Understanding how grades are calculated when using Assignment Groups

Community Coach
Community Coach

The easiest way to set up percent based (or weighted) grading for your Canvas course is to use groups on the Assignments page. Assignment groups are used to show how the different assignments in your course are weighted differently. Yet, there are some important considerations and things you should understand when you go to set up your Assignment Groups and Assignments.

  • Individual assignments within an Assignment Group do NOT count equally, it depends on the number of points an assignment is worth. In other programs (like WebAssign) there is an option you can check to weight all assignments equally. Canvas does not have this option. Within an Assignment Group an assignment worth 100 points will be weighted and worth more than a 25 point assignment.
  • If you want assignment grades to be weighted equally within an Assignment group here are the options:
    • Separate each assignment (quiz, etc) into their own Assignment Group and assign each group the same weight. This might work well if you don't have too many assignments, but if you have a lot of assignments this could definitely get crazy!
    • Make each assignment in the Assignment Group worth the same number of points. Example: All assignments in the HW group are worth 20 points.
    • Instructor adjusts grade before entering it into Canvas. If students aren't submitting assignments in Canvas (they are turning it in on paper) then the instructor can adjust the grades before entering them. Example: the instructor grades the HW and the student gets 17/20 points or 85%. In Canvas the instructor enters 85 for the HW grade (out of 100) instead of the 17/20. Next homework the student gets 15/25 or 60% so the instructor enters 60 for the HW grade instead of 15 (for the 15/25). Note this definitely isn't the best work around and wouldn't work at all for quizzes or other assignments submitted in Canvas.
  • Why is the grade calculated this way? Mathematically this is the way weighted averages work. See example below for how this works.
    • (total points a student has earned from assignments in a group)/(total points possible in the group) = percent that shows up for that group in the Canvas gradebook
    • If a student earned 10/25 points for HW1 and 90/100 points for HW2 this is how their grade would be calculated within the Homework Assignment Group --> (Student earned HW 1 points + Student earned HW2 points)/(HW1 + HW2 total points possible) = (10+90)/(25+100) = .80 or 80% = student's grade for the Homework Assignment Group.

Here are a few useful guides that might help as well:

How do I add Assignment Groups in my course?

How do I weight the final course grade based on Assignment Groups?

I know this can definitely be confusing, but I hope it helps!