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Create a more simple, intuitive way to offer Extra Credit

Create a more simple, intuitive way to offer Extra Credit

(10)
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.

80 Comments
jolaine
New Member

Kona, we know how.   And the process you describe is NOT correct.  Every time you go above 100%, it skews the numbers.  Now 1% isn't much so the skewing is slight, but to make it correct, it is more complicated than that.  And if someone wants to go 3,4, 8% percent above, the skew becomes more pronounced.  We're in the process of putting up a FAQ to answer the question.

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

There's only a skew if you do this before all the grades in the course are entered into the gradebook. If you wait and do the extra credit at the end then there isn't a skew. There's a bit of discussion about this over on this page - https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-5612-extra-credit-using-weighted-assignment-groups 

jolaine
New Member

The point is that none of this should be necessary.  It's ridiculous.

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

I completely 100% agree with you there!

loisz
New Member

It is amazing to me that the issue of extra credit has been on this thread for over 2 YEARS & it still has NOT been added to Canvas! 

Every type of "assignment" should have a simple check box that makes it "extra credit" where the points/score earned is added to the total points/score earned but the possible points/score is not added to the total possible points/score for the class so it doesn't count against them for the final grade. By that I mean if the course has a possible 1000 points & then there's an extra credit assignment of any kind (paper, quiz, etc.) worth a possible 100 points, the final grade is calculated  including the points earned on the extra credit as how many points they earned out of the 1000 (not out of 1100).  So essentially, any assignment marked as extra credit adds the points earned to the numerator but doesn't add the possible points to the denominator when calculating the overall grades. It should be adjusting those calculations as soon as the points are awarded (not at the end of the semester) so the students (& instructors) have an accurate, up-to-date current grade throughout the entire semester.

The problems with all of these "work arounds" that people are suggesting is that 1) the students can't really see where their grade is currently at if we have to manually manipulate the numbers at the end of the semester; 2) the assignment looks like it is worth zero points so why would a student bother to even do it; 3) it is extremely labor intensive/time consuming for instructors &; 4) there's a high potential for grade errors!

Come on Canvas! This is a major issue for all instructors who routinely give students extra credit opportunities! Not being able to have clear extra credit assignments of all types is negatively affecting Student Success!

amarchan
New Member

Greetings all,

I'd like to add my voice to this request.  We recently encountered this problem when 20 sections of a freshman seminar were offered the opportunity to attend a special event and get some extra credit for it. So the extra points are not associated with other assignments within the group (although they are the same type of activity, so belong in the group). And the points need to be given now, not later in the term, so that students can see their current standing in the course.   As it stands students don't see their points until other assignments in the group are graded, which causes confusion.

Suggestions: 1) Create a special field in the code for extra credit that is only calculated in if the value is non zero. 2) Instead of summing percentages, keep running points for each student, calculating a total percentage for each assignment group based on a (changeable) total point value for the course.

I hope this helps,

Anne

sweetera
New Member

The quick solution is to make a separate assignment named Extra Credit for Event X. Leave the point value at zero to tell Canvas that a perfect score is zero.  Then, every point the teacher adds to that column in the gradebook will calculate as extra credit. 

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team

The Radar idea stage has been removed from the Feature Idea Process.  You can read more about why in the blog post Adaptation: Feature Idea Process Changes.

 

This change will only impact the stage sort of this idea and will not change how it is voted on or how it is considered during prioritization activities.  This change will streamline the list of ideas 'open for voting', making it easier for you to see the true top voted ideas in one sort, here.

richard_gardner
Community Participant

Thanks for that reply; yesterday I realized that my extra credit was skewing the current semester scores, because I have weighted my assignment groups, and it changes their weight. But that since at the end of the semester all 1000 points have been assigned, all the points of each assignment within a group will equal the weight of that group, and then extra credit won't be skewing anything. So I removed it and told the students to just take their extra credit points and divide by 10 (for example, if they have 25 extra credit points, divide by 10 to get 2.5, and then add 2.5% to their semester score. I wish Canvas could do that. 

nsweeten
Community Contributor

The Power of Assignment Group Weighting and Extra Credit

One of the major benefits of Canvas Assignment Groups/Gradebook is the option to "weight" which allows each assignment to have a logical point value, like 100 points + the added power for the teacher to fine-tune % of each assignment group to arrive at the Total grade. 

Benefits of Weighting

  • Weighting instructs the gradebook to create sub-totals by group with a specifc % of impact on the Total, regardless of individual assignment point values.
  • Teachers retain flexibility within Assignment Groups (like dropping the two lowest quiz scores or deleting an excessive assignment without having to rewrite the Syllabus with the threat of complaints/legal repercussions.) Weighting is your friend once you understand it.
  • Weights allow a Syllabus to stay at overview level--where % information actually helps students more. Point breakdowns are old-school and mind-numbing in a syllabus. Example Quizzes 30% of Grade, Final Project 20%, Assignments 30%, Final Exam 20%. Save the nitty gritty point values for assignment settings where it actually communicates something of value to students. 
  • Best of all, % in a subtotal can help free those teachers who have been trained by a bad LMS into the terrrible habit of making courses worth a magic number like 1000 points, and reverse-engineering the value of assignments from there.  That strategy is not flexible and it backfires in communicating value to students. It is also how you end up with weird numbers, like a discussion worth  7 points. (You don't want students to game the system or ignore assignments that seem less valuable. You also don't want to require students to do a math problem in their heads before they decide if an assignment is worth doing. They won't.) 

Outstanding Issues

  • Until Canvas creates a gradebook feature that allows teachers to tack on extra credit points or % to the Total column, the existing Extra Credit Assignment approach (a separate assignment set to expect zero as a perfect score, therefore any number higher as extra) only affects one Assignment Group such as Quizzes or Homework. 
    • Solution: Tell students that the extra Credit is intended to help one part of their grade, and select the point values accordingly.
  • Quiz tool still has no great solution for extra credit. If you want a question or a whole Quiz to benefit a grade and not count against it, be prepared to get complicated or to re-structure your entire Assignments page.
mariaguzman
New Member

I support this idea. There should be a way to simply add it and designate as "Extra Credit." I offer it sometimes, and the process is not easy; it also confuses students to have it show as worth 0 points to begin with. Lots of stressed out emails always ensue.....fix this!

richard_gardner
Community Participant

I used Canvas for the first time this semester. All of my courses had extra credit, and I like to organize my assignments into categories (tests, quizzes, papers, etc). So I had an extra credit section. Each extra credit assignment was worth “zero.” But in order to make the extra credit category show up on Canvas, it had to include at least one regular assignment. So I created ‘tie your shoe,” worth one point, and gave each student full credit. This was a dumb work around but what else could I do?

Besides wanting to lump all my extra credit into one category for better organization, I didn’t want to put the extra credit assignments into other categories because each category was weighted differently, so where I might have put them would have affected the grade differently. There are 1000 possible points in my courses. At the end of the semester, the weight of each category = the number of points. For example, quizzes are weighted at 10% and there are 100 points worth of quizzes in the course. So at the end of the semester when all the points were accounted for, it wouldn’t matter where I put extra credit, but I wanted the students’ scores to be accurate during the entire semester, not just at the end of it. What I wanted Canvas to do, was if an extra credit assignment was worth 10 points (out of the possible 1000), that meant it should add 1% to a student’s final grade.

So at the end of the semester, I told my students to look at their extra credit category; if it said 5600%, that meant they had gotten 56 extra points. (Canvas says 5600 percent because the extra credit category is worth 1 point—the “tie your shoe” assignment.) So add 5.6% to your score and that is your final grade. I had students left and right forgetting to do this, and thinking they’d flunked when they’d passed, or thinking they’d gotten a C when really they got a B. Would have been nice if Canvas could have just added in that % automatically, so I wouldn’t have to ask students to do it manually to know what their true grade was.

When our institution adopted Canvas in August, the one thing that impressed me most was these user forums and the ability of users to suggest changes/improvements to Canvas. But since then, I’ve seen so, so, so many no-brainer suggestions (in other words, obvious problems and their obvious fixes) and so many dumb features (like the attendance tool that requires an email address just to get attendance stats; and then the excel sheet it produces shows the entire class list once for each day the class has met, instead of just one class list one the left side and all the dates across the top. Or the quizzes next that gives all or none for matching questions), that need correcting, that so many people have complained about, and have been complaining about for years, and nothing is getting done. What good are these forums if all we can do is talk about the problems but they don’t get fixed even after 3 years? (I’m not talking about cool new features, I'm talking about basic no-brainer issues.) I hate to be negative especially so close to Christmas, but I’ve very good reasons to be frustrated.

scottdennis
Community Team
Community Team

Good Morning  @richard_gardner ,

I'm glad to hear that you find value in the Canvas Community.  Thank you for your participation here.  One of the most valuable aspects of the community for us is the massively helpful feedback our Product teams get on how people use Canvas, what is problematic and what they would like to see changed.  I can definitely understand your frustration when you see what appear to be simple fixes for obvious problems being suggested and then not implemented years later - 'How hard can it be!?!' is a very natural reaction.  The factor that is easy to overlook is that there are a potentially unlimited number of ways we could make Canvas better and there is no limit on how many ideas people can put forward but there is a finite limit on our development resources.  Good or bad, in 2018 we were able to build 157 of the things people asked for via the forums along with all the other things the engineers accomplished in pursuit of multiple goals and initiatives.  I'm not trying to make excuses or anything along those lines but I do want to call attention to the positive as well.  If how we prioritize development resources is something you would like to read more about please consider reading this related blog post.

Kind Regards,

Scott 

richard_gardner
Community Participant

Scott,

Thanks for your quick response.

Richard

Steven_S
Community Champion

I use extra credit assignments in all my classes, and I agree that built in extra credit options are badly needed. 

The comments at the beginning of this discussion are correct.  Extra credit assignments can mislead students, because the average calculated during the year will drop when a zero is entered in the extra credit assignment.  Even though it only reflects a correction of an artificially inflated grade, students see this as a penalty for not doing extra credit.  This feels unfair.

 

I do have a work around for while we wait on a solution.  All assignments and extra credit are all planned before the start of the semester.  All assignments are graded out of 100 points, and weighted categories are used to weight assignment groups.  There are two extra credit categories: assignment replacement and bonus points. 

Bonus point extra credit are zero point assignments placed in an existing group where 100 points out of zero will have the desired impact on the final grade when combined with the regular graded assignments.  (For example, I have a assignment group for one small graded assignment weighted at 1.5% of the final grade, and I add one zero point extra credit assignment.  Students who earn perfect scores on both could earn a 200% in that category, but for the final grade that will only give them the 1.5% extra credit that I planned.) 

Assignment replacement extra credit assignments are put into the assignment group with the graded assignments they will replace, and they are 100 point assignments just like the graded assignments that they will replace.  However, the group is programmed to drop a matching number of assignments, so that the extra credit will only count if they are among the highest scores. Before I publish the course, I enter zeros in all these assignment replacement extra credit assignments, so that they start out as dropped assignments. I also include explanations in the instructions of all extra credit assignments that the zeros are required in order to allow accurate grade calculation, and that the zeros will be replaced after extra credit assignments are graded.  At the end of drop add, I use the "message students who" feature to contact new students who have "no grade" with a copy of the same explanation, and then I add zeros there as well.  Canvas highlights new submissions, and so I know where to look for assignments that need to be graded later in the semester. 

I think the solution I use for assignment replacement (entering zeros as grades from the beginning) would also help those who make a separate extra credit group like the 3% group in the original example.  It fixes the misleading grade elevation at the beginning of the semester, so that students only see improvements in their grade when extra credit is entered. 

I wonder if canvas could apply the same idea to making a built in solution.  There is currently an option for calculating grades based on only graded assignments, or based on ungraded assignments being zero points.  If instructors had a check box to label individual assignments as extra credit, could the gradebook be programmed to recognize the checked box and for those specific assignments always calculate "no grade" as zero points until an actual grade is entered?  That would avoid displaying a misleading grade to students early in the semester and it would also avoid displaying confusing zeros before the actual due date.  If the actual grade is a zero there would be no change to the grade displayed and if a higher score is entered the students average would increase as intended.

richard_gardner
Community Participant

Here’s what I do. I want to have all my extra credit assignments in one category. But, that isn’t allowed, since they are all worth “zero” points. Having them all in one category without any points assigned in that category doesn’t work. But having them in other categories (tests, assignments, quizzes, homework etc) would skew their weights, according to how these assignments are weighted.

So I put all my extra credit assignments into one category, and I put an assignment into the same category, called “tie your shoe.” It is worth 1 point, and I give everyone that one point. Now, the extra credit shows up in Canvas. But it still doesn’t compute into the final grade. For that I or my students have to do it manually. What a pain. This is what computers are for.

Fixing this issue is a no-brainer. Not some great new feature. But just fixing something that should have been fixed in the first place.

I’d love to know what things ARE being fixed, because all the issues I’m interested in are NOT being fixed. How about a report every 6 months to all Canvas users detailing improvements made in the last 6 months? Just to let us know and provide accountability.

Sent from my iPad

nsweeten
Community Contributor

Speaking to the original entry: While what you have described is not my favorite way to offer extra credit, keep in mind that you actually can have the maximum "perfect" score in your course worth 103%.  Don't foul it up by detailing the confusing implications to students. Just program the gradebook correctly through Assignments and let it be. 

(FYI, I agree that Canvas can and should design a better extra credit setting for assignments, quiz questions, and full quizzes. Meanwhile...)

Explanation

Again, I like to do extra credit other ways, but your initial posit will work, without weights.  Let's say your grading scale for an A+ is 96% to 100%. Well, having 103% possible in the course doesn't change that. If you leave your grading scale the same and allow that 103% to be possible, an overachiever student could earn 103% and that is still an A+. (Not an A++, dream on.)  A student who would have earned 93% could get all of the 3% extra credit and bump to a 96%. Still an A+.  Essentially, if you accept that this particular approach to extra credit is a way of making it easier for students to get into a higher grade on the scale, then you've solved it [through points/percentage single bucket, instead of weights] without further issue.  You create an additional issue when you then revert to other extra credit strategies as a mixture. 

The key to the Extra credit workarounds is not your personal logic, but rather computer logic:

  • How do you tell Canvas what is a perfect score? (Hint: If you put a point value number in an assignment, then that number is calculated as a perfect score. If you put zero, then zero is perfect and higher than zero is even better than a perfect score, or in other words--extra credit.)
  • How does your extra credit impact the value of other assignments? (Hint: this involves designing your assignments tab to calculate correctly, which, by necessity, means you must rely on the modules tab to present information to students and create the student user path through your content. Sometimes instructors and designers who are less Canvas-friendly will attempt to short-circuit the Assignments tab functions and use it like modules, and this becomes a deal-breaker when you want to program nice-teacher functions like extra credit. 
    • *I find it easier for students and teachers alike to grasp the benefit if the extra credit lives in a specific weighted assignment category/group, rather than attempting to impact the course total grade percentage at the bitter end. For example: If a difficult, high stakes exam is the reason you feel inclined to offer extra credit, then pair it [your extra-credit assignment valued at 0 points] in a category with that exam.  If the intention is to give students creative options to complete bulk homework, then bundle the extra credit zero-point assignment option in that assignment group.   
Steven_S
Community Champion

I use zero point assignments because I do put extra credit in the categories with other graded assignments.  However, it sounds like you don't really need that.   If your regular assignment group weights total 100% and your extra credit group is intended to total up to an additional 5% you can weight your extra credit group as 5%.  The course total will be 105% but this will not be a problem if you use a percentage based grading scale for the final grade.  Students earning over 100% just earn the same score as those who earn 100%.  Within the extra credit assignment group you can give each assignment the number of points that you want a perfect score to be worth. It should automatically calculate your grades throughout the semester, without you or your students doing any manual calculations.  

 

If you have multiple extra credit assignments in the extra credit group, I would recommend pre-entering zeros in all of them, and just explaining that temporary zeros are required to make canvas calculate correctly.  This will avoid over inflating the value of the first extra credit assignment early on in the semester.  For this to work in every case you will need to have at least placeholder assignments published with the point value of all extra credit assignments at the start of the semester. Otherwise, students who skip or do poorly on later extra credit will see their extra credit average ( and their overall grade) drop. 

 

The alternative would be a separate extra credit category created each time you release extra credit assignments.  So perhaps five 1% extra credit categories instead of one 5% category.  Again, this would keep that first assignment from initially counting for the entire 5%.

 

I know it's not a perfect solution, but hopefully some of these options help while we are waiting.

 

 

I agree that it can be frustrating that lots of changes we are looking for are delayed without a detailed explanation of the delay.  However we can see on ongoing list of changes here: Ideas(completed)  and even a list of what is in progress here: Ideas(development) and Ideas(beta)

nsweeten
Community Contributor

I think that for some or all of our schools' Instances of Canvas, the weighted Extra credit group can be created and populated, but it will not calculate in the gradebook's total column.  It looks like it will work, but the total column displays a warning dot that an entire Assignment weighted group with no "required" points is not included in that total.

Foiled again!

nsweeten
Community Contributor

The recurring point about extra credit--as far as I can see--is that Canvas doesn't see an urgency to this, or worse, consider it a "training" issue for designer/faculty users who don't understand the programming. 

We, the users, are frustrated that such care and painstaking was put into programming elaborate calculation and tracking systems that don't work the way the teacher wants them to work!  What is the point of that?!

The takeaway for Canvas: *Get some seasoned old teachers on staff and accept some perspective from a pre-digital-native contingent that is still administering, teaching, and designing for at least another decade or two!