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Rubric option to subtract points for late work.

Rubric option to subtract points for late work.


I would like to have the option to add a row in the rubric to subtract points for work being late.


There  is not  a way that I have come up with to do that.  I tried creating a rubric with minus points; that didn't work.

In the quizzes, there is a calculation that can be made using the fudge box at the end of the quiz.  I can enter minus points and then the calculation is automatically done when the score updates. It seems something similar should work in a rubric.

The row, in my imagination, would look something  like this and it would be the last row in the rubric:

Late work   Does not apply  Grace Period     1 day late       2 days late      3 days late    additions day late  

                             0                         0                -5 points        -10 points       -15 points       -5 per day

Or, maybe, simply:

Late work    Minus 5% per day.

It's a computer, there has to be an easy way for a computer to do that simple calculation automatically when given the conditions to do it; however, this is not my field of study so I could be completely wrong. 


Great idea,‌. It seems like some of the Rubric feature ideas are currently in Product Radar 

so maybe this could be bundled into their Rubric rework as well?

I remembered seeing a conversation about this very topic from so for whatever its worth :Rubric with Negative Points

Community Team
Community Team

My question would be, does it need to be at the rubric level.  Would something like that is built into the submission, or gradebook, be a solution?

Learner II

This would be nice because I could see other reasons why one might want to be able to deduct points when using a rubric in addition to late work. For example, I expect students to submit many of their assignments as Google Docs shared using Link Sharing with "can edit" turned on. Being able to deduct points when this is not done (without giving out "free" points for everyone that does it) would help to better enforce the expectation.

My current rubrics tend to be 5/4/2/0 (All/most/some/none) Accuracy and 5/4/2/0 Explanation/Justification (these are for math problems where they need to explain their process and justify their answer). It would be nice to be able to add a third line for "follows course submission expectations" 0/-1/-2 for whether or not they've turned things in correctly. (I don't want to give everyone 2 points for turning in a totally unrelated Google Doc with the correct settings, so I don't want to change my other 2 categories to be 4/3/2/0 and add a "course expectations" category with 2/1/0 (all/some/none), which is the only way to do this right now.)

Community Member

Linnea, I understand you comments. However, I have found it useful to use a line in the rubric for meets expectations and another for meets requirements

  • Requirements includes correct format for the assignment and following directions to submit the document (Word.doc, APA style formatting for essays, other formatting for other kinds of assignments).  
  • Expectations, I use for elements related to grammar, logical organization, punctuation, spelling, word choice, and the like. I don't teach composition, however, passing a composition course is a prerequisite for the course I teach.  Work is evaluated on those elements.

They are graded on

  • Meets requirements/expectations  (30 points - A work)
  • Meets most...(26 points - B work)
  • Meets some...(22 points - C work)
  • Needs improvement  (18 points - D work)

A zero can be earned but usually if there is an  attempt at meeting expectations  or requirements some points are earned. These two categories are equally weighted for grading and together are 60 points of 200 possible. 

What I am wanting added is a line that will show the points deducted for being submitted late.  I like the ideas suggesting calculating a percentage but, the idea of deducting points is fine, too.

Community Member

I would agree with Linnea - That this functionality should be open. There are a number of reasons one might want to subtract points from a score and limit the number of points subtracted.  For example, you might subtract 1 point for each spelling error up to -5 points.  Or you might wish to subtract 5 points for not meeting a "number of posts" requirement in a discussion (or first post by Wednesday).  Rubrics are a powerful tool that I am busily convincing faculty to adopt, and I would really like to see this additional functionality that would make it even more powerful.

Community Coach
Community Coach


I already do this with rubrics using a very simple work-round. I created a criteria for "Timely Submission" with only two rating levels: Submitted by due date = 5 points, Not submitted by due date = 0 points. Essentially, I have made timely submission a component of the grade to be earned, rather than a subtraction from the grade earned for all other criteria.

I like that this is positive-centric rather than negative-centric, but then we all have our own ways of teaching and our own needs.

I hope this helps,

Agent K

Community Member

Thanks, Kelley! I can certainly see the point, but our faculty does not want to give points for meeting this particular requirements.  They are working with future nurses and wish to stress that you will not get rewarded for meeting expectations but will have consequences for not meeting them.   I think when you are educating persons going into a field where the consequences of not playing by the rules can cause death (potentially) you have a somewhat different perspective.

Community Coach
Community Coach


I also teach for health career programs, and my perspective is to make the expected behaviors a requirement - reward when they meet the requirement, punish when they don't, and for the same exact reason; people's health and well being are at stake.

Just different approaches to the same overall philosophy!

Agent K


Thanks, you almost convinced me to vote for the idea. For now, I'm going to hold off and see how it develops.

It reminds me of the workflow Avi Naiman described when we first started working on QuizWiz together. He likes to start with full points and take off points for things missed, rather than awarding points for things done right -- and he wanted things to default to being full points, that is, he didn't want to have to click to set the full points. I can see how some might appreciate a similar negated approach to Rubrics. About the closest thing you could do for now is to not check the box that allows you to use the rubric for grading and then manually decide on a grade based on all of the little things that people have checked off as being wrong with the assignment. 

From a technical perspective, the code for Canvas blocks any negative values in rubrics. Actually, you can go down to -1, but I think that's more a programming logic error that a conscious decision to allow negative points, but only down to -1, and so I don't recommend people use it.  If this current feature idea does go into production, someone be sure to let me know so I can update the rubric importer I wrote as right now, it makes sure that no rubric values are negative. I have not looked at any of the logic in Canvas to know if having a negative value would cause problems. However, enough of them would cause you to throw the entire assignment into negative points. I think that was another feature request somewhere as well, I just can't find it right now.

Back in Sep 2015, there was a feature idea about rubrics:" modifiedtitle="true" title="*Rubric scoring is inaccurat...  (it's now in cold storage). There was an interesting discussion that followed where you (Kelley) and Jared Stein chimed in.

Community Coach
Community Coach

OMG, James, I hope you found that old post in a current search and are not referencing it from memory! If the later, then I am totally humiliated and ready to retire to a dementia care center. Of course, now I have to go check that one, and see what I said.

Because there is, to me, an acceptable dichotomy in the two approaches to the same grading philosophy, I could support this FI also, but...............

I really like to be careful with the core Canvas functionality to avoid feature bloat like some LMSs.

Agent K