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Learner II

Set upper limit to points earned?

Although the article I reference is from gamification, I'm not sure that was the right group for this question, as the faculty member isn't really trying to "gamify" her course so much as provide options to her students. Let me know if this really should be in the gamification group.

Here's what I'd like to do in Canvas:

The class has a 100 points total currently. 60 of those points come from required assignments and quizzes. So, losing 3 points on a required quiz has a negative impact on a student's final grade (at best, they'll earn 57 out of 60. The remaining 40 points come from elective assignments and quizzes. There are more than 40 points worth of electives available. Completing these electives can only improve a student's grade, not hurt it. So if a student missed 3 points on an elective quiz, they can still earn the full 40 points toward their final grade by completing more work. 

The problem:

How do we tell Canvas to only let them earn a max of 40 points worth of elective work?

What I've tried:

Following johnpj‌'s blog post,, I set up two weighted groups: "Required" at 60%, and "Elective" at 40%. I created a non-submitting assignment called "Total Electives," and made it equal 40 points. Since all the assignments are technically out of  0 points, my test student quickly got a 125% in the Total Electives column, which would be equivalent to more than 40 points. 

I am open to any ideas, 'cuz I'm thoroughly stumped on this one.

7 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @jonesn16 ,

We are giving the Instructional Designers area a little bit of love and just want to check in with you.  This will also bring this question new attention. 


Were you able to find an answer to your question? I am going to go ahead and mark this question as answered because there hasn't been any more activity in a while so I assume that you have the information that you need. If you still have a question about this or if you have information that you would like to share with the community, by all means, please do come back and leave a comment.  Also, if this question has been answered by one of the previous replies, please feel free to mark that answer as correct.



Community Coach
Community Coach

Yes, that was how I was in invisioning it!

Here's what I'm trying next with the instructor:

  1. Make a new group of assignments, call it "Elective Assignments," and set it weight to 0%. This leaves us with 2 groups: the default "Assignments" group, and the new "Elective Assignments" group. 
  2. Set the "Elective Assignments" column to show as points, not percentage. 
  3. Add all the elective assignments to the "Elective Assignments" group. 
  4. Create an assignment called "Total Electives" group worth 40 points and add it to the default "Assignments" group.

Since students can only earn 100 points total for the course, I don't know that other groups need to be specifically weighted. This setup allows Canvas to auto-grade quizzes (some of the electives are quizzes). Although the "Elective Assignments" column technically is tracking what students miss on the electives, its will keep a running total of how many points they've earned towards the 40. Since its weight is 0%, this column does not alter their final grade.

To generate a final grade for the students, she can just take the number in the "Elective Assignments" column and enter it as the grade for the assignment we called "Total Electives." If they somehow end up with more than 40 points in "Elective Assignments," she can still just enter 40 in "Total Electives."

So, if I'm following your train of thought,  @kona ‌, then the instructor would work with three columns in their grade center (ignoring the columns for individual assignments): the Required column, the Elective Grade column, and the column which calculates the actual Elective Assignments. The instructor would then only have to manually copy over the number from the Elective Assignments column to the Elective Grade column to reach a final score for the class (Required + Elective Grade). Do I have that right?

Community Coach
Community Coach

 @jonesn16 , is there a reason the assignments can't have a point value? Because you are correct, if you make them out of zero points then they will count as extra credit, which is why you are getting 125%.

Here's an idea that might work...

Assignment Group - Required - 60%

Assignment Group - Elective Grade - 40%

Assignment Group - Elective Assignments - 0%

Have the one "Total Electives" assignment worth 40 points be in the Elective Grade assignment group. Have the elective assignments go in the Elective Assignments group that's worth 0%. By making it worth 0% then it doesn't matter what their grades are for those assignments it won't actually count towards the grade.

Would this help/work for your problem?

Yeah, the final grade "sees" the extra 25% from that assignment group, causing their final grade to be over 100%, currently. If the assignments actually had point values themselves instead of being 0 each, the weighting would work how you were thinking.

Community Member

But, does the final grade only take into account it being 100% not 125%? I thought it did, but it's been a while since I tested a grade book item or category with more than the total possible points.