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FAQ: Canvas and Skyward

FAQ: Canvas and Skyward

    Official Canvas Document

Canvas has developed an automated integration infrastructure between Skyward and the Canvas learning management system for Grade Pass Back, utilizing APIs made available from Skyward. The integration will create assignments and post grades back into the Skyward Gradebook based on the latest assignment settings and submission data in Canvas.

This article gives an overview of the Canvas and Skyward integration.

Skyward—Canvas Overview


How does Skyward work with Canvas?

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

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

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

Skyward Grade Pass Back Implementation


What is required to implement the Skyward grade pass back integration with Canvas? How long does it take?

The process for implementing the Skyward grade pass back feature with Canvas is simple. If you are interested, just contact your Customer Success Manager (CSM) or Implementation Consultant (IC) and they can schedule time for the implementation. As a preparation step before contacting your CSM it is helpful to check your current SIS import strategy to see if your SIS IDs for sections and users align with the format that is required for grade pass back. For section SIS IDs the format is <course_id>.0.<section> (ex: 1234.0.01) and for users the SIS ID needs to be the Name ID from Skyward Student Management with no leading 0's for both staff and students. If you are not sure or need assistance determining what you are using please contact your CSM.

Typically, new customers can be up and running in their test environment within a couple of days. After the customer has verified the data in their test account, Canvas will begin the process to move the data into production. New customers should expect 2-3 weeks to validate the end-to-end process.

Single Sign-On (SSO) or an LDAP implementation, like Active Directory, is highly recommended. The lack of such a system will lead to a slower implementation process, as user login information will have to be configured via only available API fields.

Skyward-specific Requirements:

    • Skyward version or higher (Required)
    • Contact Skyward Sales Rep to turn on the read and write API License for Skyward

Note: If you are an existing customer with existing data in Canvas, grade pass back implementation duration may take longer depending on needs and existing IDs in Canvas that need to be mapped to the new Skyward SIS ID. 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 the data accuracy and validation is on the customer. Canvas will not be able to assist with setup of either the Skyward version or the HTTPS/SSL certificates. Please contact Skyward support if you require any assistance with these items.

What does the Skyward grade pass back integration process look like?

Canvas' implementation team will lead you through the Skyward grade pass back 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 0 - Investigation

    • Ensure that section_ids and user_ids are in the required format in order for grade pass back to function.
    • Contact your CSM to ensure your current setup will work.

Phase 1 -  Skyward API

    • Ensure that you have purchased the read and write API from Skyward. 
    • In addition, your Skyward administrator will need to take these steps to enable the Skyward read and write API on your instance and generate the api credentials for the integration.  Instructions on located in the Skydoc portal under WS- Web Student Management -> AP - API -> Learning Management System - Application Program Interface (LMS API).

Phase 2 - Setup

    • Create connection between Canvas and Skyward
    • Your IC will work with you to verify your provisioning method for users, courses and enrollments.  Our recommended approach is to use a Skybuild export (see details here); however, our ICs can also work with schools who have provisioned their data using direct import methods, Clever or Kimono.
    • Install Skyward GradePassback Tool in Canvas

Phase 3 - Review Test Data

    • It is recommended that you set up a test course in both Canvas and Skyward
    • Canvas can use this test course to create assignments and scores in Canvas and send them to a Skyward test course
    • Customer reviews data in their Skyward  environment and signs off to push to Production

Phase 4 - Data in Production

    • Setup is moved to Canvas production and teachers will be able to post grades from Canvas production to Skyward
    • Customer reviews assignment and submission score information is accurately moved to their Skyward production environment
    • Teachers are trained to set up Canvas Assignment Groups to match the Grade Categories that they will have in Skyward.

Skyward Data for Grade Pass Back


What information is created in Skyward from Canvas?

The Canvas Skyward Grade Pass Back process will create the following information in Skyward:

    • Gradebook items pertaining to the following:
      • Assignments
      • Quizzes
      • Graded Discussions
    • Scores (Grades) for individual students based on their submissions in Canvas

How frequently is grade data updated in Skyward from Canvas?

Assignment and Grade data in Skyward is refreshed whenever an instructor elects to Post Grades from their Canvas Gradebook.

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

    • Assignment Name
    • Assignment Category
    • Assignment due date
    • Grading Category (based on the Canvas assignment group)
    • Excused assignments (display as No Count)
    • Points Possible
    • For individual students:
      • Submission date/time
      • Score
      • Whether the assignment was excused for the student

Note: If the Assignment Group is changed in Canvas after the assignment is created in Skyward, the grading category does not change.

Are there limitations to the Skyward integration?

Skyward has several limitations when used in Canvas:


"For section SIS IDs the format is <course_id>.0.<section> (ex: 1234.0.01) and for users the SIS ID needs to be the Name ID from Skyward Student Management with no leading 0's for both staff and students."

I understand the format for sections and names. My question: Is it acceptable to use a combination of letters and numbers in the course id and section id?

For example: 601A.0.V1

Hi Melissa!

From a Canvas perspective there is nothing technically wrong with numbers and letters in the IDs. However, the Skyward course ID portion should always be numeric. That said, the full Skyward section SIS ID used for Canvas could be alpha-numeric due to the Skyward section.

For example, a good Canvas section SIS ID from Skyward that would work with grade pass back would likely not be 123A.0.01 because the course ID from Skyward (in the example 123A) should always be numeric. This generally indicates that the incorrect value was used for the course ID from Skyward. However, a Canvas SIS ID from Skyward of 1234.0.A1B might be valid because the Skyward section could be alphanumeric. The term "Course ID" from Skyward is referring to the value available from SkyBuild. If you are looking at the DB directly this value may be called Course Num. In some cases people inadvertently use the Course Key (name from SkyBuild) which could be alpha-numeric, but is not the value needed for grade pass back to function.

This is only important for Canvas section SIS IDs. Canvas course SIS IDs do not need to match this format as long as the sections within the course match. It is also only important if you want to use Skyward Grade Pass Back.

I hope this help!

EDIT: It is important to make your section SIS IDs unique over time. While it is not needed to have a specific SIS ID for sections if you do not intend to use grade pass back it is still important for the SIS IDs for sections to be unique over time. An SIS ID of course_key + .0. + section would not be unique enough, so it is important to use Course ID (again the name from SkyBuild) or add additional fields to make the field unique (if you do not want to use grade pass back).

As anyone heard of the Student/Parent Access "unchecking" when it syncs to Skyward. I have had 1 teacher report that the assignment syncs but the the access boxes to post for Student/Parent view are unchecked. I ran some tests on my own classes and had no issue...

Skyward applies assignment option settings to subsequent assignments.  We recommend the teachers create a fake assignment in their Skyward gradebook at the beginning of a term and select the options they want for posted assignments.  Since Canvas doesn't send any information on parent/student access, the system was probably looking at the stored values for the last assignment the teacher set up manually.

Hello, I have a few questions...

  1. How do you set the categories so that when Skyward pulls from Canvas, it knows that Assignment A is a test grade and Assignment B is a daily grade, since percentages could be different? 
  2. Do the assignments need to be named a certain way and have limitations? 
    1. For example, when we used Blackboard (disaster), we found the name could not be more than 15 characters long. Could not use special symbols (issue with foreign languages classes)
  3. On Canvas admin side, is there a way to set the assignment categories by default? Such as Test - 50%, Daily 50%
    1. what if there is an AP course where it is 60/40 Test.

Can you integrate Skyward attendance into Canvas?  Is there an external app, like ZOOM has, where I can create an Attendance Navigation menu for students to take their own attendance, which can be linked to Skyward? 


If not, it sounds like a great idea eh?   😃

The due date I put in Canvas is not what is transferring to Skyward.  The Friday Canvas date shows up as Saturday in Skyward.  Any suggestions?

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