Grade as automatic zero an unanswered question in a Quiz


When assigning short-answer questions on a Quiz, unanswered questions are flagged as unanswered and, if unanswered, are not given an automatic grade of zero for that question.

I can't off-hand think of why an unanswered question would be anything other than a zero, but even if it would make sense to allow for that possibility, there should at least be a setting that would set unanswered questions to be graded automatically as zero rather than only flagged as unanswered.

Community Team
Community Team
Status changed to: Open
Community Participant

Yes, this would be brilliant!  This would simplify a lot of the grading for quizzes that have this question type.  If it's blank, it's worth zero--the extra step of having to scroll and place the zero is tedious when a default zero for an unanswered question would solve that problem.

Community Member

That's a definite vote for yes from me!

Community Novice

Yes please - this would be fabulous. It would save a LOT of time!

Community Novice

Yes please!  This would be very welcome 🙂  

Community Member

Yes please - this would be a big time saver

Community Novice

This is an excellent idea, please implement as soon as possible. Many students attempt some but not all of a quiz and manually putting zeros in can be half of one's marking feedback time... for something which is of (literally!) zero benefit to the student.

Community Novice

This is a no brainer - why would there be marks available for doing nothing??

Community Novice

This is an excellent idea. Can't understand why it is not the default already.

Community Member

Unanswered should definitely be set to zero

Community Novice

Hopefully, this becomes part of Canvas. 

Community Novice

What's not to like about automatic marking, bring it on😉

Community Contributor

I concur with the previous comments.  At the very least, make it automatic.   However, the option in the quiz settings would be nice.

Community Novice

Should be default zero. I am doing midterm and final exams on canvas, now I need to visit each unanswered question to put zero. What else grade I can give unanswered questions... This should not be discussed even. 

Community Champion

Classic Quizzes are in the process of being deprecated and Canvas is not doing additional development on them, so I don't expect that this will ever be resolved for Classic Quizzes.

For those willing and able to take matters into their own hands, I contributed a userscript back in 2016 that go through and automatically assign 0's for all unanswered essay questions. It also duplicates the fudge points and update scores at the top so you don't have to scroll to the bottom to click it. It adds an "update and advance" button so that it will automatically move to the next student after updating a score. You still have to load SpeedGrader and view each student's quiz, but you can sit there and just click the update and advance button as you move through the entire course.

There are a lot of other enhancements that come with that script that improve Quiz and SpeedGrader functionality. Although more people use the script for the SpeedGrader portion, it's named QuizWiz because it was originally designed to improve quiz grading and the SpeedGrader enhancements were secondary. In fact, one of the two initial goals for creating the script was to automatically give 0's for unanswered questions.

Userscripts are JavaScript code that users add to their browser. This allows you to add functionality that isn't already present. It's similar to an browser extension, except that you load an extension  (Tampermonkey) that handles the userscript and then the userscript itself is just JavaScript. There are some configuration options for QuizWiz that are explained in the documentation and it comes with some pre-configured varieties (for example, the MathWhiz version automatically assigns zeros for unanswered questions and full points for answered essay questions). But other than changing some configuration options, you do not need to know JavaScript to run the code.

More information is found on the QuizWiz: Enhancements to SpeedGrader and Quizzes page.

Community Novice

Unanswered questions should receive an automatic zero so time grading can be used for actual answers.

Community Explorer


Community Novice
Comments from Instructure

As part of the new Ideas & Themes process, all ideas in Idea Conversations were reviewed by the Product Team. Any Idea that was associated with an identified theme was moved to the new Idea & Themes space. Any Idea that was not part of the move is being marked as Archived. This will preserve the history of the conversations while also letting Community members know that Instructure will not explore the request at this time.

Status changed to: Archived