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Community Member

Multiple Grading Periods Functionality has Changed--for the worse?

K-12 Colleagues,

We adopted Canvas last year, and the Gradebook function was the hardest to sell to the faculty because of its visibility to students and parents and also because of its inability to "nest" grading periods that overlap such as Quarter One+Quarter Two=Semester One. 

Luckily, in the nick of time before grades were due early last fall, Canvas issued out its grading periods option that allowed instructors to create grading periods and then use them to view their grades in the gradebook using those periods.  It still didn't allow us to "nest" grading periods, but a teacher could create a Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4 grading periods, view those grades, then erase those periods, creating a Sem 1, Sem 2 grading periods.  So, we could at least adjust the grading periods at reporting times in order to get the proper grade to submit to our SIS.

School just started this year, and instructors discovered with ALARM!!!! that they no longer have this ability.  In fact, grading periods must be set up at the account level by the admin.  Our school allows teachers to choose whether they want to use quarters (50% each per semester) as their grading policy,  or semesters (quarter one and three reports are just halfway through the semester, and the semester grade is 100% of the grades).

I worked with our admin a long time today trying to figure out how this new system works, but it seems now that the school must decide on ONE GRADING SYSTEM FOR ALL GRADES K-12.  We cannot even create a quarter system for Middle School and a semester system for the Upper School.  The new grading periods functionality is so restrictive that it doesn't even allow sub accounts flexibility.

So, while last year each teacher could at least plug in their own grading periods--although still with no nesting capability--now the entire school K-12 must follow the same grading periods.  And therefore the workaround to get nested grades has vanished.

We called Canvas tech, and their solution was to create separate courses for each quarter or semester.  Of course, this just creates multiple courses on student and teacher calendars, the chore for our admin to create and populate new courses throughout the year, and teachers need to copy content from one course to the other all the time.  Furthermore, having multiple courses--Q1 course, Q2 course, etc, just creates separate gradebooks, and then students and teachers cannot easily see all the grades and averages for the year in one spot.

So, it seems to me that Canvas has moved backward in fixing grade periods for K-12 schools.  Are we seeing this correctly or have any of you figured out a fix for this that we haven't discovered? 

I think this is a rather serious problem, and it will discourage even more teachers from using the Canvas gradebook.  Many have been slow to adopt it already.

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4 Replies
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Community Member

I just posed a similar question, Nathan. Our instance hosts 150 districts so multiple terms and excessive courses is not an option. I'm getting several complaints.

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Community Advocate
Community Advocate

I am looking to enabling this for our school, I have seen a lot of talk in 2015 and 2016, does anyone use it now and also sync to a SIS (like Skyward). I am wondering what are some of the caveats to consider. Have they made any fixes to issues such as nesting grades to see Q1 + Q2 etc.  Thanks in Advance!

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Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Here's a snapshot of what we have setup for our account.  I've set ours up with Full Year courses, Semester 1, Semester 2, and then I have continuous courses when never end until I tell it to do so (example, Class of 2021 is a 4 year course).  So now anything with a due date that falls into these dates is when it applies.  Exam dates are for the full exam week so that it doesn't count toward the Quarter grade.

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Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Thanks, Beth. Do you have extended dates for grading built in...So if the Quarter ends on a Wednesday can you allow grading to go beyond for a week before closing it out? Also, once it ends can you ever go back in and override for medical or concussion students who maybe get extra time beyond the close date?

I'm also interested to talk to schools who use our SIS (Skyward), I know you do not, Beth. But if anyone else does, I'd love to hear how it works for you!