Bob Kirkman

Specifications Grading

Discussion created by Bob Kirkman on Apr 11, 2018
Latest reply on May 7, 2018 by Bob Kirkman

   I have adopted a specifications grading scheme for all my courses, the particulars of which make it all but impossible for me to use the gradebook options on Canvas. Responses to others' questions about specs grading in this forum don't really help me, either, as my approach differs in some ways from theirs.

   Here's how I do things:

  • Each assignment is accompanied by a list of specifications, which looks for all the world like a kind of binary rubric: an assignment either meets a specification or it does not.
  • An assignment is counted as "satisfactory" only if it meets all the specifications; otherwise it is marked "not yet satisfactory" and handed back to the student for revision.
  • Student may submit revised versions of the assignments multiple times.
  • The final grade in the course is determined by the number and level of assignments completed.

   This system makes no use at all of points or percentages or weights. What I need is a gradebook that allows me to

  • record the assessment of an assignment as "satisfactory" or "not yet satisfactory";
  • keep track of multiple submissions of the same assignment;
  • customize the conditions under which a particular final grade is assigned, having nothing to do with percentages or points.

The gradebook on my institution's previous (Sakai-based) LMS didn't let me do this, either, so I took to keeping my own records in Excel. That old system did at least have an app (called PostEm) that allowed me to upload the entire gradebook as a spreadsheet, but then allowed each student access only to her or his own records.

   Even if it is not possible for Canvas to include an infinitely flexible gradebook, would it be possible to incorporate something like the function of the PostEm app? Then I could at least update students on their current standing in the course.