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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


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.

Community Member

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. 

Community Member

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.


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...  

Community Member

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. 

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!!!

Community Member

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

Community Team
Community Team 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. 

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!


Community Team
Community Team

You're welcome, pdegra@midwestern.eduSmiley Happy

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.