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Community Participant

Canvas Gradebook - Assignments equally and/or proportionally weighted?

I'm curious how many of you (or your colleagues) would like to see a feature added to the Canvas Gradebook that would allow you to easily weight assignments equally (or proportionally) regardless of the number of points.  Personally, this would make my life easier.  Also, I've found 4 different Feature Ideas recently which are essentially asking for this although each idea is coming from a slightly different point of view.  Unfortunately, the Feature Ideas that have come up for voting in the past have all fallen short of the 100 votes required to move the feature along in the development process.

Perhaps you have a homework group in your gradebook and you'd like all of those assignments to be weighed equally in your gradebook even though each assignment can have different point values... does that sound like something you'd like? 

Maybe within that homework group, you want to reward students who did well on a really tough assignment by weighing it twice as much as one of the other assignments even though it may have had the same or fewer points when you graded it... is that a feature you would use?

Maybe if/when you give exams, you'd like to simple let the test be out of how many points the test is out of instead of playing with the points so they work out nicely (50 points, 100 points, etc).  You could have a test that was out of 45 weighed the same as a test that was out of 62 weighed the same as a test that was out of 51... or have your final exam weighed more heavily even though it only had 61 points when you graded it.

Right now, everybody I know that wants to weigh assignments equally or proportionally within their gradebook has to play with the numbers, perform various calculations outside of Canvas (likely on a spreadsheet students don't have access to), and then plug in the new calculated values into Canvas.  The numbers lose a bit of meaning to the students this way and it's burdensome for the instructors.

Anyhow, I'm just trying to find out how many people would benefit from this feature or something like it so that I can rally the troops, so to speak, to make sure we get enough votes in the future.  Every other online gradebook I have used in the past has had this feature and I'd really like to see it developed in Canvas.



16 Replies
Community Team
Community Team

 @sean_flaherty ​, this feature or something like it would appeal to me. Currently I use a weighted gradebook. I manipulate the points so that every assessment (discussion, quiz, assignment) is worth 100 points, and I then place those assignments that need to be more heavily weighted (such as long-form essays and consequential exams) in their own assignment groups so that I can assign appropriate weightings to them.

Since I like the percentage method so much, what I'd really like is to be able to weight the assignments within the weighted assignments by applying weightings to them--sub-weightings, as it were. So, if I have an assignment group called Quizzes worth 20% with three quizzes in it, but I want each successive quiz to contribute a greater amount to the group weight and hence the overall course grade, I'd like to be able to assign the three quizzes in the group weights of 20%, 30%, and 50% (of the Quizzes group) respectively, without having to place each one in its own assignment group.

Does this sound like the kind of feature idea you might be willing to put forth?

Community Participant

stefaniesanders​, I believe having the option to separately define values for how many points the percentage is calculated from (an "out of" value) and how many points you want the assignment to be valued at when calculating the student's grade (a "worth" value) would meet your needs.  This was an idea proposed in the last voting cycle but it just didn't gain enough of a following to make it happen.

In your "Quizzes" group, you're already able to set the weight at 20%.  If you wanted to have three quizzes in that group and wanted their weights to be 20%, 30% and 50% within that grouping, you could enter each of those grades "out of" any number of points - it really wouldn't matter.  You would then enter their "worth" values as 20, 30, and 50, respectively.  As long as those three numbers add up to 100, you'd be all set.  It would also be simple to alter those relative weights within the category if you felt it was necessary.  You'd simply change those "worth" values to the new amounts you want (again, they should add up to 100) and you'd be done.  You wouldn't have to do any recalculating on your own.

Given the current functionality, you probably need to play with the total amount of points of each item.  Quiz 1 might be listed as 100 points.  For Quiz 2 to have the weight that you want, you'd set that to be 150 points.  Quiz 3 would then need to be set at 250 points.  To come up with the scores that you'd enter in the gradebook, you would have to calculate the percentage the student earned on that particular assignment then multiply that percentage by 100... 150... or 250 depending on which quiz it was for.  This would also accomplish what you're looking for with relative weighting within an assignment group but it I feel that it isn't especially user friendly.  And, if you wanted to tweak the relative percentages for some reason, you'd have to change the values back into percentages before recalculating new numbers. 

Yes,  @sean_flaherty ​, I generally concur. However, for me, the points do matter. One reason I don't like the "out of" approach is that, given the current functionality, I can't express quiz scores as a percentage, and that's why I manipulate the point values of all of my quiz questions so that every quiz is worth 100 points; that way, the score mimics a percentage in the eyes of the student. And for that reason, I'd rather have the ability to weight quizzes and other assessments by percentage within assignment groups.

But why can't we have both? Smiley Happy (Perhaps someone will explain.)

Community Participant

I understand, stefaniesanders​.  The feature idea in my head is evolving as a result of this dialogue, thank you.

When an instructor enters an assignment's details in the Canvas gradebook, I think the "out of" and "worth" approach is very user friendly and clear.  It allows a ton of flexibility for instructors who want to be very clear in the relative weights of assignments within that group.  However, from a student's perspective, when they see they earned a 25 out of 31, that number doesn't have the same intuitive meaning as 80.65% would.  This is why you favor having everything out of 100 points, right?  This way the number the student sees is the same as the percentage on the assignment.

If we could pair the "out of" & "worth" functionality AND the ability to display grades as percentages, this would address both issues.  The instructor would not have to manipulate point values, could clearly define relative weighting for each assignment, AND students would be able to see how they did on each assignment in a way that they are more likely to understand.

Would this work?  I want to make sure I have as complete an understanding as possible before I write up a feature idea (or try to join up with an existing one) so I can be clear in what I am asking for and others are clear about how beneficial it would be for them (so hopefully they'll upvote it).

I look forward to continuing this dialogue, Stephanie and, at the same time, I encourage others to join in and make this a wider discussion.

 @sean_flaherty ​, I truly hope this very useful conversation garners more participation that will help you shape your feature idea. Practically speaking, I think multiple feature ideas (perhaps implemented simultaneously!) would be required. The ability to " modifiedtitle="true" title="Show quiz as percent score in Gradebook has been suggested numerous times in the Canvas Feature Ideas​ space, and the aforementioned one is still open for voting at this writing. If that feature idea were implemented, then the rest of your idea would work for me.

Also, since your question has taken on a more open-ended form, I've changed its format to a discussion.

Community Participant

Thanks for providing the link to the feature idea that is already open for voting - I just upvoted.  If we're already able to display grades on other items as percentages, I would think the ability to display quiz grades similarly would not be all that difficult to implement.  Just need to get those votes now....

Community Participant

Thanks, Stephanie.

I had been thinking about doing the same thing but wasn't sure how.

Community Champion

To change a question to a discussion, simply press 'edit' and uncheck the box marked for question. Smiley Happy