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Assign to everyone except selected students

Assign to everyone except selected students

There are some assignments that go out to the majority of my students except one or two per class. It would be great to be able to assign to "everyone" and then have a button to select which students are exempt from the assignment.
Community Participant

With this issue as with so, so many more issues, it has become obvious that Canvas does not employee actual teachers. If it did, they'd fix all this stuff in a hurry instead of waiting 5 years and counting for many obvious changes. 

Community Participant

I would truly appreciate an official response from Instructure on this topic. Is this planned on the timeline for improvements? If not, why not? This is one of the most important functions of an LMS. 

Community Member

Same. We moved from two systems to one with Canvas and both allowed this using the Groups feature, which Canvas also has. But it doesn't work for that.

New Member

I've seen a few comments from Canvas team members saying this idea has been backlogged, but I'm really hoping the several pages of comments from teachers over the years pushes this feature up the priority list.

For me, the biggest use is for modified students and ELL students. As a high school teacher, I have a number of students with modified diplomas for whom I need to provide shortened or simplified versions of materials. Similarly, when I have students who are still learning English, I endeavor to provide alternate versions of materials to eliminate some language complexity. This means when I give a quiz or an assignment with different guidelines to meet those students' needs, I need to type in every. single. name. in that class, except the 1-3 per section that I'm assigning the modified content to.

Also, recently since COVID is forcing some students into isolation, students in-class are submitting on paper but students in isolation need to submit it online. Originally I had it set to 'online submission' for everyone, even if most students were submitting a paper copy, but all my students were getting flagged for missing assignments that they'd handed in on paper. The 'everyone except' feature would allow me to set assignment submission as 'on paper' for in-class students and an 'online submission' assignment for students needing to connect from home.

New Member


I have a student in my course who is on modified curriculum.  Instead of putting him in a different course, I'd like to keep him in my course but be able to assign him his own assignments (which I can do) but also assign everyone in my course an assignment and exclude him.  There is a feature to assign it to everyone but I'd like an option to assign to everyone EXCEPT and then list students who would not be assigned that assignment.  Thanks!



Community Member

The "everyone except" feature is highly desired and needed in the K-12 range of usage! The general education teacher can create an assignment and assign to everyone except the special education students. Then the special education teacher can duplicate the assignment, modify as needed for the special education students, and assign this adjusted assignment to only the SpEd students. 

Is the only work around now to create new sections? One for general education and one for those students needing modified assignments? Are all instances allowed to make new sections in courses or is that a permission given at the subaccount level?

Canvas - is this request still on the radar?

Community Participant

The last poster asked: "Canvas - is this request still on the radar?"

I'd like to ask: Canvas, is ANY request still on the radar?

Community Participant


This has been brought up by a member since 2015 and still in the backlog for development? I apricated that instructure developers has been make so many changes and provided many useful features in Canvas. However, I think this has been overlooked since the first step that most lecturers will do when create a new assingment is to select their students which means you wont able to exclude only one or two student but have to select all others.

New Member

I am a teacher with a number of students whose IEPs require that they have a reduced number of distractors on multiple choice quizzes. The simplest solution I could think of was to create a duplicate quiz, make the necessary edits, and then un-assign the original quiz. However, there doesn't seem to be a way to do this.  I can enter all of the other students' names manually, but this is tedious and leaves a lot of room for error.

Alternatively, a "reduce choices" accommodation that could be selected for students could also be helpful. While the time adjustments are nice, this is pretty limited in terms of students' needs.

I've used a different LMS that made it very easy to un-assign a task to a particular student, without having to go through and enter dozens of other students' names manually.  I'm frankly surprised that there isn't already a way to do this on Canvas.

Community Participant

To Joyvangen,

I also would be surprised there isn't a way to do this. I said "would be" surprised, because I am surprised about such things no longer. Look over this list of comments, it stretches back to at least 2015, which is 7 years ago. But on so, so many other topics, which, just like this one, are "no brainers," the list of comments also stretches back 5 or 7 years. Canvas/instructure is a dysfunctional company that simply cannot get its act together. I have no special window into their leadership or organization or finances; but their incompetence is what lets me know. I am not a person that talks so bluntly, so for me to talk this way means I'm beyond frustrated and have been for years. 

Community Champion


I thought I might have had a somewhat easier way to do what you want to do using the excused grade.  You would still create the two assignments.  for the one for the majority of the class, you would go and mark the IEP students as excused.  Then for the IEP student assignment use the set default grade to excused and then go back and take it off of the IEP students' assignment.  Of course that means students see 2 of each assignment.  One they are excused from and one they have to take.  

Unfortunately, the default grade does not take ex, and if you type in excused it says it updates the grades, but excused is never applied.

The other alternative is to create both assignments, export the gradebook,  mark ex in all the grades for the students to be excused from one of the assignments or the other and then import the grades back.

Of course if you want the students to only see one assignment you have to go through the process you describe.

In writing the above, I just had another thought.  It takes a little time at the beginning of the semester, but then you are good to go.  Create 2 sections - one with the IEP students and one with all the other students(i.e. IEP_Students, NonIEP_Students).  Then when you make an assignment, select the section that applies for that assignment.  The students will only see the one assignment assigned to them - you of course have two columns in the gradebook and must make a distinction somehow on the assignment name- I think.  I don't know if you can have two assignments with the exact same name.

Instructor manual page on how to add sections to a course

New Member

We often have to make copies of an exam and assign the copy to just one student.  Unless I'm mistaken, there is not an easy way to assign the original version of the exam to "everyone except".  If we could have a way to have an exempt feature there OR be able to but everyone minus student name, that'd be great.

New Member

I am an instructor for univeristy level subjects. A feature like this would be helpful for us in order to restrict individuals from accessing an main exam if they apply for rescheduled exams in case of illness/misadventure/etc. 

Specifically, we need something to restrict access to the content of an assignment, not just the ability to interact/submit as with the current 'Excused' status.

New Member

I'm leading a pilot test of Canvas for a K-12 institution.  I think the single biggest factor weighing against Canvas adoption right now is the lack of a feature like this one.  Does Canvas employ anyone who has recently worked in a U.S. K-12 school?  If so, certainly they are aware that the days when teachers gave the same assignment to every student are long gone.  Differentiating instruction is not merely a nice idea, it is legally mandated by special education laws such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  The clunky work-around of having teachers type the name of every student who will receive a particular version of every assignment is awful!  Many teachers have close to 200 students.  Let's assume roughly 100 assignments per year, that 20,000 names typed per teacher!  Screw-ups are inevitable.  

I really want to recommend Canvas adoption at our campus.  The Special Ed department has already said they disapprove of Canvas, and I think the lack of this feature is their biggest objection.  Please add it to your roadmap ASAP!

Community Participant

To trr_nv

Run away. Even if they fix this issue, which they are unlikely to, seeing how long it has been requested, there are so, so many other no-brainer issues they likewise haven't fixed in 5 years or more. I have been beyond frustrated so many times since our institution adopted Canvas, on so many issues. 

Community Participant

I need this option too! It would be great to remove one student from an assignment or exam instead of having to individually click all of the remaining students' names to "add" them to the assignment.

Community Member

This is still needed. For reasons that apparently are hard to fix, I end up with students assigned to two sections of a class even though they are only active in one section.  When I give a test to one of the sections, I may want to block certain students in that section from taking it.    I shouldn't have to resort to using passcodes for that purpose.






New Member

Just had a teacher come in and ask for this feature to accommodate the two students in his class who require modified assignments.  If he needs to hand enter every student into the general assignment, THEN hand enter two students for the modified assignment, it is an extreme waste of educator time.  We in the PK-12 domain need an "everyone except" option in Canvas - waiting on it for seven years it seems. 

New Member

I am stunned this isn't already a feature. It seems really obvious where this would be useful for K-12.

New Member

As other educators have noted, it is ridiculous that Canvas doesn't have this feature as a tool for K-12 public schools. This is a regular part of differentiation for students with IEPs. There should be a way to easily unassign them (an "except" option) from assignments and quizzes. As an educational platform, I can't see why this wouldn't be a priority for updates. Does anyone know how to bring this back to Canvas's attention as it appears this thread started in 2015?