this forum, so I wanted to ask here also.

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Hello @EvanDonovan 

Thanks for posting this in the global Canvas Community! 

I am sorry that you are seeing an issue with students scores in the gradebook. 

You should be able to look at the gradebook history to see more details on When and Who entered the grade. If the grader is listed as Not Available, it would indicate that it was done by something like the Late or Missing policy in the gradebook. Your examples might be different, but I have seen this happen if I forgot to update the due date on the assignment or quiz that was copied from another course. Once published, a 0 was entered because it still contained the old due date from the previous course. 

Let us know what you find out on this! 


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Hello @ColtonSwapp ,

Thanks for the suggestion. I had forgotten about the Gradebook History view, since I am our Canvas Admin, not an instructor, so I haven't had to use that myself before.

I looked at the Gradebook History for one of the students that was affected by this problem, and I didn't see any grading events listed for the assignments that have zeroes but have due dates in the future.

It's also worth stating that these were assignments, rather than automatically graded quizzes, in case that makes a difference.

Also, this course was not copied from an earlier instance of the course, since this is the first time we offered it in Canvas.

Do you or anyone else have other suggestions?

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Here is what I suspect is going on:

First, the instructor has set the Grading Policy to give Missing Assignments 0 points. Then, when creating the Assignment, the instructor has set different dates for the Due Date and the Available Until Date.

Let's say that the "Due Date" is Thursday at 11:59 pm, but the "Available Until Date" is Saturday 11:59 pm. Once Thursday midnight passes, then all of the Assignments will automatically be given 0 points.  Although students can still submit Assignments on Friday and Saturday, the grade of 0 stays until the instructor changes this.

I always give my students a "grace period," and I always have to go back and change the 0's. 

(I know that you wrote that the Due Dates hadn't passed yet, but I would check to see how the instructor has actually set up the dates.)

Hi @SusanNiemeyer , thanks for the suggestion. I looked at 3 assignments that incorrectly had 0's within the course in question, and all of them have Due dates that were in the future. They are all Available Until Dec. 18, 2022 11:59pm CT, but they all have due dates that are later than today's date.

However, some (but not all) of the students still have 0's on these assignments.

Here are some things I compared to see if there were patterns, but there were not:

  • I checked the assignment types and some are Discussions and some are Assignments.
  • I checked the Gradebook History again and the assignments/discussions with 0's don't show at all in the Gradebook History.
  • Some of the assignments that have 0's incorrectly have the Unicheck plagiarism framework enabled, and some do not.
  • Some of the students are in one course section and some are in a different section.

Does anyone have any other suggestions?

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I discovered something else about the two courses in our current term that are having this issue of incorrect auto-zeroes.

In their Import Content history, they show that they had the "CVU Template" master course template imported into them twice. I think this is because they have been offered twice since we adopted Canvas in Jan. 2022.

The assignments that are getting auto-zeroes incorrectly are assignments were originally part of the master template, and then were edited to have the assignment instructions and other settings for this course. From all that I can tell, the due dates, available from, and available until dates were also updated, but maybe the old ones are still in the system somewhere.

When I go to the Assignments tab, and then do a Batch Edit on assignment dates, they all look correct.

However, as stated previously, this is only happening for some of the students.

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Could it potentially be that these students for whom it is getting set are ones who were participants in a course in the timeframe when the CVU Template was originally copied over into the course, and the others were not?

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@EvanDonovan I see several people have chimed in here but thought I would add to this last comment.  Is it possible the first iteration of the template DID include earlier due dates?  So essentially, those students were "late" and scored the zero.  Then the new template was copied in which will overwrite content that is the same (so the assignments would get overwritten) and on the new template the dates were further out so newer students were not late.  Canvas is not going to remove the zeros it already applied if the date changes.

Regardless, I think you are on to something with it being students before the second import.


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@nwilson7 , I looked into it further, and there are a number of students in the course that do not have 0's on assignments that are not yet due, but who were in the earlier term when the course template was originally copied over. So that doesn't seem to be making the difference.

Can anyone think of anything else that could be causing the problem?

The only positive element I've discovered so far is that it appears that if you unset the 0's, they don't come back.

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New Member

Hi all:

I just started having this problem around the end of October.  The problem is exactly as described earlier.  Perhaps this is a Canvas platform issue?  A release bug of sorts?  I am in California.  I speculate the problem began during 3rd week of October.

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New Member

I am also having this issue.  I found this in the idea conversation, which appears to be the cause of the issue for us.  

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