I use a series of low-stakes responses in my class, to which I give feedback with check, check plus and check minus (which might translate to Good, Great and Not There Yet). There is no way to do this on Canvas without assigning points, and students tend to translate those into grades in their heads. The point of NOT assigning a recognizable grade is to 1) teach advanced (in this case graduate) students that their lives are no longer based on grades so that they 2) don't obsess about how many points they got but focus instead on overall quality. Still, the plus/ minus system gives them some feedback on quality, while still giving them a more uniform credit for completion.
In general, there needs to be an alternative to the "points for everything" system for teaching students who are not small children.