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FAQ: Canvas and Legacy PowerTeacher Grade Passback

FAQ: Canvas and Legacy PowerTeacher Grade Passback

    Official Canvas Document

Canvas has developed an automated integration infrastructure between Pearson’s PowerSchool and the Canvas learning management system. The integration will populate Canvas with requisite data enough to create accounts, terms, courses, sections, and users, as well as create assignments and post grades back into the PowerTeacher Gradebook.

This FAQ document aims to answer the following questions regarding the Canvas and PowerSchool integration.

PowerSchool—Canvas Overview


How does PowerSchool work with Canvas?

The Gradebook integration is a one-way transfer from Canvas to PowerSchool. Only assignments that appear in the default Gradebook can be sent to PowerSchool. Changes in Canvas will always overwrite changes in PowerSchool. If a change is made in PowerSchool, the change will not be reflected in Canvas.

Admins can contact their Customer Success Manager to enable the PowerSchool integration for their institution.

Once PowerSchool is enabled, instructors can manage their courses and pass back assignments and grades to PowerSchool. For information about how to use PowerSchool in Canvas, as well as frequently asked questions and troubleshooting tips, please view Instructor Help: Using Legacy PowerTeacher Grade Passback in Canvas.

PowerSchool Implementation


What is required to implement the PowerSchool integration with Canvas? How long does it take?

The PowerSchool integration is used in conjunction with the Post Grades to SIS feature option, which must be enabled by your Customer Success Manager and an Implementation Consultant. For more details about feature options please see What Feature Options are currently available for my institution?

    1. Contact your CSM to set up a Data Mapping Phone Call with a Implementation Consultant.
    2. If you are using LDAP, SAML, or CAS authentication you will need to make sure your usernames in Powerschool match your usernames in the respective authentication servers. (if they do not match or you do not use third party authentication you will need to schedule a meeting with your CSM and an Implementation Consultant)
    3. Your Powerschool version should be 8.3 or higher
    4. You need Powerschool running on a valid, publicly trusted SSL certificate (your powerschool url should contain https://). If you don’t have a valid SSL certificate you will need to obtain one.

New customers can be up and running in their test environment within a couple of days. Existing Customers will take longer because old SIS ID’s will need to be re-mapped to match the Powerschool SIS IDs. After the customer has verified the data in their test account, Canvas will begin the process of moving the data into production. New customers should expect 2–3 weeks to validate the end-to-end process. Existing customers should expect 4–6 weeks to validate the end to end process.

Note: Data accuracy is the responsibility of the customer and will not be validated by an Instructure employee. We are happy to assist with any questions during the process, but the onus of data accuracy and data validation is on the customer. Canvas will not be able to assist with the setup of either the required PowerSchool version or the required HTTPS/SSL certificates. Please contact PowerSchool support directly if you require any assistance with these items.

What does the PowerSchool integration process look like?

Canvas' implementation team will lead you through the PowerSchool integration process and will check-in with your team weekly on the status of the integration and of other implementation items. The setup is made up of the following 3 phases:

Phase 1 - Setup

    • Create connection between PowerSchool and Canvas
    • Set configurations for the integration. This includes determining: Course naming convention, fields to pull usernames from within PowerSchool, and course structure in Canvas

Phase 2 - Review Test Data

    • Canvas pushes PowerSchool data to customer's Canvas test environment
    • Customer reviews PowerSchool data in their Canvas test environment and signs off to push to Production

Phase 3 - Data in Production

    • Canvas pushes PowerSchool data to customer's Canvas production environment
    • Customer reviews PowerSchool data in their Canvas production environment

PowerSchool Data for Grade Pass Back


What information do I need to create in PowerSchool?

The Canvas PowerSchool Sync process will pull the following information from PowerSchool:

    • Users (staff and student accounts, not including staff at the district level)
    • Schools (creates accounts by school)
    • Terms (terms are brought into Canvas by school, not district)
    • Courses (Courses can be brought in two ways, 1 Course per 1 Section or 1 course for many sections)
    • Sections
    • Enrollments

Note: Any changes to the above data should be managed in PowerSchool. Changes to these PowerSchool fields will automatically be reflected in Canvas upon the next pull of data. Any data created in Canvas subsequent to the PowerSchool integration will NOT be pushed back into PowerSchool.

How frequently is data updated in Canvas from PowerSchool?

Data usually pulled from PowerSchool once overnight. If necessary, this may be adjusted as per the district’s requirements.

The data push from Canvas to PowerSchool is initiated when the teacher clicks Post Grades from the Canvas Gradebook. Depending on the amount of data, it may take a few seconds to a few minutes for the data to show up in PowerSchool.

Note: The teacher may need to refresh their PowerSchool screen for the grades from Canvas to show up.

What data attributes are passed back to PowerSchool from a Canvas assignment?

Attributes about the assignment that we will push into Powerschool are as follows:

    • name
    • abbreviation
    • description
    • assignment due date
    • assignment points possible
    • extra credit points
    • category
    • late assignment status

Are there limitations to the PowerSchool integration?

PowerSchool has several limitations when used in Canvas:

    • PowerSchool does not fully support differentiated assignments, including assignments assigned to MasteryPaths.
    • PowerSchool does not officially support Parent user creation via their API; however, parents can sign up for a Canvas account and observe students in their classes.
    • LDAP login IDs could affect the timing of the sync. Please make all processes known to your Implementation Consultant or Customer Success Manager so they can properly ascertain the ideal sync intervals for your district.
    • Other limitations in Canvas are outlined in Instructor Help: Using Legacy PowerTeacher Grade Passback in Canvas

If you find a typo or outdated info, or have a suggestion to improve this guide, please share your feedback