Improve Grade One Question at a time

Idea is currently in development

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

Comments from Instructure

We have several related ideas we're tracking around this request:

Compile all essay responses to a quiz question on ...

Add Grade by Question Feature in New Quizzes

Improve Grade One Question at a time (this one)

New Quizzes: Grade by Question on one page

Community Contributor

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 Novice

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 Novice

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?

Community Contributor

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 Novice

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 Novice

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 Novice


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 Novice

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 Explorer

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 Novice

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.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Hey Folks! I'm archiving the idea because we are in the process of designing a new solution with It won't be released in the next 6 months, so I'm archiving this according to our community rules. But please know that redesigning the "grade one question at a time" feature is the biggest catalyst for the new Speedgrader. We will include this in our next generation. As it stands, our current Speedgrader doesn't support a more elegant solution.

Community Novice

There is another problem with the current grade by question feature. As far as I can tell, you must click "Update scores" for each student, and wait for the page to reload, before you can move on to the next student. That means three clicks and two reloads *per student*, which is ridiculous.

Community Champion

Boy, do I echo what  @Beth_Young ​ said!

Here is an example of what it's like to grade all one question at the same time.

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 9.40.42 PM.png

Additionally, green dots can be given to ones which have already been graded and then submitted, in case a student turns his/hers in late (an orange dot or some such symbol could let the grader know that that one hadn't been done yet).

This makes the grading go so much faster! We have really fast service, but I can't even begin to imagine the time consumption for someone with slow internet.  Smiley Sad

Community Novice

My colleague Stephanie Stocks, found a "secret" work-around to help this situation!  As far as I know, Canvas Support doesn't know about it, or at least I've never found anyone who knew about it.

I go into speed grader and I type in a grade for a question and hit enter.  If I click the arrow to go to the next student, it will take me directly to that same question on the next student's test.  If the student didn't get that question, it will just stay at the first question on the test.  This is the only way we've discovered to find which students got a particular question when the questions are randomly drawn.

It's not all instances of the question on one page, but at least you can find the students who got that question.

Community Novice

A true "grade by question" so I can look at the same essay question for all students at the same time is needed.  This allows for more consistency in grading overall.  We also need to be able to do this when the exam questions have been randomized as well.  This feature was available in the Angel LMS system and I found it incredibly helpful and enhanced my grading consistency across students.

Community Novice

This is NOT grading a question for all students at once! You should not have to advance to each student one after another. All responses for EVERY student should be visible simultaneously. It enables you to be consistent in grading, and it is so much faster. This horrible method takes forever to grade one question, and forces the instructor to not assign essay questions. The need to update each score for each student before advancing to the next student adds dozens of extra minutes while grading, and it is so unnecessary. I have been complaining about this problem for a long time now, and there has been no improvement. ANGEL did it right, and this is an absolutely critical issue if you are to be a course management software supplier.

I taught an entire semester using Canvas, I migrated all my course assessments (3 classes worth) over from Angel, and then essentially abandoned the entire reading and assessment process part way through because it took so incredibly long to grade using the 'speedgrader' tool.

Community Participant

Really looking forward to the new version of this in 2.0. As others have noted/illustrated above (Nicely done,  @cwendt , we need to see the response for all students in a vertical display and then just click once to register the score. Thank you.

Community Team
Community Team
  Idea is currently in Product Radar Learn more about this stage...
Community Novice

It is absurd that this feature isn't already part of SpeedGrader.

Community Participant

Would it be possible to add a feature to download all the answers for a question to allow for offline grading?

I have a long commute (without internet access) and could use the time to do some grading.