Create a more simple, intuitive way to offer Extra Credit

Currently, if a faculty member utilizes Weighted Groups there is no way to add a percentage of extra credit. For example, this is an example of the setup I would like:
  • Test - 50%
  • Homework - 30%
  • Attendance - 10%
  • Participation - 10%
  • Extra Credit - 3%


The 3% Extra Credit would make the total 103%. Canvas allows you to create group weights that equal more than 100%. However, if we setup an Extra Credit Assignment within the "Extra Credit" Group it must be worth more than 0 points. If I give more than 0 points it will negatively impact students scores - if they only get a 2/5 or a 5/10 on the extra credit assignment they overall score will be docked.


A workaround is to create an Extra Credit assignment within a Group (an "out of zero" assignment). However this is a mathematical mess:


For example, solve this word problem:

  • There are 150 points in the Assignments Group
  • The Assignment Group is worth 40% of the total grade
  • You would like to create an Extra Credit assignment that adds 3% to the total percentage score of the Assignments Group
  • The student currently has 140/150 points, or a 93.33%


The solution to allow, when a Group is created, the opportunity to make that Group "bonus" or "extra credit." Alternatively, you could also all 0 points assignments to be created in an Extra Credit group although I assume there is a reason why this is not allowed now.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Thanks for putting in this feature idea, Kael! As your are probably aware we have a great guide How do I give my students extra credit? that offers a few different approaches to extra credit.

I may be mistaken but the example you gave should work exactly as you would expect it to.

The 3% Extra Credit would make the total 103%. Canvas allows you to create group weights that equal more than 100%. However, if we setup an Extra Credit Assignment within the "Extra Credit" Group it must be worth more than 0 points. If I give more than 0 points it will negatively impact students scores - if they only get a 2/5 or a 5/10 on the extra credit assignment they overall score will be docked.

You are correct that "the overall score will be docked" but this would only impact the extra 3% of the final grade. So while it looks like they only got 50% on that assignment, those points that were earned will be added and represented as 3% OVER the existing 100% for all other assignments.

When you give extra credit points - this negative impact only adversely affects your "Extra Credit" group. So while this is correct, the most it could negatively impact the grade is in relation to the assignments listed in that grading group, and only the 3% OVER the existing 100% for all other assignments.

e.g, Let's assume the following:

  • You have create the 5 assignment groups listed in this feature request
  • A student has a 95% in the class and chooses to do the extra credit
  • Your extra credit assignment is in the "Extra Credit" group which represents 3% of the final grade is worth 10 points
  • The student get's a 5/10 on the extra credit

In this example, if the student got a 5/10 on the extra credit assignment, they would still have the 95% (which represents 100% of their final grade) plus the 5/10 points that they received from the extra credit (which represents 3% of the final grade) would be applied on top of their existing 95%

So that option should work for you as a means of administering extra credit. However, it doesn't change the fact that your idea in general suggests that there be an easier, more intuitive way to administer extra credit. And I totally agree!

Since there are a few existing ways that one can effectively offer extra credit, what do you think about changing your feature request name to something like "Simplify Extra Credit process" or "Create a simple, intutive way to offer Extra Credit." ?

I'll look forward to your response!


Deactivated user​, one caveat to using percentage based grades and adding an extra "group" for extra credit is that the final course grade does not accurately calculate the overall course grade until ALL the grades in the course are turned in.

What we found through a lot of testing back and forth is that if the extra credit group is added with a percentage value (with assignments in the group) before all course grades are entered then the overall course grade is not calculated accurately until ALL of the course grades are entered into the gradebook - which means yes, at the end of the semester ultimately the grade is correct. Yet, during the semester students aren't seeing an accurate grade, which was a big problem for us because if our Health Professions students drop below a certain percent grade they can get dropped from the program. Because of this our instructors and students monitor and check their grades every day - no joke. [I have documentation on my testing of this, let me know if you'd like to see it.]

To solve this problem we've told faculty to just not add the extra credit percentage group (or assignments) into their gradebook until after they have the rest of their grades entered into the gradebook. Or, make the extra credit percentage group worth 0% until all grades are turned in and then go back and fix the percent. Yes this is annoying, but at least we know students are seeing the correct grade during the semester.

With this in mind, I would be happy with an easy way to mark a group in the gradebook as extra credit and have it calculate it that way from the start of the semester. 🙂

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Great points that I had not considered  @kona ​ which is probably the exact concern that kakanczu​ is addressing here.

As I read the beginning of your response, Kona, I had the thought to make the Extra Credit group worth 0% and then that was the very next thing I read in your response! Perfect! (well... not perfect, but definitely better than misleading the students for the entire term.)

I still think this is a great idea to have an easier way to calculate extra credit. In the meantime, Kona... if you are looking for a topic for another great Kona blog post, then you should totally head over to the Instructional Designers​ group and summarize your tests, experiences, and your recommended ways of administering extra credit! Your response above should live on, outside of feature requests 😉


I can definitely do that!​

Community Novice

Thanks Kona for helping out. You perfectly illustrated my concern.

Community Participant

I think the extensive explanation of how extra credit works by  @kona ​,  @scottdennis ​, & kakanczu​ make the point pretty well. There must  be an easier way to assign extra credit.

I always think about the "View All Courses" tab in terms of extra credit. On that page you can "star" a course and it automatically appears in the Courses dropdown. What is rendering an assignment as "extra" was as easy as "starring" it ?

Community Novice

It is a nightmare to figure out how to add a simple extra credit percentage to a student's final grade, at present.  My IT guys here at Indiana University finally gave up, after being on the phone with me for 1.5 hours and doing additional research themselves.  The math was too complex and didn't work in the end -- and we faculty members don't have the time to perplex over it.

Lastly, you're not going to receive many up-votes during the summer months (when this voting is open).  Are you aware that most schools are not in session at this time?  Ask during the school year and you'll see.

Community Contributor

Amen. The explanations for these work-arounds make me dizzy, and each one of them has a caveat that creates another problem elsewhere. What I would like to see is an option within the assignment group settings: "Make this group extra credit." That's it. For all assignments within the group, the assignment points are added to the grade calculation, but not included in the total course points: the very definition of Extra Credit, without having to dink around with weights, turn assignments into surveys, or go back and rearrange the settings at the end of the course.

Community Novice

I ran into exactly this problem this past year.  I wanted total points added on to the "current score" after all the other calculations but, as was explained by Kona, that didn't happen until all grades were in.  I spent a lot of time figuring out how to adjust the category weightings and scores to have the Current score be accurate.  I would LOVE a category that just added those points to the final score.

Community Member

This should have been out of the box when Canvas first came out. But Instructure is not the only LMS maker who has done things like this. Desire2Learn, for example, took a few years before allowing users to sort the gradebook by the score of a particular grade item. It was something that the previous product we used (WebCT) had for as long as I can remember using it. Pick your poison, I guess 😉

Community Novice

The way Kael described is the same way I've been calculating extra credit for years. We switched to Canvas and now every semester I have to go around and around to add the extra credit to the total points. I just want one column that will allow me to add extra credit to the end total without having to do more math.

Community Novice

Can this not be implemented the same way it was in Niihka?  That was simply and intuitive.  I was going to switch to Canvas, but this lack of features is making with stick with Niihka as long as possible.

Please duplicate that functionality from Niihka and bring it Canvas.  Simply have "Extra credit" groups and assignments.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

kakanczu​ thanks again for submitting this feature idea and everyone else for sharing how the status quo is not sufficient for your needs/desires.

In an effort to better understand the challenges you are having with the current process/workarounds of administering extra credit, we just added a Focus Group all about Extra Credit! Here you can share your challenges and also offer constructive suggestions on how you would like to see Extra credit work in Canvas.

I love the simplicity of the suggestion shared by johnsons​, about being able to just add an extra column in the gradebook or something. That would be amazing! If you want to share your ideas and join the conversation about improving extra credit in Canvas then head over here to the focus group!

Canvas Focus Group: Extra Credit

FYI:stephamd​, pryba.1​, lbenaloh​, Deactivated user​,  @bsr ​,  @sharris ​

Community Team
Community Team

This idea is now Under Consideration.  Find out more about the idea stages at What is the feature development process for Canvas?

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Hey Folks!

I hope you noticed our new status. "Under Consideration". It means, we think this is a good idea and despite the fact that we can't get this done in the next 6 months, we're looking for ways to squeeze it in sometime in the future. We'll be working on some designs, don't forget to keep giving us feedback in the Canvas Focus Group: Extra Credit, and will be hoping some of you on this chain will want to participate in some user testing to make sure we're on the right track to solving this problem. Stay tuned!

Community Novice

Please consider adding "Extra credit" under the Assignment settings drop-down menu for "Display grade as:"    Extra credit as a setting selection should display additional options to show as points, percent, etc.

Why it matters:

Labelled choices are better. I use zero point value assignments in a weighted category,  for Instructors I consult. It can work, yet  It would be nice to have extra credit as a labelled "setting" with the ability to be weighted in a separate category, etc.  Many users/Instructors do not think like software designers, so figuring out how to make Canvas count assignments in specific ways is not intuitive.

In Quiz settings, an extra credit option needs to be coded as part of the tool, asap.  It requires far too much re-design and work-around to get Quizzes to "help and not hurt" a student's score.

Community Team
Community Team

Supporters of this idea may also want to follow Grading Policies & Schemes  for the large project scope!

Community Explorer

This is exactly what we need!

Community Champion

Was there a change of plans? It's not currently possible for me (and presumably other community users) to follow or see that document. 


I can't access it either. 😞