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Retain dropped student information

Retain dropped student information


When a student drops a class in Canvas all their user data is removed including assignments they submitted, analytics, etc. If this were a physical course an instructor would still have access to that student's grade thus far in the course. Being able to see a student's attendance and previous work is important for many instructors' records, including my own.

I'm also concerned that all messages to and from the student are also deleted. This kind of correspondence with students who are at-risk of dropping or failing the class is very important to retain and review as needed both for instructors, students, and counselors.

Finally, if a student retakes my class down the line after dropping I would like to have access to their previously submitted assignments so I know they aren't submitting work from their first attempt at the class and plagiarizing themselves. dropped student

record of assignments‌analytics participation‌plagiarism prevention‌attendance reports‌deleted message‌

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

I agree.   It's a pain to have to manually re-enroll a student (who was dropped via SIS), in order to "salvage" their work, submissions, feedback, grades, etc.

From  one of our teachers:  "LOSING STUDENT DATA: I am still bothered that students who may have been dropped OR switched my course from one period to another, the current grades disappear and there is no way to recover it unless someone reactivates the student's account in the course.  Synergy allows teachers to make a dropped student's info "active" so you can at least see what was their last grade or add a missing assignment so the student receives the most accurate grade possible when transferring. This should not be a difficult feature to add so we always have this option to see "dropped or withdrawn" students in our grade books, so other teachers can receive their most current grade."

Explorer III

I'm honestly surprised the issue of dropped students' access to their former course's data has not come up more in the Canvas Community. This idea is the only one I've found on the subject. Perhaps there's another out there with keywords I've been ignoring?

This is not an insignificant issue for my institution, and we'd like to hear how others are handling this access in terms of workarounds, if not movement by Instructure on some kind of limited access to content submitted by dropped students.

Community Member

That's a good point about retaining messages between staff and students. IIRC, that info is subject to FOIA requests, and I can imagine a school district bumping into trouble if that info goes missing.

Adventurer III

Our K-12 district runs into this quite a bit. We have a rule in our SIS that withdraws students from the Canvas course 5 days after the SIS leave date. This is to allow time to download grades reports for transfer paperwork, but sometimes this isn't taken care of in the 5-day window and that data is lost. I then get the request from the schools to re-enroll the student so grades can be pulled. I've thought about changing withdrawn students' statuses from "delete" to "completed" in the enrollment csv. Teachers would than be able to pull up past grades, and the new gradebook lets you hide completed students from your roster so that the interface isn't cluttered with withdrawn students. The "completed" label however, isn't an accurate description of what happened to that student. Has anyone used the completed status with their withdrawn students?

Learner II

We solved this by using and defining in our SIS to the active, deleted, and inactive enrollment types. We are not using the "concluded" status.

  • We only send the "delete" if a student drops a course section prior to the first day of classes.
  • After that we mark the student "inactive" if they drop during ad/drop or withdraw for any reason.

You can see what an inactive status does on Canvas Enrollment Status Comparison page.

Navigator II

During drop/add, I have had students drop one section of a course, only to add another section of the same course that meets at a different time.  They expect their grades to carry over from the first week or so, however canvas leaves me no record of what those grades were, or even which section the students were in.  If faculty could see deleted enrollment grades in a state similar to concluded enrollment grades, we would be able to support those drop/add transfers.


This issue is something we have struggled with as well. We have students move from one section to another on a regular basis throughout the year due to scheduling issues. As others have said, students are losing all previous feedback, submissions, and data associated with that enrollment. I'd agree with‌ that this could easily become an issue with FOIA requests if the request includes messages to a student that was removed from a course. 

Navigator II

In a related issue, the students who add late may be excused from certain missed assignments or offered a make-up.  It would help to know exactly when students who add after the course start date were first added to the canvas class list: 

Surveyor II

I literally just have had three teachers come and ask me this question about seeing work form a student that has had a schedule change. They were not able to access the grades entered in Canvas and therefore not able to assign the grades needed for the new class.  Another instance there was a group project where the student moved to another school and was removed from the SIS system and that student submitted all the work for the group. It is now gone. 

Explorer III

Perhaps dropped student info could be automatically stored in a zip file for a limited time, like course export packages.