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kunikb
Surveyor

Is it possible to used modified grading scales within Canvas for my special needs students.

Is it possible to use different grading scales or weighted grading for the same class?  I would like to use a modified grading scale or weighted grading for my special needs students, but I'm not sure how to accomplish this.  I currently use weighted grading with 50% for Test, 30% for quizzes and 20% for Homework.  I would like to place less emphasis on test for my special need students, any suggestions?  

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7 Replies
kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

Can you provide what you do for your regular students? Also, do you actually want to use the percentage based gradebook or do you want to alter the number of points assignments are worth?

thompsli
Learner II

To my knowledge, this is not currently possible in Canvas without using work-arounds.

There is a Feature Idea https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/9109-customize-weighted-grading-per-section-or-student?sr=sear...‌ currently open for vote on this topic, and if you're interested you  might want to both vote for it and add a comment describing your use case.

The only thing I can think of right now, which is very much a hacky work-around, is to make a special Assignment in the "Test" category, assign it to just this student or students (I'd name it something like "modified grading adjuster"), and give them the same percentage grade on this hack assignment as, say, their homework average to weight homework more heavily (or their quiz average to weight quizzes more heavily, or a combination if you'd like to weight both more heavily, or however else you'd like to adjust things). Essentially, you'd be adding a non-Test score to the Test  category to "dilute" the influence of their actual test grades.

You can control how much this changes the weighting by changing how many points this hack assignment is worth. The math can get fiddly to get the exact weighting you want, but it should be possible to override the weights in this fashion. However, it won't auto-update with the homework/quiz/whatever percentage, so you'll have to manually update the grade on the hack assignment as needed. (You could have such a hack assignment after each test to do updates throughout the term if that seemed easiest.)

I am currently using the "weighted assignment groups", but would like to be able to have several different types of "weighted assignment groups".  Example:  for my special needs students, I would like to have less weight on the test and quizzes assignment group and more for the homework group.  

Regular Ed Students

50% Test

30% Quiz

20% Homework

Special Needs Students

25% Test

25% Quiz

50% Homework

Thank you for your suggestion.  I'm also considering setting up two different classes, each with its own weighted assignment groups and differentiated assignments.  The idea sounds good on paper, but I'm not sure I have enough time to keep up with it.  I would have to do this for all three of my canvas classes.  

Given your desired

Regular Ed Students

50% Test

30% Quiz

20% Homework

 

Special Needs Students

25% Test

25% Quiz

50% Homework

breakdown, it would probably be easiest to just have the separate classes since you'd have to adjust things with "hack" assignments in both the test and quiz categories to get the grades to weight correctly.

If you're open to tweaking your existing grade policy slightly, you could change it so that SpEd students instead get a "unit homework grade" worth the same amount of points as each unit test in the "Test" category (I'm assuming these are unit tests), and put in that grade at the time of the test manually for just those students. This would give you a weighting of Homework 45% (20% by weighted grades, 25% more because half of each "test" grade would also be those Unit Homework scores), Test 25% (since it would be "diluted" by the Unit Homework score), and Quiz 30%. Getting rid of that extra 5% in the Quiz category is mathematically do-able with a scaled quiz-category unit homework assignment, but requires more calculation than the tweak I just suggested. 

Alternately, if you're not worried about the wrong grades showing in Canvas and just need to be able to calculate the grades correctly at the end of the term manually (if your students and parents don't use Canvas to look at their grades, just for assignments), you could do the alternate calculation at the end of the term yourself for your SpEd students. Canvas shows the percentage grade for each category for each student, so you could manually multiply each of those by your desired weight and add them to get a modified grade. However, I wouldn't suggest that in a situation where students are going to see their "wrong" grades.

kmeeusen
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @kunikb ‌

Have you considered using differentiated assignments to accomplish this dichotomous grading need? I have not tested this, and the initial setup would be a tad bit tedious, but that setup would only need to occur once, then the structure could be copied each term.

  • Instead of creating three weighted assignment groups, create six. These could be labeled Tests A and Tests B, Quizzes A and Quizzes B, Homework A and Homework B.
  • Provide the appropriate weighting for all the A (regular Ed Students) assignment groups, and for all the B (Special Needs Students) assignment Groups,
  • Enroll all of the Special Needs students in a separate section within the course,
  • Differentiate the assignments in the categories specific to each group.

With differentiated assignments, only those assignments assigned to a section are available to that section, and only those scores are calculated in the gradebook You can learn more about differentiated assignments at https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-9973-4152101242 

Again, I have not actually had time to test this, but I also don't see any reason why it would not work. One thing did just occur to me - the total for your weighted assignment groups would be 200%, but I am not sure that would matter, because for wither of the two sections their total would be 100%.

Let me know if this works if you try it.

Kelley

Unfortunately, you cannot assign the same assignment to different assignment groups for different students or sections. The only thing you can change when differentiating a single assignment is the due date and the available from/to dates (and which students the assignment is assigned to).

To use this method, you'd have to make two copies of every single graded item in the course, one assigned only to the regular ed students in their grade category and another assigned only to the SpEd students in their grade category.