New Grading Scheme Type Supporting Numeric Grading Standards Worldwide


This idea involves creating a new grading scheme type, the Min-Max numeric grading scheme, to support numeric grading schemes worldwide without any rounding errors. Also the GPA scale can be facilitated with this idea, also without any rounding errors.


The current grading scheme method originates from the need to translate assignment points to a text based grading standard such as A to F. This translation is done by defining ranges of percentages of points for each letter grade. The same method is used for the GPA grading scheme (0.0 tot 4.0).


The problem using a collection of ranges to match a numeric grading standard is unnecessary rounding errors.

Canvas grading scheme ranges


To minimize the rounding errors a 0.0 to 10.0 scale needs 101 ranges to be defined:

305164_Scales 100 down.png to305165_Scales to 0.png

(these ranges have a margin of 1%)


The big question is, why not eliminate the ranges entirely for number bases grades (even the GPA type could be replaced and setting it up using this feature) and have a direct calculation from points to the the numeric grade:

Canvas grading scheme continuous

Numeric grading standards worldwide

Just to name a few:

  • 0 (low) to 6 (high)
    • Switzerland
  • 0 (low) to 10 (high)
    • Greece
    • Spain
    • Mexico
  • 0 (low) to 20 (high)
    • Belgium
    • France
    • Portugal
  • 7 (low) to 5 (high)
    • Germany (universities)
  • 1 (low) to 5 (high)
    • Croatia
    • Hungary
    • Kosovo
    • Portugal
    • Turkey
  • 1 (low) to 6 (high)
    • Poland
  • 1 (low) to 9 (high)
    • UK
  • 1 (low) to 10 (high)
    • Albania
    • Italy
    • Latvia
    • Lithuania
    • Moldova
    • Netherlands
    • Romania
  • 1 (low) to 12 (high)
    • Ukraine
  • 2 (low) to 5 (high)
    • Russia
  • 2 (low) to 6 (high)
    • Bulgaria
  • 5 (low) to 10 (high)
    • Bosnia
    • Macedonia
    • Serbia
    • Slovenia
  • 5 (low) to 1 (high)
    • Austria
    • Slovakia

(source: Grading systems by country - Wikipedia)

The design of the Min-Max numeric grading scheme

The new Min-Max numeric grading scheme works without ranges, but supports the direct and precise calculation from points to the grade of the selected grading standard. The Min-Max numeric grading scheme applies to the individual assignments (see How do I add a grading scheme to an assignment?) and also to the course level (see How do I add a grading scheme in a course?).

Creating a new Min-Max numeric grading scheme (mock-up)

On account or sub-account level the configuration Min-Max numeric grading scheme can be created by administrators.

Creating / editing the Min-Max numeric grading scheme:

Min-max numeric grading scheme config

Using a created Min-Max numeric grading scheme


In a course, teachers can select the created the Min-Max numeric grading scheme in the assignment settings:

Min-max numeric grading scheme selection

Selecting the Min-Max numeric grading scheme:

Min-max numeric grading scheme view link

Option to create multiple Min-Max numeric grading schemes

It could be beneficial to be able to create multiple Min-Max numeric grading schemes and giving each one a name or title so those names can be selected at Display grade as.

Capabilities and properties of the Min-Max numeric grading scheme

  • Ability to define the range by setting a minimum value (low) and a maximum value (high).
    • 5 (min/low) to 10 (max/high)
    • 5 (min/low) to 1 (max/high)
    • 1 (min/low) to 10 (max/high)
  • Have it accept decimals behind the decimal separator with the options:
    • Setting a limit for the amount of decimals
    • Display of decimals:
      • Automatic
        (e.g. with 2 as limit, entering 7.00 or 7 will show as 7 and entering 6.35 will show 6.35)
      • Fixed amount
        (e.g. with 1 as limit, entering 7 or 7.00 will show as 7.0 and entering 6.35 will show 6.4)
  • Checkbox Limit grade when exceeding total points to keep the grade within the Min and Max.
    (e.g. while grading and more points are given than the total amount of points of the assignment, thus more than 100% of the total points)
  • Use precise rounding methods
    (e.g. when using weighted assignment groups or when using it as course grading scheme)
  • Offer a help text via the question mark icon at Display grade as

Calculation method

If Min < Max  Then

     Student grade = Min + ( Absolute ( Max – Min ) / Total points * Scored points )


     Student grade = Min – ( Absolute ( Max – Min ) / Total points * Scored points )

End if

Display grade = format ( Student grade ; desired decimal count )


Canvas grading scheme examples

Simulation of the Min-Max numeric grading scheme

In the attached Excel sheet you can experiment with the Min-Max numeric grading scheme, by:

  • Setting the assignment points
  • Scored points
  • Amount of decimals
  • Variations in numeric grading standards
  • Seeing the effects of the calculations



Coach Emeritus

Hi  @stelpstra  

I voted this down, so I thought I might explain at least a part of why.  I am far less concerned about the exactness of grade calculation than I am about the fair application of grades regardless of what system is utilized to calculate them.  I note too many faculty struggling with the existing grading schemes, and know that this one would officially "blow their minds".

And also, for the record, my world includes much more than the EU member nations.


Community Champion

You've missed out the UK, well England with its 1-9 scheme. I am also guessing that this scheme could be applied to any non-official numeric standard eg ones that individual schools have that are not state/college/national models.

A huge amount of work and research has gone into this and I am most impressed. Really like the fact that it could appear as an option. If you dont want to use it then dont select it and no-one is forcing you to. There is no reason why it could not be turned on/off at account level if people were really concerned.

Anyway, it is an important feature not available yet and whilst not affecting the world, has considerable impact... 

Coach Emeritus

I see that you get this,  @GideonWilliams  !

My concern is our faculty at my USA school where this type of scale would be very unfamiliar, but some would try it anyways and fail, and our students wouldn't get it etc. etc. etc.

However, as another option, that is sort of okay, but I would still worry about faculty choosing it, but not getting it.

Some nagging critter in the back of my mind (one of many little voices in my head) keeps whispering something about customization of Canvas for EU/UK. I just can't remember well enough to know if it is real. If it is, then perhaps this could be a part of that customization. I know you would have the answer to that, and if so, let me know so I can shut that voice up!

I just know, I don't want my faculty encountering it.


Community Novice

Hi  @stelpstra ,

great work! Well done research and excellent suggestion to have it as an extra grading scheme!


Wilco te Winkel

Product Owner Canvas Erasmus University

Community Champion

I think that the key for explaining this to most US faculty is simply that we assign letter grades at the end of the course rather than numerical grades.  If I select GPA scale as the assignment grading option (which I admit I've never found a reason to try) the grading scheme displayed is the same as the course-wide grading scheme.  We could avoid confusion if this is implemented as an option for a course-wide grading scheme, which only when enabled also becomes an option for grading assignments.

When entering a course-wide grading scheme faculty will be trying to enter the same grading scale they describe in their syllabus, not experimenting with a new canvas grading option.  Many faculty (myself included) don't need to enable the course-wide grading scheme at all.

Community Champion

Removing the absolute value portion returns the same value without needing to check for min < max.

Student grade = Min + ( Max – Min ) / Total points * Scored points

  • If Min < Max, then | max - min | = max - min and so it is added.
  • If Max > Min, then | max - min | = - ( max - min ). I'm still adding, but the value is negative, so I'm really subtracting the same as you.
  • If Max = Min, then max - min = 0 and you get the min = max value. Most people wouldn't do this, but since I was breaking it into cases, I thought I should be complete.
Community Member

Although Canvas offers the feature to change the grading scheme, it does not offer a feature to change the grading scale from anything besides 100 points. There has been a lot of research that suggests that using a 100 point scale is inequitable to students and so I would like to suggest that Canvas allow for users to be able to shift the grading scale away from 100 points if desired. For example, we would like to use a 4 point scale with our students but we are unable to do this based on the current functions of Canvas. Thank you for your consideration of this idea. 

Community Team
Community Team
Status changed to: Archived

Thank you for sharing this idea with the Instructure Community!

The Product Team reviewed all feature proposals recently, and unfortunately, this thread was identified as one that they would not be able to include in their current or future plans. While we appreciate your proposal, we also want to be transparent about the likelihood of something like this making it to production.

Thank you for collaborating, and we hope that you submit another idea in the future!