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How can you hand-grade a Quiz REALLY quickly in Canvas?

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I am looking for suggestions of how to grade a quiz of (e.g.) 20 math questions -- each of which is an Essay Question, to permit student-composed equations -- really quickly in Canvas.

On paper, I mark each question that does not deserve full credit with a negative score of the number of points deducted.  That way, I don't have to touch any of the  questions answered correctly.  Since most students answer most questions correctly, this minimizes the amount of grading work needed.

Canvas seems to require entering a grade for each and every Quiz Question that is not graded automatically.  So, for my 20 math questions, I have to enter 20 grades, rather than just the 3 or 4 that a student might get wrong.

Any ideas of how to not have to enter a grade for each and every quiz question?  Since I use these quizzes for weekly homework assignments, having to enter 20 grades for 100 or 150 students each week can get quite tiring!



Dr. Avi Naiman

Sy Syms School of Business

Yeshiva University

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Community Member

 @James ​ and  @avi_naiman ​ are delighted to announce the release of QuizWiz, a Canvancement (JavaScript Canvas Enhancement) for SpeedGrader.

Key features of QuizWiz are:

  • speed enhancements for manually-graded quizzes, including auto-expansion of comment boxes, duplication of point boxes at the end of each answer, and auto-advancing to the next quiz when updating scores;
  • assignment of 0’s to unanswered questions and full points to attempted questions for questions that must be graded manually, to minimize the need to assign points manually;
  • alternative methods of grading multi-part quiz questions, including: All or Nothing, Partial Credit / Percent Correct, and Difference / Right Minus Wrong; and
  • the ability to configure which features are enabled and which of those should be run automatically.

Collectively, the QuizWiz speed enhancements have cut down grading time for me by 75% on 6 quizzes (10-20 questions per quiz), each taken by 50 students.

The following videos provide an introduction to:

For details and instructions, please see the QuizWiz documentation page, and the README files for QuizWiz and for pre-configured installation scripts.

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20 Replies
Adventurer II

Hi  @avi_naiman 

Try the following, I think it will work:

Let's assume you have a quiz with 20 questions, each worth 1 point. Therefore the total score for the quiz is 20 points. When viewing a student's submission, if they get a question correct then do nothing. If they get a question wrong, enter -1. Once you've marked all the wrong answers, in the "Fudge points" box at the bottom of the page enter the maximum possible score for the quiz - in this case 20. The Fudge points are added to the score that the student has achieved so far.

So if you have a student who gets two questions wrong, enter -1 for both of those. The student's score for the quiz will then be -2. Then enter 20 as the fudge points - this will be added to the score of -2, giving them a total of 18.

Adventurer II

Having tested my suggestion in more detail, it looks like that method only half works. It does show the correct score the next time you view the quiz submissions and the student will see it listed under "Recent feedback" with the correct score. But the score doesn't show in the Gradebook, the teacher just sees the Q icon indicating that the quiz still needs to be manually graded. It seems that you still have to enter a score for each question before a number appears in the Gradebook.

Does anyone have a better suggestion?

Right Steve -- that's exactly the problem I'm running into.

Community Coach
Community Coach

 @avi_naiman ​, I responded to your question over in the Teaching Math in Canvas​ group - How do you use Canvas for math homework assignments? - yet, after doing a little more thinking about what you'd like to do I think I came up with possibly a better workaround/process or at least something to consider.

1. Create an assignment and add a document with the homework questions.

2. Have students either print the document and hand write the answers or hand write the answers on their own paper.

3. Have students use their phone to take a picture of their homework using a free pdf converter (ex: CamScanner).

4. Students upload pdf file of their work to the Assignment

5a. Option 1: Using Crocodoc you could go through and mark which questions were wrong and then provide a grade for your students. It will not automatically tabulate for you, but it still might be quicker for you to scan through and count up how many a student missed rather than what's needed to manually grade a quiz - so no need to manually mark each question. How do I use Crocodoc in Canvas assignments?

5b. Option 2: Add a rubric to your assignment - you could create a rubric with one row for each question, then a quick yes/no option for whether the student got the question right or wrong. As you're scanning through the student's assignment in Speedgrader you could quickly click yes or no to whether the student got the answer right or not, and yes, this really is super quick. This would then automatically calculate the student's grade and show the student (on the rubric) which questions were correct/incorrect. This rubric could also be created once and reused for every homework assignment. How do I create a Rubric in my course?, How do I add a Rubric to an Assignment?, & How do I open a Rubric in SpeedGrader?

I've used this process for my statistics students and it actually works pretty well (I didn't do the rubric for each question, but did use a rubric). My students also seem to prefer being able to hand write their work and then upload it using their phones rather than try to type everything into Canvas.

Community Member

Hi Kona,

Thanks for the suggestion, but I'm trying to figure how to use Canvas' Equation Editor -- not how to allow students to submit written work in Canvas.  That's why I'm using the Quiz format, which allows me to supply the questions using the Eq. Editor and the students to submit their answers the same way. 

Regarding Rubrics, unfortunately, you cannot use Rubrics to grade Quizzes.  And I cannot implement my homework assignments as Canvas Assignments, because Canvas does not allow users to Save their work and because copying-and-pasting equations is full of bugs.

So my question is still: How do we grade Quizzes quickly in Canvas.


Short answer to how to quickly hand grade a quiz... you don't. Smiley Sad


Greeting  @avi_naiman ​,

I can really see other teachers having a desire to grade this way. Perhaps it might be a good idea to submit this grading technique as a Canvas Feature Ideas​ . I could see this being implemented as an option in the SpeedGrader settings. Maybe a checkbox that says "assign full credit by default for each manually graded question". Then you would just subtract points using SpeedGrader as you progressed through each question and skip over correct answers.

I quite agree!  In fact, this is, I believe, the ​standard​ workflow for homework assignments from math teachers (who don't use multiple choice) -- -and perhaps for any teacher who uses short-answer responses of one sort or another that cannot be graded automatically.

I think I have come up with a potential solution that could cut grading time substantially.  I'm going to test it out further over the coming week and then report on it here.

I agree that the SpeedGrader 2.0 folks could add this approach as a new 'feature'.  I am documenting my experiments and will report my results to them.



Yes, please let us know what you end up doing! This could really help someone else with a similar question/problem!