Give rubrics (including Peer Review) the ability to save without submitting


Currently, assignments with peer reviews or rubrics attached to them do not allow the user to save their scoring and/or comments before submitting. While the Rubric will state "Save Comment" on the bottom, the button’s name is misleading. Instead of saving, it will submit what has been entered into the rubric. After pressing "Save Comment", the user cannot make any alterations to the rubric as it is considered submitted. Many students have reported accidentally submitting an incomplete rubric when they were attempting to save.

The rubric also does not save automatically and leaving the rubric window will clear out any scoring or comments entered. As of now, a user would have to complete the entire rubric scoring in one sitting, without leaving the rubric window. The inability to leave the rubric window prevents users from being able to cross-reference the assignment while going through the criteria.

I suggest there be two buttons displayed at the bottom of the rubric: One being the actual save button, the other for submission.  

Below is my screencast recording the issue and a discussion thread in Canvas community further describing the problem. When brought to Canvas Support’s attention, I was informed that the "Save Comment" button is not bugged and that submitting the rubric is its intended function.

Recording of Issue:

Canvas Discussion Thread:

Peer Review Issues

Community Contributor

To all the rubric-minded instructors, teachers, and designers here:  Create a Secondary Rubric Structure to Conform with Conventions has been moved from moderation and is now Open for VOTING.

rubric format‌

Community Contributor

I also want to add that this would solve a major issue I have with rubrics.  My issue is that when you grade using a rubric,  the markings (and comments) in the rubric are NOT saved automatically - nor are you prompted to save before you move off of the rubric page.  The comments you write are auto-saved, so you have a draft if you forget to save. This is not the case with rubrics. You can imagine the pain when you have completed a rubric for a student who had a lot of issues - and a lot of comments in the rubric. You forget to click the Save button, submit your terminal comment, and move on - only to find that all of the work you have completed in the rubric has been 100% lost.  Because we use very long, very detailed rubrics in many cases, it is not trivial to lose that much work. I have to mention that the convention in most applications is to either auto-save OR to warn you when you leave a page with unsaved work.  In fact, even the comments area in SpeedGrader does this - so it is inconsistent that the rubric does not either auto-save or warn.

Community Participant

The peer review function using rubric is an excellent idea. Unfortunately the way the rubric and comment feature has been designed is not only confusing, but also  means a student can complete a peer review without giving any feedback at all.

Firstly, (unlike for the tutor) the rubric cannot be resized - making it possible for students to miss part of the rubric.

Secondly,  once the reviewing student saves their rubric it cannot be edited - and revieiwers can save a rubric that has not had any score/level selected (which will then award 0 points if the rubric has scores). Misleadingly in the Canvas Guides it says that students must complete the rubric, when actually all they have to do is click the button.

Thirdly, this is more likely to happen because the button for saving the rubric is misleadingly labelled "save comment". (Meanwhile, the button for actually saving the comment is much more sensibly just labelled save).

peer review button is  labeled misleadingly as save comment, should be save rubric

Fourthly, although when students are peer reveiwing in the assignment, they are specifcally advised that they must leave a comment to complete the peer review, but if the assignment has a rubric, actually they don't have to leave a comment once they have opened up the rubric and clicked save comment their review is considered complete (this is mentioned in the canvas guides, underneath a screen shot showing the message that students see "this peer review is not finished yet. For it to be considered complete you need to leave at least one comment and fill out the rubric form to the right".)

When we set up peer review assignments, we have to write our own instructions to clarify the ambiguous instructions canvas provide, help students through the process, which still doesn't prevent the awkward situation of students accidentally awarding their peers 0 points!

Community Novice

Why do we have to vote for something that's just a common internet best practice?

Community Novice

Please. Please do this. I just scaled up a peer-marking assignment to over 1000 students and the number of 'I accidentally submitted the rubric, what can I do' emails is eating up my life. It could really be the make-or-break point for an assignment that I love, and that the students are getting a lot out of.

Community Novice

I totally agree! This issue has caused me SO much frustration and wasted time over the years... and it's totally unnecessary. Why should we need to vote on something as simple as auto-save (when that is already a feature in other, less time-consuming aspects of Speed Grader)? It is infuriating! 

Community Novice

Good question. And yet...

Coach Emeritus

Hi  @julopez  

After pressing "Save Comment", the user cannot make any alterations to the rubric as it is considered submitted. Many students have reported accidentally submitting an incomplete rubric when they were attempting to save.

Actually, you can edit your scoring after saving a grading rubric, and I do it all the time for two-part assignments. When you go back in, simply click "Open Rubric" to regrade or continue grading.


Community Novice

Hi Kelley,

I can certainly do that as an instructor. Like you, I do it all the time. However, my students completing their peer-reviews can only access the rubric once. So if they make a mistake or change their mind (both, I am sure you will agree, common occurrences amongst markers of all levels of experience), they can't correct it. I have had to move away from using Canvas for peer-marking exercises, which has created a range of other hassles, but I couldn't deal with 100 'can you reset the rubric form me' emails.

Community Novice

I have just discovered this user-interface bug while preparing to start using Canvas in my course with 100+ students. My students will certainly expect to be able to enter a few comments, save and then come back later and complete the review, but with current implementation you only get one shot at entering and saving comments for the Rubrics I give them.  I can just imagine the number of e-mails from frustrated students :-(.

What is being done about this?

Community Member

I have been using Canvas for years, and there are sooo many little things that could be easily fixed to save students and/or instructors time. Please fix these things NOW!

Community Explorer

I had a professor write to me and say the following:

"I have twice already lost all of my inputted scores within a rubric when I didn’t hit “Save” and went to do something else before finishing.  Is there any setting where I can get Canvas to automatically save rather than having to scroll down to the bottom of a long rubric after each line-item entry?"

So I heartedly agree with implementing such a feature.  Smiley Happy 

Community Participant

I am surprised that this is even being discussed as it is clearly a feature that should already be part of the peer review system. In addition, this would fix a serious problem with the current implementation, namely students accidentally submitting their reviews. For me and others, accidental submission of reviews is rending the peer review feature almost unworkable.

Unfortunately, I do not have much in the "discussion" system on the forum as I am already aware of several strongly supported recommendations each of which has, literally,  been in discussion for years.

Community Participant

I am SO SICK of working on a student paper for 30 mins. or so and then LOSING  all my comments AND scores  I have tried EVERYTHING to avoid this and am now at the point where I actually copy and past every few minutes into WORD so that I'll have some (messed up but usable) vestige of my work.  Just when I think I figured out what the h@## CANVAS is doing with my comments and how I can save them (you know, in case I need to check something on another site, go to the bathroom, copy and paste into WORD), I lose my work in yet another new and infuriating way.   As has happened just now.

I have been using computers for 30 years and have NEVER - even in the days of crappy connectors, sketchy power supplies, and DOS - NEVER lost as much work and time as I have on CANVAS.  For all its cool features, this aspect of CANVAS completely sucks.


Community Participant

I will now go back and try to reconstruct all the work I just lost.



Community Explorer

I know the rule is "one feature per idea", but this feature is part of a global problem, which is that users expect to be able to save drafts (of peer review comments, Announcements, Messages) but can't.  Use of the word "Save" suggests we are working on a draft, and we are surprised when the work submits or publishes instead. 

A related problem is that users expect auto-saving. 

Community Explorer

Ran into this issue with one student today. From previous posts, it looks like this is a reoccurring problem over the years and makes me wonder why it hasn't already been updated. This is an important feature to have. 

Community Explorer

There's another discussion going on about it here, too

I feel like we're all just yelling into the wind. Only one person from the company has responded, and she's offered little to no help or sign of hope.

Community Member

If I complete a rubric and add comments below and then use the right arrow at the top to navigate to the next student, I DO receive a green alert that the comment was saved as a draft. This does not apply to rubrics. By contrast, if just a score is entered without a rubric, the page is updated and the score is automatically saved with the next click or keystroke. While I would prefer to have the page update and deliver the score only after I complete comments or otherwise indicate that I'm finished with the whole Speedgrader page, the save/submit option for scores, rubrics and comments should be simpler.

Both completed rubrics and comments should be automatically submitted and saved on navigating away from a page without the need for multiple save and submit clicks. In reviewing multiple professors' course shells yesterday, I came across a significant percentage of comments saved as drafts, which wastes instructor time and reduces actionable feedback students need. Unless a professor returns to the page later and sees the unsubmitted comment, it will sit there unsent.

To allow instructors to write an initial comment or evaluation without sending it to students, there should be an optional "Save comment/rubric as draft" button, but if that button isn't clicked, the default should be to save on navigating from the page.

If that is not possible, make the "comment saved as a draft" warning RED, not green, a subtle but significant trigger for action. Add the same red popup warning for rubrics.

Community Member

I want to be able to grade half of the rubric line items (the subjective ones), save those, then have a grader come in behind and grade the objective pieces of the rubric.