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Release Feedback and Marks (Grades) separately (Assignments)

Release Feedback and Marks (Grades) separately (Assignments)

This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas
For details, please read through the Canvas Release Notes (2020-01-18) 


All research on feedback indicates that it's most effective when not accompanied by marks (grades) (Dylan Wiliam, most notably).

When making assignments, I would like to be able to return Marks (Grades) and Comments/Feedback separately after marking. Could the mute function be configured to allow to mute/unmute these individually rather than together?

16 Comments
jane_ritalampi
Community Member

Started to use canvas in class with both 11 and 10, took a bit to get use too but my students especially y10 were tech savvy and we sorted everything out, like the new platform, keen to learn more 

adam_engel
Surveyor II

I originally submitted this as a support ticket, then was told to make it a feature request, and then was told to put it here. Hopefully someone reads it!

To unpack the issue raised by the original poster further:

Before the release of the New Gradebook, during the much-simpler era of muting assignments, a teacher could mute an assignment and submit only inline annotations or general comments in SpeedGrader (leaving the numerical grade field blank). When the teacher unmuted the assignment, students would then be able to view their feedback, even if no grades had been entered for anyone.

 

With Grade Posting Policies, this is no longer the case. If an assignment is set to a "Manual" posting policy, and the teacher submits comments but no numerical grades, the "Post Grades" option in the gradebook and SpeedGrader does not become clickable. Until this button is clicked, students cannot view any feedback. Therefore, there is no way to submit feedback to students without grades anymore. This is problematic from both a functional and philosophical perspective.

 

The functional use-cases for posting feedback without grades are:

  • A teacher wants to provide feedback and then allow a period for revision and re-submission before giving a grade.
  • A teacher wants to provide feedback first and let students digest it, saving grades for later when they're less distracting.
  • A teacher wants to use Speedgrader to give feedback and commentary only, without grades. The Canvas Inbox, which support suggested to me, doesn't offer anywhere near the same utility as Speedgrader for giving feedback.

 

Philosophically, this unbreakable association between grades and feedback:

  • Denies instructors the choice of grading holistically.
  • Renders ongoing processes of revision impossible.
  • Prevents instructors from staggering the release of feedback and grades in the way they want to, which is the point of the tool.

 

The only workarounds are:

  • Ask the teacher to assign a numerical grade to their course's Test Student, which makes the Post Grades button live and allows the teacher to post feedback without grades.
  • Set the assignment to an "Automatic" posting policy before entering anything. Enter feedback, and students can view it. Before entering grades, change the policy to "Manual" and the feedback will remain visible.

 

It has felt awful to ask these workarounds of our faculty who have been so happy with muting and releasing feedback in the past. This is a step backward from the previous workflow of simply unmuting an assignment to release any grades or feedback that are available. I would like the ability to post feedback without any numerical grades to be restored, either as a function of the "Post Grades" button or as a separate, dedicated "Post Feedback" button.

RobDitto
Navigator

adam_engel, thank you for sharing this. We face the same issues at our institution, with one difference: our support ticket about remains On Hold and was given an issue number. 

If you can ask for your support case to be reopened (or followed up in some way), feel free to mention our case number 04599833 ("New Gradebook Post Policies: Cannot release Assignment Comments without first entering grade"). 

adam_engel
Surveyor II

You're welcome, and will do!

lauren_sayer
Surveyor

Have voted on this.  This is core to giving good feedback and we would love to do this.  We have logged this feature with our CSM as well 

Stefanie
Community Team
Community Team
Comments from Instructure

For assignments with a manual posting policy, comments can be posted without requiring a grade. This functionality is now available in the Canvas beta environment. For details, please read through the Canvas Release Notes (2020-01-18) 

h_carmichael
Surveyor

Hi stefaniesanders‌,

I just have a few questions in relation to this:

Is what has been released so far a first stage of development for this idea? 

Will this encompass annotations?

I ask because our Academics would like the option of entering comments / grades at the same time and have the ability to release feedback separately from grades, which, would be released at a later stage.

Benefits are:

  • Students will get their feedback in a timely manner and not need to wait for ratification of grades.
  • This will save time as staff will not have to go back and enter grades at a later stage (which would be required in order to release timely feedback)
  • Reduce risk of error as grades will not need to be recorded separately before being entered / imported into Canvas.

Thanks,

Helen

Stefanie
Community Team
Community Team

 @h_carmichael , the new capability currently in beta is specific to Speedgrader submission comments and will not include DocViewer annotations. If this additional functionality is something you'd like to see, please share it as a new idea (How do I create a new feature idea in the Canvas Community?‌)

h_carmichael
Surveyor

Thanks for clarifying Stefanie, it was just that the mute / unmute being separated out that Tim raised in this idea here would have covered what we needed, that's why I was confused. I'll raise a new idea.

Thanks,

Helen

Stefanie
Community Team
Community Team
Stefanie
Community Team
Community Team
This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas

For assignments with a manual posting policy, comments can be posted without requiring a grade. For details, please read through the Canvas Release Notes (2020-01-18) 

Stefanie
Community Team
Community Team
Comments from Instructure

timothy.french6 Thank You for sharing this idea, as well as jane.ritalampi Thank You adam_engel Thank You  @RobDitto  Thank You  @lauren_sayer  Thank You for your contributions. Your investment in this idea helped refine a feature that is now part of Canvas!

liamstakelum
Surveyor

Hi Stefanie, 

The way I read this, it means teachers can not put a grade AND a comment, and only release the comment? I am trying to find a way to limit how much extra work teachers will need to do. Posting only a comment, and then coming back later to put the grades in is  "double-dipping". Do you know if there is a way to input everything into the speedgrader (grade/score, comment, rubric) and then release only the comment?

Stefanie
Community Team
Community Team

 @liamstakelum ‌, the functionality as designed allows the instructor to release comments for submissions that have not been assigned grades, or to release comments along with posted grades. The feature idea requesting additional granularity is currently active at https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/15738-post-annotations-and-grades-separately" modifiedtitle="t....

liamstakelum
Surveyor

Thanks Stefanie,

In trawling through the threads about this issue, it seems like it has been a request for a while now. How likely is it to get any traction? How many  "votes" does it need before it is considered?

My worry with the work around is that it doesn't actually show an understanding of the teaching and marking process used by most teachers. Adding further steps into the cycle would more than likely prevent it being taken up by teachers,

Stefanie
Community Team
Community Team

Hi,  @liamstakelum ‌, ideas are prioritized according to the process outlined in https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-14905-75187841185 and  How does the feature idea process work in the Canvas Community?‌, and there is no absolute vote total that moves an idea into consideration.