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Allow administrators to "see through" anonymous grading

Allow administrators to "see through" anonymous grading

0 Kudos

The issue: Anonymous grading is an important option that provides students with reassurance that the grading of their work was not effected by unconscious or conscious bias.  However, there are times when administrators need to be able to identify the authors of specific submissions and this is currently only possible by exploiting a loophole in the way that anonymity is implemented in the Gradebook.  We assume that this loophole will be closed in time and  the interventions that I am referring to here play an important part in our duty of care to students.

Use case: Examples of situations when the need to identify the author of an anonymous submission include: cases where poor academic practice or plagiarism are suspected and cases where students who have missed the due date for an assignment.

Idea: The current "Message Student Who..." feature reveals the identities of students who meet defined criteria (e.g. "have not submitted" or "have scored less than...").  This could be used to identify the author of a submission in all the situations that we have encountered so far, but is not available (greyed out) on anonymous assessments.  I would propose that a permission be created that could be assigned to an administrator and would allow the designated role holder(s) to access the message students who feature on anonymous assessments.  


Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni
Status changed to: Open
Community Participant

It would be helpful if account level roles had the ability to view student names for anonymous submissions, whilst the assignments continue to remain anonymous for those with a course level teacher role. At present we have to turn on and off anonymity for assignments to allow our admin team to complete processes, such as highlighting assignments that require dyslexia considerations. This at times has broken the required anonymity when teachers come to mark. All our admin team have account level roles, so a permission to override anonymity settings at this level would be helpful. 

Community Participant

This looks like a viable solution too, similar to the way similar situations are handled in Moodle.  I suggested the "message students who option" because I thought it would be simpler to implement.  It is a solution based around existing tools, in other words. However, it may be that creating a permission of the sort that you propose would be as straightforward and would remove the need for a provisional mark to be entered (as the basis for a message students who filter).


I'm glad I found this Idea because i was going to suggest this as well.

We just had this scenario where we had a county-wide writing assessment for all 8th grade students (approx 2,020 submissions).   Students had two weeks to submit.  Then the essays will be scored, anonymously by two Graders (we created a custom role so they could only score and not edit the course).

What we found:

  • we had to identify several time along the way which students had not yet submitted so we could inform their teachers
  • the message students who option could only be used IF we turned off anonymity after 11pm when we hoped teachers were not online.   But this only messaged the students and it was done with my own account (not their teachers).   Then turn anonymity back on.
  • We did find New Analytics could provide us a list of all students with Missing Assignments -- but we had to change the Due Date each time since the report only works if the Due Date had passed.   There is no proactive way to identify these students and provide them support.
  • Even with System Admin rights, I couldn't check on specific student submissions on behalf of teachers or curriculum supervisor if they wanted us to see if a student submitted correctly.
  • NOTE:   We had a Practice Assignment that we hoped would allow students to practice submitting, and allow us to see if students could submit successfully before submitting the real thing.  BUT, the issue there was then the Graders could see the students they had been assigned by Section to grade.   So we quickly had to make the Practice Assignment anonymous as well.