# 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.

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Community Participant

That wouldn't work for everyone. We have a 1 mark penalty per 100 word grouping for those outside of the allocated word count range. Some students will be substantially under or over this. So either there wouldn't be enough points to subtract from that element of the rubric, or the rubric would allocate far too many points to students that simply adhere to the word count.

Adjusting the gradebook will not provide students with appropriate feedback. They need to see that they were penalised, and why. Of course a work around is to do this, but it's a clunky option. Having the functionality to do this in speedgrader would be far more efficient, and allow for effective teacher to student communication.

Community Champion

I have been able to add an indication of negative points to the rubric, but it only goes down to -1.  It works like this:

Timeliness:  early (extra credit)  on time    1 day late (-10 points)  2 days late (-20 points)  3 days late (not accepted)

10 points                 0 points    -1 point                        -1 point                            -1 point

When I grade with the rubric I manually add the deduction to that category of the rubric, and the computer does the rest of the math.  When grading the points are not limited, however the computer cannot match the -10 points I enter to the 1 day late rubric comment.  I re-enter that manually as well.

Really adding it to the rubric is helpful because it makes the policy clear to the students.  It would be more clear if the rubric was not limited to -1.

New Member

We totally need this feature via rubrics that allow negative points for us who grade some components by deductions. This is completely valid grading technique when students meet certain process expectations get no extra points, but incur penalties when they don't. Right now it's not possible (-1 is allowed, I think a bug), but when saved, is truncated to 0. Canvas' lack of knowledge of basic educational strategies drives me nuts, reflected in totally in unnecessary/artificial restrictions placed on some features. I miss Blackboard despite it's clunky UI.

Community Participant

My university is moving from a homegrown system to Canvas. However, lacking this particular feature is going to drive some of the faculty nuts. We just recently built the ability to have negative criteria in general, as well as a default negative row that conforms to the university's policy for late work (-10% per day up to 3 days). It would be very helpful to get this feature added to Canvas.

Community Participant

If you use the New Gradebook, you can set up a late policy. This will automatically subtract whatever penalty you impose to the late submission. 🙂

Having said that, a negative row would be amazing for other issues.

New Member

I think this feature is really needed for various penalties/chores other than late penalties (e.g. failure to fill out peer evaluation, for which one doesn't want to award explicit points, but only apply a deduction). Grading by deductions is a common and accepted strategy. It's also simple change.

Community Champion

I agree. I deduct 3 points if students don't follow certain directions about how to submit assignments (I've determined through trial and error that 3 points is a big enough incentive that most will re-submit the assignment to fix the issue since it takes them only a minute or two to do so, without ruining the grade of those who don't), but I don't want to give everyone 3 points just for turning in the assignment correctly.

Community Participant

I have not read all the comments, but this is something I also like to do (not for being late - I just put minus points in a "late penalty" assignment column). But I do deduct points for other reasons. How I have incorporated this into rubrics is to include a criteria that amounts to 50% of the grade (what I call the "fair F") this column then allows me to "deduct" points based on each level being 10% fewer points than the next one up. So the last criteria might be 50 points (if no deduction is given), 40 points (= -10 points) for the paper being 10% short of the required word count (for instance), 30 points (= -20 points) for being 20% short of the required word count, etc.

This has worked well for me. Except in for one assignment where I deduct points for multiple infractions. I have only figured out how to deduct points for a single infraction/criteria. If a paper has multiple infractions where the deductions are then cumulative, that gets too complicated for the current rubric set up.

Community Champion

This approach really just says "50% of your grade comes from..." timeliness/wordcount/etc...

That's fine if that's how you want to grade.  To apply your solution to more than 1 penalty criteria, you can just add a list to the long description part of the rubric:

• 50 points (full credit): Word count and timeliness as assigned
• 40 points (-10%): Word count up to 10% short OR submission up to 1 day late
• 30 points (-20%): 2 penalties for word count and/or timeliness
• 20 points (-30%): 3 penalties for word count and/or timeliness

When I assign a penalty rather than working with positive points, I add describe the penalty in the zero point category of a criteria.  If you read through the comments above you will see a more detailed solution I used to use, however no sooner did I post it than the function was removed.  When actually grading the rubric you can still enter a negative number manually.

However, for timeliness specifically, there is now a late penalty policy you can turn on in the new gradebook.  That way it does not need to be a part of any rubric.

Community Participant

Hmm, Steven, thanks for the idea.

I actually have SIX issues that can combine to deduct points on this one assignment (no more than 50% total deduction, at which point the student is asked to "redo and resubmit").

I can see comments for each column in the "infraction" criteria referencing the multiple considerations: "one infraction" "two infractions" "three infractions" etc... Plus the degree of each infraction is also considered (20% short of word count would = 2 infractions = -20%)

The rubrics do also allow for additional comments to be added, so as to make clear to the student which infractions or combination of infractions are being deducted for.

New Member

I don't understand the pushback here by Canvas. It's not helpful at all. Negative grading (or grading by deductions) is a completely legitimate and accepted strategy, and several tools (like Gradescope and Blackboard) support it. Of course one can reverse-engineer (a super clumsy) positive grading rubric (I believe Steven's example qualifies), but that's not the point: some educators combine positive and negative grading to separate infractions from accomplishments so that they are explicit both both students and instructors. In Steven's example, one must keep track of and accumulate the combination of infractions and corresponding total deductions. For 3 infractions, we would have: A alone gets 90%, B alone gets 90%, C alone gets 80%, A and B together get 80%, A and C together get 70%, B and C together get 70%, A and B and C get 60%. What would happen if you have 10 infractions with different penalties? Who would want to use a tool like this when the solution is super simple (both conceptually and from a software engineering perspective -- yes, I am a software engineer): just allow negative point in rubrics! I really can't believe we are having this discussion.

Community Champion

Hi Hakan,

I don't actually work for canvas, I was only offering Laura a solution to the problem she presented.  Laura specified she intentionally dedicates 50% of the grade to a positive point set from which to deduct points for a given infraction, and she needed a way to include multiple infractions.  As long as all the possible infractions have the same degree of penalty it is not as complicated as you describe.  A, B or C alone has a 10% penalty, any combination of two has a 20% penalty, any combination of 3 has a 30% penalty, etc all deducted from the initial 50% criterion dedicate to the purpose. With each penalty counting at 10%, this imposes a limit of 5 penalties actually applied to any one submission, however this seems to be an intentional part of Laura's grading model.  There is no requirement that we all grade the same way.

Personally, I prefer to dedicate 100% of the points in my rubric to positive point grading, and I would find 50% of the positive points gave too much weight to these infractions, making them seem more important than the actual assignment requirements.  I use negative points for those infractions instead.  The key is to type the penalties into the rubric during grading when they apply.  The criterion only needs a zero point category detailing the potential for negative points.  When there are multiple possible infractions, I have multiple criterion in which to type the negative points.  This is what works for me, while we wait for canvas to allow negative points in the rubric.

With that said, I am entirely in favor of finding a solution for this that works without any of these work-arounds.  Since I am not a software-engineer, but rather a history teacher, I cannot design a solution beyond a work-around. I need the work-arounds in order for my classes to function in the immediate semester, because I have to keep teaching whether or not the software-engineers have provided a solution.

Community Participant

Steven, I was not aware that we could enter negative points for any given rubric criteria. I tried it and it works! Thanks for pointing that out. I will try revising my rubrics to allow an additional criteria for "deductions" and comments on what the deduction(s) might be for.

Community Member

We are really in need of this feature. We do a lot of performance assessments and we need a mechanism to account for performance according to criteria but also how many attempts it took someone to meet competency. Negative points would allow us to assign "0" for 1st attempt, "-5" for 2nd attempt,  . . . so on and so forth while simultaneously keeping track of all the performance competencies. We have tried numerous times to find some other work around but nothing is a simple as just having the ability to assign negative points. Pleas make this possible!

New Member

Apologies Steven for assuming you worked for Canvas. Yes your workaround is totally adequate when infractions have the same penalty. Right now Canvas rubrics (sometimes) allow -1 to be assigned to a rubric row -- but I think this is bug rather than a feature since it doesn't work all the time and if I enter anything other than -1, it's corrected back to 0. I am really quite puzzled why Canvas doesn't just allow this after so much discussion -- clearly it's already in there, all they need to do is remove the useless and misguided checks that forbid negative points in the rubrics and let the instructors decide.

Canvas has some arbitrary strange restrictions, and this is just one of many. Another example is showing question details in a quiz only if it has 25 or fewer questions. Showing question details is very convenient when maintaining a quiz. The arbitrary limit, I assume, is imposed to reduce render time: however well-intentioned, it's terribly misguided. They could let instructors decide to turn off "show details" on their own if render time is unacceptable (there is already a checkbox for that), rather than force them to devise weird workarounds (e.g., I now try to keep my quizzes to fewer than 26 questions artificially, sometimes by combining questions). This attitude drives me crazy: it's an attitude that treats instructors as babies who can't decide for themselves by considering their own tradeoffs.

Community Champion

This attitude drives me crazy: it's an attitude that treats instructors as babies who can't decide for themselves by considering their own tradeoffs.

I also disapprove of that attitude, however I'm not sure canvas is the source.  Every so often I see comments from instructional designers saying something to the effect of, "I don't want my faculty to have this option," or "Faculty won't be able/willing to learn that."  If most instructors delegate interacting with canvas to instructional designers, then we shouldn't be surprised that functions preferred by instructional designers are favored over those they discourage.  Ideally instructional designers would focus their advice on creating an online environment that duplicates as much as possible the time tested face-to-face classroom models that reflect the pedagogy of the relevant disciplines and instructors, not restricting options in order to influence pedagogy in discsiplines other than those their own.  That's why I try to offer work-arounds that suggest ways to get canvas to do whatever it is that is an instructor is aiming for.  The tools of the online environment should not dictate our teaching and grading styles.

Every so often, I wonder about that 25 question limit, and I've assumed it was just an artifact of an older program.  After all, most websites that limit the length of a list simply offer a next button to get to the rest of the list.  Without "show details" checked, when you open a question for editing, you cannot fully read the multiple choice options without scrolling a single line sideways, and so there is no good way to review longer quizzes without taking the quiz in preview mode or as a test student.  Ideas for improving old quizzes are no longer being considered, but if you find the same limitation in new quizzes, you might add a new idea.  Even just shifting the "show details" check box to the top of assignment groups would help.  We could create as many assignment groups as needed to limit each group to 25 questions, if necessary to allow the display of question details.

In the case of negative points in rubrics, the key is simply to skip grading by clickable rubric cells for that criterion.  As you grade, you can scroll to the right in any rubric criterion and type any number at all.  Nothing you type there while grading will be reset to zero, and so the deduction works even if the rubric cannot be pre-programmed to match.

New Member

I just want a criteria that I can take away points for certain behaviors either appearing or not appearing. I have items that are required, and there should be a penalty if missing; however, they should not be in the rubric points as a positive which may inflate the grade.  Just need to make the levels in the rubric accept a negative value and deduct points instead of adding them.  - Please do this.

Community Participant

if a "penalty for missing" means the student gets zero points for that criteria, can just type in a zero for that criteria (instead of selecting the rating box)

If you mean you want to actually give minus points for leaving something out, someone in above comments did suggest can enter the points with a minus sign in front. (though I have not tried this myself).

Still, it would be nice and easier to have a criteria for negative points.

New Member

Hi Laura,

Yes, in the past it seemed to work to put in negative points in the rubric grading levels, however now it is not working.  It will not accept a negative number and converts my negative points to zero.  I just added the points deduction indication to the title and description of the grading level and will have manually deduct the points from the score.  Just annoying to have to take extra steps to grading which is already a time consuming process when done at scale.