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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
julie_ryan
Community Participant

IMO - the instructor should be in control of the grades, not the Canvas calculator. The ability to modify the total grade column is desperately needed. I'd even take fudge points in a pinch. I have a lot of use-cases. Most recently I had a faculty member that wanted to take 2% off the final grade when a student missed a clinical day. This would be easy enough if the total column were editable but wasn't worth struggling with when weighted grading was turned on. We had to bypass Canvas and submit grades manually to the SIS.  I'm sure this is more complex than it seems, probably due to the fact that Assignments controls the Grades. Perhaps allow the user to add a total column and decide between their column and the Canvas total column. Then the user can decide on the display settings of the Canvas total column (show to students or not). If it can't be done in Grades, then how about in Assignments? One of the options could be a checkbox to indicate all you need is a grade column, everything else would disappear (due date, description, etc)  and it would not add anything to the Assignments area. 

cms_hickss
Community Contributor

While this sounds like a great idea; it can also be problematic. In our previous LMS we had many people complain that the fancy calculated column was doing the math wrong on the grades. What this generally meant was that somewhere in all the pluses, minuses, divides, etc. a parenthesis was missing because the instructor forgot to close the segment.

Troubleshooting those is not easy as you cannot always read the instructor's mind as to what is trying to be done.

Jeff_F
Community Champion

And/or such a calculated column was hidden from view of the students or worse yet the actual instructor who has no idea the column exists as they are not the person who developed the course. Sorry to be Debby Downer here, but this 'feature' was a royal pain...  

julie_ryan
Community Participant

Canvas has assumed a lot in Grades. 

The human should be in charge not the computer. 

You should be able to manually override the grades in all columns including the total column.

You should be able to add or delete a column. 

You should be able to add your own total or calculated column. If your math results in an error the calculated column should remain unpublished with an icon letting you know you need to fix it.

If a column is used it should be displayed to the student. 

Rounding in the weighted columns should be optional. Some schools have policies against rounding and grade inflation.

All of this should be optional. Some people don't like to be forced to adopt new things they don't need when the old things were working just fine. 

pdegra
Community Member

This has to be included. It is a basic function that needs to be there. Different columns may come from different activities that weight different towards the final score. It is unbelievable that this function is not already there. Please put it in ASAP!!!

pdegra
Community Member

So because it was difficult to maintain you just remove it??? 

Stefanie
Community Team
Community Team

 @pdegra  Welcome to the Canvas Community!

With regard to your statement,

Different columns may come from different activities that weight different towards the final score.

This is a current feature of the Canvas Gradebook, specifically through the use of weighted assignment groups, and you can read more about that in How do I weight the final course grade based on assignment groups? ; you can also weight the individual assignments within their respective groups by assigning differing points to those assignments. This feature idea is for the ability to add a calculated column that is independent from the Final Grade column calculation generated by the existing feature. 

pdegra
Community Member

Hi Stephanie!

This was very helpful. You should include it on your training. Basically you can create calculated columns by distributing the assignments to groups and, if needed, assigning different number of point to each assignment within a group will reduce or increase the weight within the group!

Thanks a lot for this tip!

Pablo

Stefanie
Community Team
Community Team

You're welcome,  @pdegra ! Smiley Happy

monsonmj
Community Member

Couldn't agree more.  I think it gets voted down by those who are afraid of math.  So frustrated to have to read through all the comments to see that still no resolution.  

monsonmj
Community Member

I give an exam worth 100 points.  The high score is 90.  I want to create a "curved" exam score based on top performance on the exam, i.e. treat the 90 as 100.  So someone who got 81 raw becomes 90 curved, 72 becomes 80, etc.  "Curved" exam score is calculated as exam score/.9 . Isn't anyone else as frustrated by inability to do this in Canvas?

Jeff_F
Community Champion

Hello  @monsonmj  -  just a note to make sure you area aware of the current feature:

https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-12832-415255003 

monsonmj
Community Member

I read that when I searched.  Clearly doesn't accomplish what I have in mind, why I used "curved" in my comment.  Whenever students ask for a curve, I tell them that means "same number of F's as A's, B's as D's, and most of you will get C's."   which appears to be the way Canvas works. The Canvas feature even includes these caveats.  

  • Grade curving cannot be undone. Pre-curved grade histories will be available, but the curving action is irreversible.
  • Student grades will be impacted differently based on where they are in the distribution of scores. Perfect scores will not be affected by curving grades

As it is described, I am thinking about entering scores of  1 100, 1 99, 2 98, 3 97, 2 96, 1 95.  If it does what is says, then the 95 should be an F.  I simply ask that it let me create a calculated grade column. 

Jeff_F
Community Champion

 @monsonmj ‌ -  Good details, thanks for the follow up.  I've not used curving myself so I appreciate the explanation. 

Do you suppose your suggestion is sufficiently unique where it deserves to be posted as a separate 'Idea'? I am thinking it would be a new feature or possible an added option to the current grade curve feature vs. being part of the above idea which is to provide a separate calculated column.  

thomas-rietz
Community Participant

All of this gets solved if you just give instructors actual control of the gradebook like any functional course management system would. Tom

Jeff_F
Community Champion

Hi!  @thomas-rietz ‌ -   with me not being a Canvas employee I can only begin to imagine the balancing act that must be performed between serving both K12 and HiEd sectors as well as the need to optimize the LMS to ensure for interoperability, responsive design, usability and more.

And I think you have the right inclination to let your feelings be known - that is what these boards are for.  Currently I am just spending a few minutes at the end of my day getting caught up.  But if you get a chance it would be super terrific if you would elaborate on what features you are seeking that aren't currently provided.  Well, off to take the kids to soccer.  Have a good one!

thomas-rietz
Community Participant

Just use the math functions you have in the quizzing engine (+-*/, sum, average, min max, etc) to allow people to create calculated columns in the gradesheet and use one of them to be the final grade. Not everyone adds things together or adds weights of things together to come up with a grade. For example, maybe you require a minimum competency in each of 5 areas, so your grade is the minimum of 5 columns.

cms_hickss
Community Contributor

 @pdegra ‌, we didn't remove it. It was function with our previous LMS that is not currently available with Canvas. We normally tried to troubleshoot the error in the "gradebook equation" but it either meant removing what was there and starting over with the "gradebook equation" after the instructor told us how and what s/he wanted in the equation -or- informing the instructor that s/he needed to start over.

[WebCT's "gradebook equation editor" did not allow for easily removing or changing of segments within the equation... you actually had to delete backwards from the end. IF you tried to copy and paste back in you could accidentally have an assignment in the equation twice.]

monsonmj
Community Member

Is this a symptom of "canned" courseware?  My experience with other software purchased by universities is that it is sold with the promise that it can be customized to the university's needs when in fact the university ends up modifying its processes to accomodate the software.

RobDitto
Community Champion

Well said,  @monsonmj . In my heart of hearts, I believe Deactivated user‌ and the Canvas Product team intend to allow for as much institutional configurability as possible, and that a combination of technical debt and some confounding (misleading?) past research findings currently show up to Canvas customers as limiting such possibilities.