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How do I use MasteryPaths in course modules?

How do I use MasteryPaths in course modules?

MasteryPaths allows you to customize learning experiences for students based on performance. You can enable MasteryPaths to automatically assign coursework based on the score achieved for a previous assignment. This provides multiple opportunities to show and achieve mastery in a course.

MasteryPaths is based on differentiated assignments, which allows targeted learning activities to be assigned to different users and sections. With MasteryPaths, assignments are differentiated to individual students automatically and no additional work is required aside from grading student assignments as usual. After the initial assignment has been graded (either manually or automatically), the student’s score designates which conditional item(s) they are assigned as a learning path. For example, a learning path can assign one set of items to students who score at or above 70% and another set to students who score below 70%. If Student A scores an 70% or higher, they can access Page 1, Page 2, Assignment 1, and Assignment 2. You can require Student A to read both pages and complete at least one assignment. If Student B scores less than 70%, they can access Page 1, Page 3, Page 4, and Assignment 1. You can require Student B to read all three pages and complete the assignment in order to achieve mastery of the subject.

When creating MasteryPaths, source assignments and all differentiated course items should be created, and differentiated items should be designated as conditional items before publishing the course.

Weighted Grading

If you use weighted grading in your course, additional course work may affect student's total grades. However, grade calculations are based on the assignments assigned to and completed by the student; students are not penalized for any assignments that are not assigned to them. If you are concerned about grade variances with point values, you may want to review the conditional assignments assigned to each MasteryPath and try to balance out grading totals in each path. Additionally you could evaluate student progress and add individual students to assignments as necessary that they can complete to improve their grade.


  • MasteryPaths is currently a course opt-in feature. To enable this feature, learn how to manage feature options in the course features lesson.
  • If your institution uses a student information system (SIS) and requires due dates for assignments, any MasteryPaths assignments assigned to one or more students are currently not validated. Please use with caution when syncing to your SIS.
  • If your course has a large number of students and/or if a MasteryPath has a large number of associated conditional items, students may experience a delay before they are assigned a path.
  • Currently MasteryPaths does not support association with outcomes.
  • Files, External URLs, and External Tool module items cannot be used as conditional items in MasteryPaths.
  • If you choose to include a page in MasteryPaths, the page will only be accessible from within MasteryPaths and not in the course Pages page.

Open Modules

Open Modules

In Course Navigation, click the Modules link.

Add Course Modules

Add Course Modules

The MasteryPath process currently only originates from the course Modules page. Before you can designate source assignments and conditional items for a MasteryPath, all course assignments and pages should be developed and added to Modules as module items. MasteryPaths can be created from module structures in existing courses or new course content.

Indenting module items can be used to help organize the module's structure and visually show which items should be conditional items in a MasteryPath.

Any graded assignment, graded discussion, or graded quiz may be used as the source content for a MasteryPath. A student's source content score determines which conditional item(s) they are assigned.

Any course item except for practice quizzes and ungraded surveys may be designated as a conditional item in a MasteryPath.

Note: In MasteryPaths, module prerequisites and requirements are not required, but they are encouraged to guide course organization and conditional paths.

Allow Page Content

Allow Page Content

Because content pages do not require grading, content pages cannot be used as source content and can only be added to a MasteryPath as conditional content. However, a page must be allowed for MasteryPaths before it can be added as a conditional item.

Add Conditional Items

Add Conditional Items

A MasteryPath originates from an assignment assigned to everyone, such as a pre-test or an introductory assignment.  

The MasteryPaths configuration page allows you to add conditional content items to the source content item. Conditional content items are selected from the list of module items you have already added to the module. These items are then assigned to specific students through conditional rules in three scoring ranges. After the source content assignment has been graded (either manually or automatically), the student’s score designates which conditional item(s) they are assigned as a learning path.

Assign Items to MasteryPaths

Assign Items to MasteryPaths

By default, assignments in Canvas are assigned to Everyone, which means all students will be able to view the assignment in their Modules page. Once conditional content items have been added to a MasteryPath, the conditional assignments must be assigned to Mastery Paths. The Mastery Paths assignment designates the assignment for conditional release only, and the assignment will only display to students whose source content scores fall in a range that releases the conditional assignment to them.

Release Conditional Items

Release Conditional Items

When you create MasteryPaths for your course, students see content added to their Modules page as they move through the course. When the course begins, they will only be able to see items that have been published and assigned to Everyone or assigned specifically to them. In contrast, courses that do not use MasteryPaths display all content in the Module, even if the content is locked.

Once a MasteryPath source assignment has been graded (either automatically by Canvas or manually in SpeedGrader), the conditional item(s) will automatically display in the student’s Modules page based on the source item’s scoring range.

If a MasteryPath source assignment scoring range includes an Or option, students must choose which conditional item(s) they wish to complete before proceeding.


  • If you set a requirement that module items must be completed in order, when a student completes a MasteryPath that requires any manual grading, all subsequent module items will be locked for the student until the MasteryPath is graded.
  • If you regrade a source assignment after a student chooses a MasteryPath option, and the regrade puts the student in a different conditional item range, they will have to complete the conditional item(s) in the reassigned MasteryPath before advancing through the module.

View Student Path Assignment

View Student Path Assignment

When a student is assigned or selects a conditional item, the conditional assignment automatically adds the student’s name to the assignment as being differentiated to that student.

View MasteryPath Breakdown

View MasteryPath Breakdown

Once students complete a source content item for a MasteryPath, you can view the MasteryPaths breakdown. Each scoring range includes a link that shows the number of students in each range. You can click the name of a student in the range, view the student’s source content submission and score, and send a message to the student.



I have 2 mastery paths created that I want to use in one class, assigning to different sections that have already been set up.

Do I have to assign every page/assignment/quiz within the path to the students in each section or just assign the first(Pretest) and then the mastery path will take care of the rest?  Any help is greatly appreciated!

Heather T
Band Director
Creekview Middle School

Hi @htabor,

As stated in this lesson, "The Mastery Paths assignment designates the assignment for conditional release only, and the assignment will only display to students whose source content scores fall in a range that releases the conditional assignment to them.". So the conditional content will only be assigned to students who meet the criteria based on how they performed in the previous content assigned to them.



My colleagues and I love the idea of the mastery paths to better support our students in their learning. Currently, we are sharing a common blueprint for our 9 sections of classes. The mastery paths option works great when inputting them individually to each section. However, when we attempted to push assignments using mastery paths through our blueprint, it would not allow our students to access the assignments. 

Troubleshooting, we realized that the reason for this is because mastery paths is a general category and we needed to be able to add our course sections to it. We tried digging around the blueprint settings, but we were unable to find anything that would allow us to do so.

Is this there currently a workaround? Is this something that may be a possibility in the near future?

Thanks for your time,


Hi @tcerven

Apologies for the delayed response on our end! I did some testing with MasteryPaths and blueprint courses. I found that blueprint courses do support MasteryPaths! However, you'll need to make sure of a few things: 

1. Ensure that the MasteryPaths feature option is enabled in both the blueprint parent course as well as in the associated sections/courses. When I tried this, initially I didn't have the MasteryPaths (MP) feature option enabled in my associated sections, and even though I'd created an MP in the blueprint course, it didn't show in my associated courses until after I enabled the option. (For information on enabling feature options, check out this guide. If your course settings don't display the MP feature option, you'll need to speak to your Canvas admin.) 

2. You may have to re-sync the blueprint course once the MP feature is enabled in all courses.

3. MasteryPaths should be created in the blueprint parent course to prevent overwriting customized course content in instructors' individual courses. 

Hopefully this helps! Please reach out if you have any follow-up questions! These can be tricky but very handy and helpful Canvas features, so don't hesitate to let us know if you have any functionality questions. 



Hi folks,

If assignments that are used with Mastery Paths have a manual (rather than automatic) grade posting policy, how long after grades are posted should it take to assign a path to students?



Hi @lindalee,

Are you experiencing long delays with MasteryPaths assignments? I know that students may experience a delay before they are assigned a path If your course has a large number of students and/or if a MasteryPath has a large number of associated conditional items. But I wouldn't expect the assignments to take too long to assign just because of posting policies.



Hi Cody,

Thanks for your response.

In this particular case, there's a max of 60 students in the class. (It's a Blueprint course with 12 associated sites, so the total is 600+, but never more than 60 at a time.) The mastery path releases a makeup assignment for students miss the live class meeting -- so, not a large number of students, and only one conditional assignment (which is being assigned to a very small number of students).

Last year, the mastery path assignments used an automatic grade posting policy (attendance grades were synced from other home-grown system), and this year attendance in the synchronous class session is being tracked differently (as we aren't on campus so our attendance app isn't being used), and the teaching team wants to control when the grades get released. We noticed that the conditional (makeup) assignment wasn't being assigned immediately, and the only difference from last year's setup that I could find was the shift to a manual (rather than automatic) grade posing policy.

Is there a sync or there automatic process that runs to assign conditional assignments after grades are released? And if so, what is the frequency that it runs? (I'm trying to understand if there's something undocumented that I'm missing before we put in a support ticket about this.)



Hi Linda ( @lindalee

Definitely seems like it is worth submitting a ticket if the delays are super long. I'm not aware of anything specific with posting policies and MasteryPaths that would cause delays. I know it may take a few minutes for the content to assign, but anything long would be worth having support look into.


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