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Community Member

Standards-based Grading and Quizzes

I have been trying to find a way of using standards-based grading with Canvas in a way where Canvas automatically populates the standards based on student responses to tests and quizzes. I have found questions about this issue (see below as an example), but no answer. I don't want to do percentage grading. I want letter grades to be based on the extent and nature of standards achieved...and I want Canvas to do the work. I understand how this works with rubrics. I want to know how to make it work with tests/quizzes. Each item on my test reflects a standard. The profile of responses to those items inform me about the extent to which the student has mastered the standard. I don't see a path for getting what I want right now. While I am in higher ed, I know this same issue exists for K-12 faculty doing standards based grading.   I want standards-based grading to be more accessible to K-12 teachers and higher ed faculty. For that to happen, there can't be 5 additional steps (like there are now). Faculty will default to the point or percentage grading system with its inherent problems.

"...if a student takes a 10 question quiz... 5 questions are aligned to standard #1 and 5 questions are aligned to standard #2, it would awesome if you could pull-up a page that quickly tells you how that student performed across the two standards on the quiz.  Currently, you have to dig pretty deep into the learning mastery gradebook to gather this information from the course/teacher level"

15 Replies
Community Member

Have you tried using "Outcomes"?  I have never seen it be used with grading, but I did read it could be used for Standards-Based grading.  Might be something to look into.

Community Coach
Community Coach

 @ssnyder ,

Were you able to find an answer to your question? I am going to go ahead and mark this question as answered because there hasn't been any more activity in a while so I assume that you have the information that you need. If you still have a question about this or if you have information that you would like to share with the community, by all means, please do come back and leave a comment.  Also, if this question has been answered by one of the previous replies, please feel free to mark that answer as correct.



I received no useful feedback to my question. I am shocked that the assumption is that the issue has been resolved if no one responds. I could not even post a response to Robbie. I cannot find any notification asking whether there was a response.

Standards-based grading is a significant trend in k-12 and will become a higher ed trend. It appears that I will need to find another option to handling my need.


Director, Center for Educational Accountability

Associate Professor, School of Education<>


Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Scott Snyder wrote:

....Standards-based grading is a significant trend in k-12 and will become a higher ed trend.  It appears that I will need to find another option to handling my need.



THIS!   Right now our entire Science department is using another LMS for standards-based grading and the rest of the school is using Canvas.  Standards-based grading is a need for K-12.

The answers are still indicative that Canvas hasn't found a direct path to a solution for instructors who need standards-based grading. The responses have "shared my pain" and have provided some "work-arounds", but until instructors have a way of assigning items from quizzes to a standard and from assigning rubric dimensions to a standard, the system will still not align efficiently with standards-based grading. I am a fan of Canvas in all ways except for the limitations of the grading platform. 

Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @ssnyder ‌...

It's been over a month since there's been any new activity in this particular discussion topic, and so I thought I would check in with you.  In reading through the above conversation, it sounds like you are possibly seeking out other options.  Is this still true?  Have you been able to come up with any other solutions since the end of February that you'd be willing to share with us here in the Canvas Community?  Also, since there hasn't been any new activity in here for quite some time, I'm going to mark your question as "Assumed Answered", but that won't prevent you or others from posting additional replies below.  I hope this is okay with you.  Looking forward to hearing from you soon, Scott.


Hello  @ssnyder  I just saw this discussion pop up thanks to the recently activity from  @chofer ‌ ... I had not seen it before!

Canvas is really ONLY percentage grading when it comes down to the grading schemes. So it is frustrating even for a user like myself of points-based grading where the points really are points (not points "out of" but points accumulated based on the work the students choose to complete, where not doing something is simply that: a blank, not a zero). But whatever, I just have the students record the points, and then they use a separate little chart to see how they are doing since they always have "100%" in Canvas. 

One suggestion I would make, since I usually assume that software will rarely give us the solution that we need (especially if we need the solution NOW), is to give this back to your students and get them to do the work you want Canvas to do. In the situation you described — if a student takes a 10 question quiz... 5 questions are aligned to standard #1 and 5 questions are aligned to standard #2 — then explain to your students how the quiz works and then have them keep track of their own mastery accomplishment, reporting that back to you along with their plan for moving forward, whatever that plan might be.

If you do that, it turns the learning process into something more like a dialogue, where the students are participating, then evaluating themselves, and then making choices based on their self-evaluations... and you can then help them decide if those look like good choices that will get them to the targeted mastery.

Without more context, I don't know if that would work or not, but as a general rule, I always like to put the students in charge of anything you can put them in charge of. And if you are teaching in a higher ed context (that's my context also), then I think you can really put the students pretty much entirely in charge of their own learning. One more step on the way to becoming independent lifelong learners, as we hope they will be!


I like your response and I agree that giving students that role does strengthen their understanding of the linkage of items to standards. Having them submit a profile with their own analysis (using a system similar to the one you described) along with a reflection on their "standards profile" is something that I will incorporate this coming academic year in at least one section. I just wish that Canvas could automate it so that I could actually use the system more efficiently to generate semester grades that were tied to standards. I often teach inservice teachers. It would be nice to demonstrate a standards-based grading system using the same learning platform that many schools have adopted.

Community Member

I have the same need for items analyzed by standard.