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Improve Grade One Question at a time

Improve Grade One Question at a time

First i still see the entire exam of one student, not just one question.  Second I am not able to look at a grade all of one particular question for ALL of my students at one time.  This gives a more consistency in grading and makes it go quicker.  Clicking through each student for each question takes a long time for it to load and when you are talking about 15-20 questions for 61 students that is a lot of going to the top of the screen and clicking and waiting. 


Originally posted by Jill Feinstein

Also requested by Kevin West and Ed Finn

Community Member

The current "grade by question," which is kind of a sophisticated "next" button, does not really meet my needs. Not only does grading still require far too much clicking and waiting, but without seeing all the answers plus my comments & grades for them together on one screen, it's a lot harder to maintain grading consistency. I will remember that I gave partial credit for a certain kind of answer before, but what score exactly and how did I explain it? To find out, I have to cycle slowly through every student's quiz looking for it. "Slowly" because if you move too quickly in the speedgrader, sometimes you see one student's answers displayed under another student's name, which causes additional difficulties.

Also, when I see only one student at a time, it is harder to copy/paste similar comments because I never know what kind of answer is going to show up on the next screen.  I do save my comments into a text file, which I keep open while I'm grading, so that I can select the appropriate comment while grading and paste it into the comments box. But I would like to be able to select a comment once, paste it to all the student answers to which it applies, then work on the next type of answer. When I go student by student, I need to constantly re-select different comments and that takes unnecessary time, too.

Because of this problem, my grading time has skyrocketed since my university started working with Canvas. I am especially disappointed because I asked the Canvas sales team whether the software allowed us to grade by question and they assured me that it did. This was before we had the fancy next button that we have now (that lets us leap from question to question in the same student's exam, or that keeps us on the same question when we change students).  The current setup is an improvement over what we originally had, but it does not go far enough.

Community Member

Thanks Beth, for the heads up that the previous threads on this topic were not being moved over. Kind of reminiscent of the way they closed the original thread that asked for this feature. Easier, I suppose, to close the threads than to acknowledge that they haven't managed to build this feature in spite of 4 years of requests.

Community Member

Thanks for articulating the inadequacy of this tool, Beth.  I'm no programmer, but it doesn't seem like it'd be hard for someone to figure out how to put "Question 1" all on a single page, which one could grade and then move on to another page for the next question.  This would allow the grader to effectively grade the question more objectively, rather than grading the student.  As this tool exists now, I have graded a question for one student, made comments, and then come back later to find that it looks like I have done nothing at all -- the comments and my grade are gone -- so all my grading time has been wasted.

Canvas could be so much better!  How can we make this happen?


A fully functional grade-by-question appears to be planned in Speedgrader 2.0​.

Though, I think this feature request could be very helpful place to clarify the best way to implement the feature.

Community Member

I really do hope that Speedgrader 2.0 does a better job than Canvas.  I have stopped having essay questions in exams due to the arduousness of grading them, and sheer amount of time it takes Canvas to process each question if you have to go student by student.

If you're listening, Speedgrader, PLEASE have the feature actually allow you to grade one QUESTION at a time, rather than one student, with minimal clicking-between-answers possible.  ANGEL's model worked well, for what it's worth.

Community Member

It would be very helpful to have an option that allows an instructor to grade all attempts at a question while "blinded" to the identity of the student.  The loading of the screen with each switch to "next student" wastes significant grading time. 

Community Member


While Canvas is prettier than Angel, the Angel assessment tool had many seemingly basic features that Canvas seems way behind on. #1 on the list is the grade by question feature. I'd also add, the more versatile question pool/group/bank options, and display grade as percentage options. And several post-assessment editing abilities like changing point values, dropping a question, formulas for curving and overall grade adjustments.

I've been grading finals all week and I'm beating my head against the computer regarding many of these things!

Community Member

The slow server responses, even if it's a few seconds, add up.  Seeing student answers next to one another would make it so much more convenient and also fair to grade them.  Of course, this would be specific to question type, but for single fill-in-the-blank answers, a big table, one line per student, with red/green correct/incorrect choices on the right would be appropriate.

Community Member

I really agree with this. I have a weekly assignment that my students do that requires brief writing, and with Angel, I was able to grade an entire class in the same amount of time it now takes me to grade a handful of students.

I wonder if part of the issue is that speedgrader is generally good for focusing on a lot of information from one student but is not designed to focus on the class as a whole. I can imagine changing the view on this from "by student" to "by class" and then seeing all submissions in a scrollable screen (I think that is essentially what Angel did when you said you wanted to grade by question).

Community Member

I definitely have users who would appreciated this at IU. Our outgoing LMS has this feature and allowed faculty to focus their attention on a single question at a time, in a long row, then jump to the next set of unanswered questions. I hope that Speedgrader 2.0​ will provide these workflow changes.

On the other hand, in general, Speedgrader 1.0 has saved TONS of time in grading assignments for my faculty.