When is a Canvas Grade NOT the students academic result and is there a need for the difference to be clearer in the LMS ?

Community Coach
Community Coach

I work in a UK HE institution that has been using Canvas for almost six years, and where the institutional policy is that Canvas is the official submission  or 'capture' route for both student assignments and grades and feedback which are then reprocessed to the Student Information System.

  • I am posting to share my own views on this (which may not be those of my institution) and seek opinion from other HEI users as to whether the naming of 'Course Grade' is felt to be an issue
  • In our case considerations around this have led us to put on hold the release of the Student View of 'New Analytics' dashboard.

We have two potential issues here in this New Analytics example of 'Course Grades'

From https://community.canvaslms.com/t5/Student-Guide/How-do-I-view-New-Analytics-in-a-course-as-a-student/ta-p/450From https://community.canvaslms.com/t5/Student-Guide/How-do-I-view-New-Analytics-in-a-course-as-a-student/ta-p/450

1. What Canvas refers to as a 'Course' is, in our institution, the overall award (in our institution a Canvas Course reflects a unit of delivery we call a Module), so the student who sees the nomenclature 'Course Grade' may misconstrue this to represent their cumulative Grade, GPA or overall award classification.

2. The second issue that the Grade shown in Canvas New Analytics reflects a calculation from within the Canvas Course, and does not fully reflect regulatory context ie the grade that the student will be awarded after the application of penalties, moderation and boards, and may not reflect the way that  an individual assignment score is calculated

To illuminate point two further, which is to explain why the Canvas grade is not the result that our institution reports to the Student Information System (and which may confuse the student when presented in Canvas):

  1. The student may have incurred a sliding scale penalty for late submission, which we calculate outside of Canvas
  2. The student may be submitting a capped reassessment, where the penalty cap will be applied outside of Canvas and may limit the work to a passing grade (some reassessment students may be resubmitting without penalty)
  3. An assessment may be a zero credit "read and sign" type activity which we may need to set as a 'complete/incomplete' grade - however this seems to require a points value and would then modulate the grade and be included in the Canvas Course Grade
  4. An assessment may be a zero credit pass/fail element which must be passed (sometimes for an external body 'fitness to practice' check) at a level above the passing grade for the unit or delivery or award (eg 40% for the academic award, 75% for the fitness to practice assessment) - again seems to require a points value
  5. Whilst Canvas checkbox 'do not count this assignment for grading' may offer a partial solution path, this requires that we are able to guarantee that all colleagues use this correctly
  • It would be useful to hear other examples of where there are differences between the current Canvas Grade presented and the final Grade that will appear in institutional systems and the student transcript.

In a perfect world Canvas Grades would be a universally applicable rational technical model that fitted all regulatory institutions and grading systems/names, and the Canvas Grade would plug straight into the official result, SIS, and degree classification - but the diversity of institutional approaches and regulations, and breadth of ways in which assignments are used,  is likely to mitigate against that for all but the smallest and simplest organisations.

Might it be beneficial to draw a clearer distinction between the technical calculation that appears against individual Canvas assignments (and that is aggregated for individual Canvas Courses), and the regulatory calculation that is transferred into the Student Information System as part of the students Grade or GPA ?

  • What, for your institution, is the name of the official unit of calculation that work is marked against ?
  • Which are the most important places in the LMS for any distinction to be clear to students between 'unofficial' Canvas Grade and Institutional result, ?
  • Would an approach which added words to the effect of * This may not be your official grade or similar allow students to understand more clearly that the number presented as Canvas Grade is a local provisional score rather than an official, formal institutional result?

Thanks for your views ...