Why are quiz penalties (fo wrong answers) not calculated the same way as points for correct answers?

Community Member

This question concerns New Quizzes with Multiple Answers Questions and explicitly not to Multiple Choice Questions where questions cannot have more than one correct answer.

This may indeed turn out to be a feature request, but I'm putting it as a question, as I want to make sure I'm not missing anything (it seems strange to me that Instructure has not yet considered the problem I am describing).

So, here is the thing: I think the way in which "Partial Credit with Penalty" scoring is done in Canvas New Quizzes doesn't make sense. In a nutshell, the way it currently works (at least with the default settings) is that Canvas awards a fraction of the points available for each correct answer and subtracts an
equivalent fraction for incorrect answers.

This works fine when the number of correct and incorrect alternatives is the same. But let's consider a question that has one correct alternative and three wrong alternatives. Let's say the total number of points for that question is 3. Canvas will award 3 points for the correct answer and penalize each chosen wrong alternative with -3 points. In other words, the student will get zero points if they select a single wrong alternative, even when they have correctly selected also the correct alternative. To me this score seems like a gross underestimation of the students knowledge.

I don't understand why does canvas not calculate the penalty for a wrong answers the same way as it calculates points for correct answers. What am I missing?

Points for correctly chosen alternative = Total points available / number of correct alternatives

so why not

Penalty for incorrectly chosen alternative = Total points available / number of wrong alternatives?


In the example above, this would mean that the penalty for a wrong answer would be 3 / 3 = 1. So the student who chose the one correct alternative and one of the three wrong alternatives will get 3 -1 = 2 points.

Does this make sense to anyone else? Is there currently any way of grading Multiple Answer Quizzes in this way?