Apply Missing Submission Policy to all Assignment Types


Currently, the missing submission policy only applies to "online" assignment types.  Assignments of type "No Submission" and "On Paper" are ignored by this policy.

It would be great if this policy worked on all assignment types across the board.

What's the use case?

As currently implemented, the "missing submissions" option does not state that it only works on certain assignment types. Users will look at this, and assume that it applies to all assignment types.  When it comes to final grade calculations, this will then cause additional headaches.

Why is this important?

When syncing grades to SIS, and possibly for other grade calculations, it's important to have the desired value listed in the gradebook for missing assignments.  Using the "Default Grade" option on a per assignment basis is not intuitive nor streamlined for a Teacher.  Since Canvas determined that the new gradebook intentionally does not support the "Treat Ungraded Items as 0" option, teachers have no way to mimic this behavior with the new gradebook and the missing submissions policy.


Community Participant

Some of my instructors that don't have due dates have expressed the same concerns with the new gradebook.

Community Participant

I'm jumping on here a bit late, but I want to say that I really like  @jmwatson1 's response. Some level of explanation would be beneficial, as the assumption is that it will apply to external tools, if not also on paper submissions. 

My real request is regarding Default Grade Policy, but I can't find anything on this. Please correct me if I missed the obvious. With a paper submission assignment, instructors cannot apply a default grade policy that marks all remaining scores as Missing/Late and zero. It would be nice if there was an added checkbox to apply Missing or Late policy. I know this is far from the initial idea, but I'm reaching out where I see a connection. 

Thanks for any thoughts!

Community Champion

Now that the new gradebook will become the only gradebook, I am sure there will be a lot more discussion  @thomas_maerke !  You can still set a default grade manually, for any individual assignment.  It's a choice on the 3 dot more options menu at the top of the gradebook column, Set Default Grade 

Since new quizzes is an external tool it means none will have this policy applied. I hope external assignments are included in this blanket request, though I will also vote up the specific request

I can see that a missing label is not good for papers that have been turned in in person, but fixing the labels problem could be a different solution from applying 0's when there is no submission.  Programmatically it seems checking for a posted grade as well as a submission (one or the other) could control missing label application.

Community Champion

I just tested a "new quizzes" quiz with a Missing Submission policy. It did post the 0 scores as well as pink missing labels. So at least this one external tool does use the policy - hooray!  Having no other external tools available to me I can't test them. Does anyone have experience with LTIs and the missing submission policy?

Community Champion

Although the default grade provides a way to enter zeros for missing paper assignments, the missing policy also adds a missing label, which helps students quickly understand the source of their grade.  Being able to apply the missing policy to all remaining ungraded submissions would be helpful.


As a next step, once those assignments are marked missing, the speedgrader could include a prompt for instructors to indicate the date of submission, which would enable the late submission policy to function appropriately using the programmed due date.  Another idea about the missing policy and how it interacts with the late policy that may interest you is: 

Community Novice

"The feature was intentionally developed to apply only to online assignments after reading use cases within feature ideas and numerous site visits and interviews with other instructors.  There are many instructors that voiced concerns if the missing policy were applied to other submission types because of time between the due date, collecting an assignment, and grading it, as well as other reasons.  This is why Erin (above) asked for more use cases to support this idea.  We sincerely want to know more about this so that we can evaluate if the feature needs to be adjusted or not.  It's not a bug or a mistake."

Then the solution is to allow the instructor to toggle (or choose) between having treat-null-as-zero apply to all assignment types OR only to online assignments. Then (almost) everyone could be happy, assuming people either want the one or the other. Personally I find it useful to be able to see the empty assignment square which informs me visually that nothing was done by the student, whereas if I fill that empty square with a zero, I cannot tell the difference between assignment which automatically got a zero due to not having been done, and assignments which were so poorly done that they "earned" the zero, and therefore I *graded* it with a zero.

Community Novice

Agreed, 100%.

A toggle option would be great and appease almost everyone.

And, I also agree about the difference between a blank cell and a zero. The

former catches your eye more than the latter.

Come on Canvas...

On Tue, Feb 18, 2020 at 9:11 PM <>

Community Member

I understand why Canvas developers choose not to have Missing go in as a default once the due date passes for paper and no submission assignments.

However, it would be more efficient for users to have an abbreviated code to enter from Gradebook, much like "ex" for excused, and, honestly, an even better option would be to "Missing" as a checkbox option to "Set default grade" in the three dots for the assignment in Gradebook, too. Neither of these would take much programming to integrate either.

Community Participant

Just checking in on the status of this Idea. I would like to also state that the Missing Submission Status should be applied to assignments that use the External Tool as well. Now that we are virtual, making sure we help students keep track of missing assignments is crucial and needs to happen in a timely fashion. Our teachers are using Google Cloud Assignments, EdPuzzle, Flip Grid, etc and as of now, the Missing Status is not automatically applied after the set due dates.

Community Novice

There is no feature to automatically mark as "missing" with external tools as well.


I am having the issue that I have to go into the Grades tab and manually mark assignments as "missing" for any assignment that uses an external tool. While I understand that not all external tools can show whether or not submissions are missing right away, I think this would be a hugely beneficial feature to be able to enable for at least some of them. For example, my Google Docs Cloud Assignments automatically say "no submission" when a student has not submitted. Why can't I have those be set to "missing" automatically? This would save me hours of time. It's important for me to mark assignments as missing because then it comes up with MISSING in big red letters on a student's grade page, which makes them more likely to know what they should make up and prevents them from shutting down when seeing a low grade. It also enables me to highlight certain missing assignments that have high value, etc. 


I also think this "missing" issue could be somewhat solved if there was a command for "missing" to use in the SpeedGrader. In SpeedGrader, I can type in "EX" to have an assignment marked as "excused," but why is there nothing I can type in to have an assignment marked as "missing?"


On another front, a similar issue applies to the automatic "late" marking. Once they are automatically marked as "late," I must go into the grades tab and manually change them to "none" if I don't want them marked as late." I like doing this after I grade a late assignment, because then I can easily "sort by late" to see newly submitted assignments.


Ending idea - I think it would be beneficial to have some quicker way to mark/unmark assingnments as "missing" or "late" when grading (either Grades tab or SpeedGrader) that does not require me to click on each grade, click the little arrow, and change the selection.


Thanks for allowing this forum to exist.

Community Novice

Can someone tell me how to "vote?" I can't seem to find it...

Community Member

It seems like this feature should be viewed holistically with the late submission policy.  So perhaps the missing submission would ignore items with due dates in the future, whereas all assignments with due dates in the past or no due dates would have the missing rule applied when it was turned on.  The other option would be to ignore assignments with due dates entirely, as the late submission policy could handle those programmatically.  This makes more sense to me than ignoring external tools or other submission types for the missing submission policy.

The most common use case I've seen is instructors wanting to automagically apply zeros at the end of the semester for work that wasn't done.  In this case, the question of delays between assignment completion in an external tool and Canvas receiving grades from those tools really doesn't apply.

Community Member

Please make missing automatically marked an option for all assignment types.  Allow teachers to choose it at their discretion.  I have a large number of students and several assignments a week, clicking over 100 assignments to mark missing with the sidebar is painful.  I don't want to assign a default grade of 0. I have to wait until I grade to do it or there's panic because students didn't get a change to try, and it doesn't distinguish students who earned a 0 from plagarism vs. those who have not submitted.  The vast majority of my students also look for the missing label, instead of the 0. 

In addition to auto-missing, I would like a missing work policy similar to the late work policy, for those instructors that assign a base % to missing work to be set. 

I work with a high-needs group, and they struggle to submit assignments even when I use the google LTI.  Making assignments external submission will save me time as far as marking, but will require excessive hand-holding to teach and re-teach how to find and submit assignments from their google drive.  

Community Member

When I assign an "on-paper" assignment and set a due date. it would be very helpful if the assignment was auto-marked as missing if the due date passes and I have not entered a grade for that assignment. Otherwise, I am selecting each student's assignment and marking it as "missing". This is very time consuming!

Community Novice

This would be so helpful! I spend literal HOURS every week trying to manually put in the missing flag for each missing grade. I don't have a lot of students this year compared to others but doing it for 215 kids for each assignment gets really old really quick. Please add the Auto Missing feature to the gradebook or at least let us use the Set Default Grade tool for it! That would be an easy fix as well. Just auto fill the ones we need at the end. I don't mind doing that extra step, but doing it for each assignment for each student is rough! 

Community Participant

Our teachers are similarly spending literal hours every week marking missing assignments due to the policy not functioning for external tool assignments. They would benefit greatly from expansion of this feature to cover all assignment types.