late penalty behavior


Here are two scenarios. The first one happened to my student, the second (or something like the second) happened to a student of @bstrickl . In both, the student was given multiple attempts on the quiz and the setting was for the highest score to be the one that counts.

(1) The student took the quiz before the due date and scored a 10/10. After the due date, because he had an attempt remaining, he took it again (in preparation for a test). He scored below 10/10, but the late penalty was applied to the 10/10, and so now his grade on this quiz is lower than it was when he did it before the due date.

(2) The student took the quiz before the due date and scored an 8/10. After the due date, because he had an attempt remaining, he took it again (in preparation for a test). He scored a 10/10, but with the penalty applied to this 10/10, his grade on this quiz is now lower than it was when he did it before the due date.

So, I can see that---at least to all appearances---Canvas, first, takes the highest score from all of the attempts and then applies the late penalty to that attempt (no matter when it occurred). However, the correct behavior, I think, is, first, to apply the penalty to late attempts (and not to on-time attempts), and then select the highest score.

Community Participant

Yep! We're now having to adjust a course setup on the fly to avoid the issue as we can't manually fix this for over 500 students.

Community Team
Community Team
Status changed to: Open
Community Participant

This is a critical failure of the canvas system! This system fault prevents and discourages students from practicing or resubmitting work after due dates. This effects student success. 

if you use any sort of external tool for student evaluation, make sure you have the canvas late penalty, and auto grade for missing assignments, turned off!

It just makes no sense. Why should a student be penalized for practicing after the due date? I hope this error was a coding mistake and not a well through out policy to penalize students’ past work. Is a fix on the canvas roadmap?


Community Explorer

 I give students multiple attempts for assignments. I agree that late credit should only be applied  to attempt made after the due date. If the highest score was earned before it’s due, then no late credit should be automatically applied.

This allows students to use additional  attempt  to study without  having to be penalized.


Community Participant

Just had a faculty member contact me:

Her quiz is set to allow 2 attempts and keep the highest. Her Gradebook is set to exact a late penalty.

A student took a quiz and scored 15/20. Took the quiz again, after the Due date, and scored 17/20. Canvas chose the 17 as the highest score and sent that to the Gradebook. The Gradebook levied the late penalty and logged an 11/20 for the student (17 minus the late penalty).

I understand the logical flow here; but the student should have been given their highest score, the score that was submitted before the Due date!

I called support and they confirmed this logical flow is exactly how things are intended to work. But this is a bug not a feature and it screams out for a fix.

Community Participant

Yes, agreed. One solution is to use the Canvas APIs and build out a script to manually apply late penalties. Also allows for some additional feedback and customization on how late penalties work (in my case I apply an inverse exponential that takes off marks to a maximum of 60% at infinite time, has some bugs, but means I don't auto zero grades that are 5 days late)

Community Explorer

Hi Cameron,

Is this a possible solution for Canvas to do or for teachers? I don't understand what "Canvas APIs," so if it is  a suggestion for teachers, I don't know the first thing about do that.

Not applicable

In this example, Late Policy is turned on for a course.  And let’s say to progress forward in a module, you must “score at least” on a quiz.

  • In Classic Quizzes, if the “score at least” is set to 5, and you score 5/5 after the due date, you can progress forward even with a late deduction.  This means the “score at least” is satisfied based on the performance score prior to a late deduction.
  • In New Quizzes, if the score at least is 5, and you score 5/5 after the due date, you can NOT progress forward with a late deduction.  This means the “score at least” is satisfied based on the score adjusted for a late deduction rather instead of based on the performance score.


This would make it impossible for a student to progress forward past a “score at least” New Quiz even if their performance score meets the minimum requirement.

  • As a teacher, I would only set score at least to ensure a student must meet a minimum standard.
  • And I would only set a Late Policy to decrease the likelihood of a student putting things off that are meant to be done as paced.


Please edit this behavior for New Quizzes.  Thank you for considering!

Community Champion

@DeletedUser  The example you present is exactly why all of my practice quizzes have to stay in classic quizzes.  Migrating them is not possible when a late penalty could block student progress on an ungraded item, and the minimum standard is essential for students who try to skip all of the learning activities leading up to the graded activities.

Community Explorer

Would an alternative of being able to exclude certain assignments and/or certain students from receiving a late penalty be a viable short term solution? Should I open this up as a new idea?

Community Participant


The ability to exclude an assignment from the penalty (without having to do it grade by grade) would be terrific! IMO, it should have been included from the beginning.

Community Participant

Agreed. Specifically groups of assignments too, as my homeworks are done through an external tool that handles late penalties itself (allows students to extend deadlines etc).

Community Explorer

There are so many issues with how late penalties are set. First, there should be an option of a percentage of full points versus a percentage of score earned. Second, there should be an option to have different late penalties depending on the assignment. Third, there should be the functionality listed here.

Community Explorer

An instructor creates a quiz that allows multiple attempts. The gradebook is set with a late policy. Sometimes a student starts -- but doesn't finish -- a subsequent attempt. When the quiz closes, the system will change the score in the gradebook to zero. Every time a quiz closes, the instructor has to change the "late" notation on the student's quiz grade to "none" to get the correct score. For example:

  1. Gradebook late policy is set to 10% per day.
  2. A quiz has two attempts. The quiz opens on Sept. 1 and closes on Sept. 11.
  3. A student's first attempt on Sept. 1st results in a score of 90/100.
  4. The student opens a second attempt, but does not finish it.
  5. The Gradebook shows a score of 90.
  6. On Sept 11th, the quiz closes and the student's grade is changed to zero in the Gradebook. 
  7. The grade status indicates the test was submitted 10 days late.
  8. After the close date, the instructor changes the grade status from "late" to "none", restoring the score of 90.

This has been happening for many years and we've been told it's a "quirk" of the system.

Status changed to: Archived
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