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Add, Create, or Modify a Calculated or Total Column in the Gradebook

Add, Create, or Modify a Calculated or Total Column in the Gradebook

(3)

 

Being able to calculate things in the grade book beyond adding things up or weighting and adding seems like an absolutely necessary feature.  It seems like one of those that comes up repeatedly under various guises, but keeps getting archived.  But, I keep reading that there are lots of people who do more than just add things up to calculated grades.

77 Comments
Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team

The Radar idea stage has been removed from the Feature Idea Process.  You can read more about why in the blog post Adaptation: Feature Idea Process Changes.

 

This change will only impact the stage sort of this idea and will not change how it is voted on or how it is considered during prioritization activities.  This change will streamline the list of ideas 'open for voting', making it easier for you to see the true top voted ideas in one sort, here.

monsonmj
Community Member

 What users need to know is to go to the voted ideas, search term "weight" and vote yes on 

https://community.canvaslms.com/community/ideas/content?filterID=contentstatus%5Bpublished%5D~object...Thomas RietzSeptember 6, 2018 7:38:26 AM5474-241

With this ability, it seems most of the concerns in previous comments could be addressed by the instructor.  Of course, even this may be an exercise in futility.  Urge your Canvas user colleagues to join the community and vote "yes".

eliza_morris
Community Member

This is a very difficult feature request to find!  I think that we would be seeing a lot more up votes if people knew it existed.  I worked with my canvas IT support on campus for about an hour on this issue and we didn't manage to find this at the time.

I am hoping for additional control over the total calculation, specifically I am hoping to be able to cap the formula at 100% for each category, at the moment extra credit in my participation category is bleeding over to the other areas (it is supposed to max out at 100%, and I am having to pull everything and manually calculate in excel).

A definite up-vote from me... and I'll ask everyone I know to do the same.

michael_barbour
Community Participant

Okay, as I read through the thread here, I think this is the feature I'm hoping they develop.

Basically, if I have 10 assignments in the course, but I want the gradebook to show the student's average for assignments 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 9.  In other LMSes I have used, I could create a manually calculated column that read something like:

assignment 1 + assignment  2 + assignment 4 + assignment 6 + assignment 8 + assignment 9

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

6

So this is the feature that I'd like developed.  It seems like something very basic.  And literally every other LMS has this feature!

MKB

bec_plumbe
Community Participant

And building on MKB's point above, this sort of calculated column isn't only useful at the end of a course: it can be very useful as a checkpoint, to help us make efficient interventions in large classes while there's still time in semester for students to improve. E.g. Count the number of null values (non-submissions) in a set of columns. So in our Logic unit with over 700 students, we could have a checkpoint column partway though the course that would allow us to "Message students who..." have missed a certain number of problem sets, and invite them to check in with their tutor.

sray20
Community Member

We can't create a calculated column on Canvas !!?? What is this, stone age? With 21st century technology that can take us to the moon, why are we forced to use this software?

monsonmj
Community Member

I agree, but we went to the moon with 20th century technology.

sray20
Community Member

hahaha, yea but using calculator to add grades from two columns is 16th century technology, looks like we haven't made progress in this regard.

monsonmj
Community Member

Here I am at the end of another semester with students looking at a grade or score in Canvas that is not the grade based on the weights I assign to homeworks, exams, etc.  When will the madness end?  I just read someone's post about features of the new Canvas gradebook, but didn't see weighting or calculated columns.  I am so tempted to tell the students there is a one letter grade penalty (so no one gets an A) for the University requiring me to use an LMS that doesn't allow this and if they don't like it, contact the provost.

dli1
Community Member

The issue goes way beyond this simple and advisable request.  At the most basic level ALL LMS gradebooks are inadequate to the general population of instructors who use innovative and idiosyncratic grading methods and modalities.  In my case I use spreadsheet (Excel) for all actual grading since it has the widest possible range of mathematical and logical operators and configurations.  As a result, I want the LMS gradebook to function simply as a secure and confidential means of posting individual grades.  By building into the gradebook automatic features without an instructor defeat capacity, Canvas simply causes great confusion for my students and frustration for me.  The gradebook should have the capacity to allow minimalist use of its features such that: (1) columns can be added or deleted by the instructor independent of a forced link to "assignments"; (2) easy import/export capacity to basic software such as Excel so as to allow posting of grades; (3) simple grade posting that does not force multiple modes (e.g., points with letter grades or percentages in order to post letter grades or possibilities for simple posting of alternative grades) the ability to exclude total columns altogether and replace them with user generated final grade columns; etc. 

Why do all LMS developers think they know best what instructors need and want from a gradebook.  Its fine to build in simplifying operations for lower common denominator users who value simplicity over all else.  But why hobble experienced and committed users who want far more fine tuned grading capacities.  I just don't get it.

insall
Community Participant

Please elaborate.  

insall
Community Participant

After reading the first sentence, I upvoted, and now I will read the rest of your comment....

I doubt that anything I read now, good or horrible, could sway me to change my vote...

insall
Community Participant

Your second sentence is most important, and because of it, I upvoted.  It's unlikely that anything else you wrote here that I have not yet read can now cause me to change my vote...

matthew-stuckwi
Community Participant

Stephanie, that is not helpful.  In other LMSs, it is possible to have the same assignment included in more than one calculated column, and then have calculated columns based on other calculated columns (or groups of calculated columns).  That is literally impossible in Canvas (try putting an assignment in two groups — there is no way).

Stefanie
Community Team
Community Team

Hi,  @matthew-stuckwi  , my response was meant to align current gradebook functionality with this comment: "Different columns may come from different activities that weight different towards the final score." This is possible using weighted assignment groups. As you've noted, putting the same assignment in multiple calculated columns—a different use case—is not currently supported by the Canvas Gradebook, hence the need for this feature idea.

sarah-canatsey
Community Participant

I have a faculty who has weighted grades. When he looks at the student view for an individual student, the assignment groups (at the bottom) show the percentage correct from the group, but not the percentage for the group weighted for the total grade. This means you still have confused students who can’t/won’t figure out the math and then write unnecessary emails to faculty complaining about their grade. 

 

For example:

                   Raw.       % weight

Group 1..... 85%.    (50% of grade)

Group 2..... 40%.    (10% of grade)

Group 3..... 90%.    (40% of grade)

 

But, Group 2 is only worth 10% of the grade, so the student has to do the math for how that contributes to their actual score. That would look like:

 

Group 1: 42.5%

Group 2: 4%

Group 3: 36%

It would be nice if the weighted categories gave better information to the students about how each is contributing to their total grade. 

michael_barbour
Community Participant

Another piece of basic functionality that all other LMSes have, but Instructure doesn't seem to want to incorporate.  During our transition from Blackboard, this was the single most requested feature from faculty based on something that they've been able to do for 8 years in the former LMS.  And it seems that they still won't be able to do it. 

Here's a novel idea, instead of this ideas forum and up voting and stuff, just create a quick matrix of things that other LMSes have done for at least 5 years - of even 10 years - that Canvas doesn't.  Any feature that all of your major competitors do that you currently don't, stick that in the queue for development ASAP.

monsonmj
Community Member

I can't believe this drags on.  While I don't seem to be able to influence the LMS selected ( I assume we changed from Blackboard to Canvas as the perks were better for the decision-makers), I added this statement to my syllabus " Disregard any grade information provided by Canvas.  The instructor reserves the right to lower all final grades by one letter until Canvas allows weighted or calculated columns in the gradebook."  I also urged them to contact the Provost if they felt this was not fair.  

slbergh
Community Participant

I also don't understand why this isn't a standard feature. I was able to use it in Blackboard for years. I have found our move to Canvas to be incredibly frustrating as functionality I had come to rely on was removed, essentially forcing me to have to recreate all of my courses.

Sometimes I want to add bonus points to existing "assignments". Is it really that hard to allow us to add columns together? I build and work with databases. I understand how they operate. In fact, one of the reasons to use a database is that it allows for mathematical calculations! If Canvas is calculating grades on the backend, why can't I say that I want Column 1 + Column 2 = Column 3? Instead, I have to download the grade book, add the columns in Excel, then import the new file. Not exactly an efficiency gain there!

matthew-stuckwi
Community Participant

I think I'm going to take this route as well.  It's pretty ridiculous. I'm at the point where I'll offer to develop it for free for them if they'd give me access to the source.  It would probably take me all of about an hour or two once I understood their DB structure.  This is literally coding 101 stuff.

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