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A better way to give individual grades in Group Assignments

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A better way to give individual grades in Group Assignments

USE CASE: I do a lot of small “group” exercises in the classroom.  I need the ability to grade the submissions as a group (which is there), but I also need the ability to provide individual grades (to students who were absent, etc.)  That functionality is also kind of there.  But as it stands now, I have to grade, then edit the Assignment to allow for individual grades. 

If I try to override a single student's grade in the Gradebook, it assigns that grade to everyone on the team.  There's no way that I have found to give an individual score to a student without editing the Assignment.

But then the Assignment has to stay that way for the rest of the semester.  The problem is that when I copy one course into another, I have to go into each individual assignment and make sure the Individual Grade option is turned off.

Also: when I separate it out into individual scores I THINK it removes the non-submitting team members’ ability to view the submission.  (I haven't found a way to really test this other than having a student show me their interface.  I cannot add "Test Student" into a Group.)

IDEA: It would be great if the SpeedGrader or Gradebook interface could allow me to enter a default grade for the team, but then show a list of team members who I can assign an individual grade to while in SpeedGrader.  That way the assignment stays the same (no editing) but I can assign different grades to individuals (overriding their team grade) in real time.  Or something like that.

11 Comments
Community Member

I'd like to second in particular the second part of the suggestions that allows the instructor to see who are the members of the group even if they are  giving only one grade to the group as a whole.

Community Member

To me this is basic, required functionality of an LMS. I was very hopeful with the new grade book that just came out that this feature would be included. Unfortunately it is not.

In classes of 100+ students, group scoring is a life-saver for an instructor's time. But in those same classes of 100+ students, there is almost always at least one group with a non-participating student that needs to receive a lower score than the rest of the group.

It seems similar code already exists in the grade book, where a default grade can be entered automatically for every student, with the option of overwriting existing scores. Please re-purpose and edit this code to allow us to override group scores.

Thanks!

P.S. The best work-around I can think of, for those that must have this feature, is to add a new individual "assignment" such as "Group Work Penalty" where you assign negative points. Make it worth 0 points. In most cases, a student would receive 0, but when needed, you can give a student negative points.

Community Member

I have successfully tested a solution to this issue.  To change the assignment grade of a single member of a group:

  1. Make sure the "Assign Grades to Each Student Individually" is NOT selected.
  2. Assign the overall "group" grade"
  3. Go back and select the "Assign Grades to Each Student Individually"
  4. Change the grade of the individual student which you want to have a grade different than the rest of their group
  5. Go back and unselect the "Assign Grades to Each Student Individually" so that, in the future, if you want to assign grades to the entire group, the assignment will do that by default (ex: you copy this assignment into a future semester).

I know it's not elegant, but it works.

Thanks, Gary

Learner II

Great solution, gln103@psu.edu! And in New Gradebook, your technique is even easier to do.

Community Member

Thanks for the workaround but really this is a basic functionality that shouldn't have to be debated! All teams have sluggards that don't pull their weight and the instructor is now has a disincentive for giving students the grade they deserved.  BTW, this has long been available in BlackBoard!

Community Member

My sentiments exactly, Rod.  I've only been using Canvas for a few months, and this function drives me a little batty.  Gary's solution may work, but is far from optimal.  I never had this aggravation in Bb, and my tec people don't have a better way around it.

Community Member

I recently switched from Blackboard to Canvas, and I really miss this feature. This is one of several issues with Canvas groups that really need attention.  The other issue is how students join groups. There should be the capability to post a group sign-up page that shows students only groups in the group-set attached to an assignment. If you use a lot of different group sets throughout the semester (like I do), students have difficulty finding the correct group to join in the group interface in People.

Community Member

BTW, there is a proposal for the group sign-up idea I mentioned above.

 https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/12972-group-assignment-self-sign-up-from-submission-page 

Community Member

I think what you just wrote -- "a basic functionality that shouldn't have to be debated!" -- applies to about 50% of Canvas at this point. I do wonder if anybody at Canvas has ever had to actually use their product in the classroom.

Community Member

Gary, thank you for that solution!  It was very helpful, and I was able to switch it back to group grades without altering the other grades for everyone.  Thank you!