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Allow 'Treat ungraded as 0' in New Gradebook

Allow 'Treat ungraded as 0' in New Gradebook

(37)

It would be very useful to be able to use the 'Treat ungraded as 0' feature of the current Gradebook in the New Gradebook, especially once the New Gradebook becomes the default in January 2020. I understand that not having this option seems to be by design, however there are use cases relevant to our tertiary institution that I would like to outline to see if they gather support among the Canvas Community. Please feel free to add your own use cases in the comments if this is relevant to you as well.

 

Our teaching staff use the Total column in the Gradebook to view how well a student is doing overall in their unit attempt. Not having the 'Treat ungraded as 0' feature in the future will mean that:

 

1. At the start of a teaching period – if say, 2/5 assignments have been completed by students and graded – the Total column will display a grade that is the scaled-up version of where they are sitting, working on the assumption that the other assignments are to be ignored. It would be possible for someone to achieve 100% in both completed assessments, and the Total column would then display a score of 100%. This is not an accurate reflection of where the student is at in terms of their overall completion of the unit and means the instructor has to do manual work, or ensure they set up assignment groups in particular ways, to try and figure out an accurate representation of student progress.

 

2. At the end of a teaching period – once all assignments have been completed by students and graded – the Total column will display a scaled-up grade for any students who have not completed any assignments or are missing grades. For these students, in reality, their non-submission is equivalent to a score of 0 – however in the New Gradebook, the Total column will not reflect this. This makes it difficult for instructors to review their cohort's progress and standing once the teaching period is complete, before those grades are to be formally sent to the SIS for release.

 

The only suggestion I've seen so far to mitigate against these issues is to use a Missing Submission policy.

How do I apply a Missing Submission policy in the New Gradebook?

 

This is not an adequate solution in our case.

 

In the case of example 1 above: at early stages of semester, students won't actually have 'missing' submissions – those submissions will be due in the future. A Missing Submissions policy would not apply.

 

In the case of example 2 above: Missing Submission policies do not apply to No Submission or On Paper assignments, LTI assignments, or assignments that do not have due dates set. We also cannot force Missing Submission policies at the account level, or via API when each individual Canvas course is created, to ensure consistency across our institution for such a crucial display issue. This would mean that even if it were an acceptable solution in other regards (and as per example 1, it isn't quite there in this case), we would be asking all of our institution's instructors to apply the same Missing Submission policy, and ensure that the exceptions to the policy as above also had 0 grades implemented where students had not submitted work. Not only is there scope for error here across large institutions such as ours, but this seems a disproportionate amount of effort to ask instructors to go to simply so that they can see an accurate reflection of their student's total grades for the overall unit.

 

This is a crucial issue for us, as we need instructors to be able to see how their students are doing throughout, and at the end of semester – this information informs moderation, future assessment design, learning outcomes, and reporting to faculty.

 

Others have suggested that the Missing Submission policy feature be amended (https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/13954-apply-missing-submission-policy-to-all-assignment-types?...‌), and while I agree that it could use further flexibility, in our above case it would not quite solve our problems. It would be a simpler solution to allow the new Gradebook to set 'Treat ungraded as 0' to on or off instead. I understand that the Gradebook CSV Export is still calculating the Unposted Final Grade anyway – so the 'Treat ungraded as 0' score is still there in the system, just not being displayed at the UI level.

 

This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas

For more information, please read through the Canvas Release Notes (2021-02-20) - Canvas Community 

72 Comments
Steven_S
Community Champion

 Why can't 'set the default to 0' be applied to assignments at the beginning of a course so that it will apply to any subsequent enrollments?

I agree that this would solve the problem.  However, using this preemptively at the beginning of the course, will lead to course totals that are discouragingly low at the beginning of the semester.  There needs to be a way to clearly display to students how successful they have been so far, and that the zeros are not yet final.

 

I think that having both a current total and final total column would help explain the zeros in pending assignments to students.  The final total column could have a treat ungraded as a default grade option that displays to both students and faculty according to the setting selected by the instructor.  In contrast, the current total column could use the existing settings.  Then a separate function to finalize default grades for missing submissions, could allow instructors to apply a missing label and truly enter the zero assignment-by-assignment, student-by-student, section-by-section, or course-wide, at appropriate times.

 

This year, I wanted to start the course with the default grade set to 0 but unfortunately found that this setting only applies to already enrolled students. When another cohort is added to the course during the semester, I would have to set the default to 0 again, and again, and again (if that would even work).

The work-around you describe will work in the meantime, with explanations to students about the way grades are calculated and the purpose of those zeros.  Keep track of the date each cohort is added, and you can re-use the set default grade option on the "new" ungraded assignments.  As long as you do not chose to let it replace existing grades, only the ungraded assignments will be updated.

Steven_S
Community Champion

 @rosemary_odonne you may also like this idea which would let your open enrollment course set due dates that are relative to the enrollment date https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/15900-self-paced-courses 

kathryn_wood
Community Member

I find the ability to toggle the "Treat Ungraded as 0" on and off helps when I'm doing a quick analysis of the course as a whole.  It's the toggling that's helpful, while the 'grade % for missing submissions' option is also a destructive edit.  I accidentally gave all the missing work full credit because the Canvas produced instruction video didn't do a good job explaining it's the grade given, not the percentage deducted -- I then had to do some time-consuming investigation to make sure that when I edited out the full credit I wasn't also penalizing a student who had actually earned it. 

Rather than having us vote up or down after the fact, why didn't Canvas request instructors at a variety of campuses supply them a wishlist of keep and fix before creating this clunker? 

kathryn_wood
Community Member

It would be nice if the default for the student side to be for the missing work to be treated as 0, and let them then click on the box to show only the graded work -- I get the logic is that some instructors load up all the assignments at the beginning and don't want students be frightened by a low-seeming grade, but on smart phones and some tablets, that box is at the bottom and no matter how many times I point out that they have to click on the box, I still get a number of emails after final course grades have been posted asking why transcripts don't match what is on Canvas.  It's gotten to the point that my Out of Office email response in December and May is basically a primer on how to find the "treat as 0" box.  I still have a student, after goodness how many emails, who is still not getting it.

Steven_S
Community Champion
Steven_S
Community Champion

I think "Treat ungraded as zero" went away, in part, because of confusion similar to what you describe at the end of every semester.  In the new gradebook, final grade calculation relies on "set default grade" which enters a selected score for all ungraded students in a given assignment. As you have noted it is a destructive change, rather than a toggle, however at the point of final grade calculation there is not much remaining use for a toggle.  It is also, one assignment at a time, but this allows many courses to enter those zeros as the course progresses so students see the impact to their grade closer to the time of a missing assignment.

 

I think that if all canvas did was set the default student view to treat ungraded as zero, there would be many students at my community college dropping out without even asking why their grade is so low.   

Steven_S
Community Champion
kathryn_wood
Community Member

Thanks.  Went to that thread, and “voted” but it hasn’t gotten much traffic since it was started in 2017.  Which is one of the reasons I suggest that they survey folks more aggressively about what we see in the ‘real’ world, rather than having to listen to us whine... er.... discuss intensely our dissatisfaction.

greg_gutkowski
New Member

It seems to me that eliminating a feature without replacing it with the other way to accomplish the same task is a major step back.

Steven_S
Community Champion

The treat ungraded as zero feature was 'broken' in that it displayed the grade to teachers without showing students that it was their final grade.  As a working alternative, it is possible to add a zeros that will show up to students one assignment at a time using the set default grade feature.  When a toggle is necessary, it is possible one student at a time in the individual view of the gradebook.  This discussion might lead to a new option to set default grades by student or all at once for the entire class.  When set default grade does not provide an adequate replacement, discussing why here could give canvas useful feedback about what type of solution is needed. 

rosemary_odonne
Community Member

Thanks for your reply Steven, the work-around is what I planned to do for this year.

However a new issue I've encountered is that the notification that Canvas sends to students when I apply a default grade to a quiz says "Your assignment has been graded", which actually confuses students a lot because they think they have failed to submit something. Is there anyway that the notification that a default grade has been applied could say "A default grade has been applied to this quiz" which is far more neutral and accurate than the current message that students receive: 

screenshot of a canvas notification

I will also check out your other suggestion about self-paced courses. 

Steven_S
Community Champion

I'm not aware of way to turn off that notification.  Before I enter early zeros, I use the message all students who have not been graded feature to send a message out explaining that the zeros are required to make the gradebook calculate correctly and that they will be replace by actual grades for work the students submit.  I also mention that they may receive notifications about these zeros that they may ignore, and then I include a note about the zeros in the assignment instructions, as well.  It's not perfect but it helps.  (This is only an issue for me on extra credit assignments.)

jeremy_stevens
Community Contributor

Hi Steven, I think one of the issues with this approach for us is that for our grading schemas, a 0 is different to a non-attempt (i.e., a blank cell in the Gradebook). 0 to us implies the student attempted the assessment or quiz and simply did not gain any points. A non-attempt is when they do not attempt or submit at all.

This is important data for us to have historically, as students have different fail-type grades for their courses depending on the manner in which they failed (for example: attempted everything but did not achieve a pass grade, vs did not attempt any assessments at all). These different fail grades tell us a great deal about what kind of support a particular student or cohort might be requiring to succeed.

Ideally Canvas' implemented solution to this would involve allowing institution admins (at the account level) and instructors (at the course level, if they wish to override) to set what the default state for 'Treat ungraded as 0' is for both staff and students, for consistency across an institution.

This would account for differences between institutional practices, and for those that want 'Treat ungraded as 0' as the default, it would be much more efficient and user-friendly than having to set a default grade for each assignment (the user wouldn't have to do anything at all, if we can set it at the account level).

Steven_S
Community Champion

I think treat ungraded as zero is a problem, because students do not see an accurate grade unless zeros are entered for for assignments they have not submitted.  However the new gradebook has color-coded the statuses of late, missing, resubmitted, dropped and excused. The missing label could offer you a solution if there was a way to apply it to all remaining assignments.  The late policy will do this automatically, but those without due dates, or with in-class assignments, still need a quick way to apply the missing label. 

 

Instead of treat ungraded as zero, an option to simultaneously set the default grade and also mark the the assignment as missing would allow us to enter zeros that are clearly different from "earned" zeros in the gradebook. I think that simple change would solve this for most instructors, and others would still want a one time version of the same for the entire gradebook.

martha_phelps
Community Member

Wanted to add that I came here looking for a way to enable this feature. Add my voice to the crowd asking for it back. 

Stef_retired
Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni
Status changed to: In Development
 
jhaynes-hughes
New Member

You can set the default grade for an assignment to 0 after you have graded all the submissions.  However, you have to do this for EACH assignment, rather than all assignments. At least, as far as I've seen.  Correct me someone if I'm wrong about this!

kkaeser
Community Member

What is we could have a setting that would automatically mark a score that is a zero as a missing submission. Teachers that use the set default grade feature to bulk add zeros to an assignment? 

Stef_retired
Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni
Status changed to: On Beta
 
Stef_retired
Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni
Comments from Instructure

The Gradebook View menu includes the View Ungraded as 0 option, which is a visual change only and does not affect any grades. This change aligns parity with the Individual View Gradebook and provides instructors with a visual change in identifying grading calculations for ungraded assignments.

For more information, please read through the Canvas Release Notes (2021-02-20) - Canvas Community