Treat zeros as ungraded for both teacher and student views

(2)
Choosing for a gradebook to treat ungraded assignments as zeros should set that as the default to the grades view students see.
 

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68 Comments
kmeeusen
Community Champion

They will all scream when their final grade report and official transcripts show a lower grade.

kmeeusen
Community Champion

Samuel:

That is what I do in my own courses, and that is what I advise my faculty - enter a zero at due date. If you accept late submission, you can always change the grade.

reitel
Community Novice

I agree that the "treat ungraded as zero" verbiage is very misleading. I don't understand why this would NOT change the grade students see. Better verbiage would be "preview grades with ungraded as zero."

However, I think the most of the optimal solution is already in-place.  Namely, the "default grade" functionality in the drop down list associate with each grade book entry. It would very easy after entering grades for all submitted assignments to quickly go in a set "default grade" to zero. Which I believe changes only the ungraded assignments to zero (there is also the option to override all grades to the "default" level). Thanks to one of the commenter above for making me aware of the "default" option. . . .

The missing functionality however is for online quizzes or other assignments which are automatically graded by Canvas there should be the option, during the creation of the assignment, to have Canvas assign grade of "zero" after the due date has passed.

These options would make sure that both student and instructor clearly see accurate representations of a students current grade in the course!

The fact the Canvas makes it nearly impossible for instructors to quickly see the grade same grade calculation resutls that students see is alarming (the only way I know of is to export grades to export grades to excel, even then the results seem inconsistent). 

JACOBSEN_C
Community Contributor

An issue stemming from this came up again today; students were seeing a grade that differed from what the instructor was seeing.  Ultimately, these two numbers need to be the same, or it otherwise needs to be immediately apparent to students and teachers what number the other is working with.

kmatson
Community Explorer

Yes this treat has burned us. We want the 0's to be filled in and thought they were until we read the fine print that is was a treat and not real. It is misleading.

Karen

iys2
Community Explorer

Clint, I too agree with you and many others on this idea. We are currently in the process of transitioning our courses to Canvas from ANGEL and this was an option we were able to set in ANGEL as well "Treat Ungraded Items as Zeros." This was actually a Best Practice that we implemented as in many cases, instructors would forget to add "0s" to grades and/or would have to add "0s" manually if forgetting to set this or not knowing that the feature even existed. We actually just had a team meeting about this last week and now our Best Practice in Canvas is to NOT set select the "Treat Ungrade as 0" option in Canvas due to the way it currently functions. We are also communicating this out to our instructors so they are aware of the situation.

Can someone please (1.) look into this as enabling this feature to function so that instructors do not need to manually add "0s" to the gradebook would be beneficial (for example we have courses that have hundreds of students enrolled)? In other areas of the university, there could be thousands of students enrolled. As you can imagine this is a very inefficient process for instructors, TAs, and course design teams. (2.) Enabling the feature so that it functions/displays the same way for both instructors and students would eliminate confusion and problems with grade conflicts.

A big thanks goes out to see that you are still gathering information on this idea!

kmatson
Community Explorer

Great points Louise.

dburdick
Community Novice

A further wrinkle on this. I noticed in my course this semester (Spring 2016) that "treat ungraded as zero" had turned off twice during the semester. The first time I thought it was my mistake but after the second time I suspect it may have something to do with default settings being reinstalled during new builds. I turned it on again, and alerted our faculty, but it is now the last week of the semester and some students who would have otherwise withdrawn may now flunk their courses. Our faculty members, of course, are not pleased with the situation.

awilliams
Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Hey  @dburdick ​

Since the "treat ungraded as zero" feature is currently just for faculty view, how would the on or off state of this setting have influenced student decisions?

To your question about the setting coming unchecked, even though it doesn't state it in How do I treat ungraded assignments as zero in the Gradebook? this gradebook setting is stored in browser cache so if your faculty use a different computer, browser, or clear their browser cache the setting will revert back to the off state.

If your faculty are using this feature for anything other than a temporary and hypothetical view of what students grades would be if they entered zeros for unsubmitted work, then that is a serious misuse of the feature. We have struggled with this and send out emails throughout the semester and post things in our Teaching and Learning Center reminding faculty to enter zeros.

dburdick
Community Novice

As to the student decisions, wouldn't the "what if" function for students to calculate their grades take the "treat ungraded as zero" into consideration?

For the browser possibility, I don't think that was it. It happened in my course and I only use Firefox and never clear my cache.

As for entering zeros, are you saying that the function is well-known to not work? Why would using that feature be a serious misuse?

abates
Community Novice

Because that view doesn't translate to the student view, which is the real issue with this feature. The view is user-specific. If the teacher turns it on, he/she is the only one that sees its effects.

Stef_retired
Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

 @dburdick , to elaborate on what awilliams​ has stated, actually, the guide to which he linked is clear on this:

As an instructor, you can view student grades as if all ungraded assignments as worth zero points in the Gradebook. This feature called Treat Ungraded as 0 is located in the Gradebook Settings and is only a visual change that does not actually affect any grades—it only helps you see the change in Gradebook calculations if ungraded assignments were given scores of zero. Enabling this option has no effect outside of the Gradebook; students cannot see any difference in their grade pages.

It's not that it's "well-known to not work"; it's that that's how it is designed to work. Enabling the "treated ungraded as 0" option in the Gradebook is a teacher-only view-only setting--a hypothetical.

There's a completely different way of assigning zeros in the Gradebook, and that's to assign default grades for each assignment column. You'll find that described in How do I set a default grade for an Assignment? . This allows teachers to bulk-enter zeros for all students who haven't already received a grade, and that's how teachers can convey missed assignments and zero grades to students, because those zeros are indeed entered in the Gradebook and students will see the impact of those zeros on their course grades--something they won't see if the teacher simply enables the "treat ungraded as 0" setting in his or her own Gradebook.

So as Adam said, if your teachers are enabling "Treat ungraded as 0" in their Gradebook views and think those are the grades their students are seeing, they are misusing the feature. It's just a toggle.

kmeeusen
Community Champion

Very nice explanation stefaniesanders​!

dburdick
Community Novice

Aha! That makes sense, but it certainly isn't intuitive for faculty.

1086095
Community Novice

It would also be very helpful and appreciated if the verbiage could make clear that this setting is per-user in addition to being per-session, and that if there are rules in a course's assignment groups, it could cause confusion among course instructors.

PSU_Tony
Community Contributor

Very helpful Stefanie! Thanks.

PSU_Tony
Community Contributor

One thing that really concerns me about this going forward is that I have not had anyone confirm for me that this intended feature (unintended intended as I call them) will be changed in the revamped gradebook that is on Canvas Studio's roadmap. Does anyone know if that will be fixed on that?

Stef_retired
Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

 @PSU_Tony , the community managers are great about responding to the comments in these threads. Nevertheless, you might want to re-post your question (perhaps with a link to this feature idea) in the comments section of Canvas Studio: Gradebook Enhancements , where it will get the direct attention of the product manager for that project.

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team

Hi Anthony

The "under consideration" label is about as close as we can come to confirming that this will be part of the Gradebook Enhancements project.   The product team is genuinely 'considering' it as they plan and scope the project.

sharon_elin
Community Novice

This is a feature that has already been discussed, but, in my opinion, it has been diverted from its original intention in several responses along the way in the thread. I would like to add my own opinion and I apologize if I'm repeating someone else's points.

I am coming at this from a K12 perspective -- I don't know if most people here are Higher Ed, and if so, their students are more mature and able to handle their grades on their own, so this issue may not be as important to them.

For K12 online courses, it would be helpful if the instructor had the option to set the grade book -- or each assignment -- to display as a "running total" (ignoring zeros) OR as an "actual grade" that calculates with the zeros, and NOT give control to the students.

In our K-12 online program, we need to set the grade book to count missing assignments as zero globally and lock it that way so that students cannot change it; that way, they are not misled with a false sense of security. At their level of learning, it helps the students to see their actual grade, with the zero values factored in.

     For example, if a student has completed 3 out of 15 assignments and received 100% on all 3, but has not received zeros for the other 12 uncompleted assignments, he or she sees a grade of 100% A. That is not realistic.

We have learned the hard way that young students do not intuitively know how to navigate and understand an online instructional course, especially interpreting a grade book, which they have never done before, typically. We try to scaffold the environment to prevent problems and misconceptions, and teach them skills like this gradually so they aren't overwhelmed with the online experience. By counting missing assignments as zeros, they see their grades climb as the term progresses as long as they are submitting work. It stays low if they don't. Simple.

We migrated from Blackboard, which offered this option. It's frustrating not to have it in Canvas.

Thanks for reading. I feel better now.