Allow "Calculate based only on Graded Assignment" Default Status to be set by Institution


By default, the "Calculate based only on graded assignments" box is checked for all students in their individual grades view.  In the K-12 arena, this creates much confusion when a student is missing assignments and still appears to have a perfect grade because they did well on early assignments.  While I understand that we can train students and parents to uncheck the box, it would save many headaches and much confusion if as an organization, we could set the default for this box to unchecked and instead train students and parents to check it if they wanted to see their grade that way.  I also understand that teachers could in theory enter zeroes, but in some institutions (like ours) entering zeroes for missing assignments is frowned upon or against policy.


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I know some institutions probably like this box, and so I am just proposing an option in the root level settings that would allow institutions to set the value of this check box to either checked or unchecked by default based on their organization's preference (rather than it being set to only checked by default).  Students would still be able to individually check or uncheck the box, but this feature is just proposing that institutions be able to choose the default setting.

New Member

I know this is an old thread but the problem is, if a student then submits the assignment after you have put in a 0 you are not notified. I have had students with medical emergencies be allowed to submit late assignments that have already been given a 0. However, when they submit the assignment, there is no notification. When you are teaching multiple courses it is easy for the assignment to get lost.

New Member

How can we vote on this? This is a HUGE problem for a lot of faculty members.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

 @hmclore , anyone logged into the Community can vote on this by clicking on the Vote up button.


If that button does not respond, most likely your vote has already been recorded.

New Member

I figured it out, thanks! I thought I was logged in but I wasn't so it wouldn't let me vote. I wish we could vote twice on this one!


This box annoys me to no end. Students don't understand this. Either let us set the default or show both grades. This is your grade on graded assignments then the next line. This is your current grade in the course treating the ungraded and unfinished work as a zero grade.

The what if grades doesn't help either. Just creates more questions and confusion. 

Community Member

The issue with Calculate based only on graded assignments selection seems to be best addressed on this thread. The selection in the student view grade section is a significant issue with students being misled on what their grade totals are with the instructor unable to set the default. I have given instructions to the students on the importance of deselecting this option but a significant portion of the students cannot retain the information. I find I am try to teach the importance of this selection instead of teaching the course subject matter. The selection should default to the corresponding selection the instructor made in the grade book settings with "Treat ungraded as 0". It is a significant error to have the instructor's grade book defaulting to one standard and the students view to the opposite. As courses move to larger and larger classes with more online automatically graded assignments the instructors need to have control of the student default grade view. This issue continues to mislead students and has a negative impact on student learning.

Can there please be an update on the Canvas programming position on this issue? (Or just a fix?).

Community Contributor

This feature would be incredibly useful at our institution. The current situation causes confusion for students and staff.

If grades have been released, and the student does not have a mark, for us this should always be counted as a 0 rather than scaled up as if it is ignored. We cannot afford to have students misled regarding how well they are doing during teaching periods.

Community Contributor

I have come across another instance where this is causing further confusion for us.

An instructor has an assignment group with 6 assignments in it of equal points, and a rule to drop the lowest three.

Students do not have to complete all 6 assignments. In one case, a student had completed 5 of the 6. The last was left ungraded.

When they went to Grades to see how they were doing, because the "Calculate based only on graded assignments" checkbox is always on by default each time Grades is opened, it shows the student that their lowest 3 graded items are being dropped (leaving only their top 2 to contribute to their final grade). In reality, their top 3 contribute to their final grade, but the checkbox is working on a different logic.

Although the instructor can see the student's correct grades when they enable 'Treat ungraded as zero', this is a poor experience for students who should really be able to look at Grades to see where they are standing, without having to think through the logic of each of their course's assessment structures to figure out where it matters and where it doesn't.

Being able to set this checkbox's default at the account level in Canvas would solve this for us.

Community Participant

Because this check box thing is so confusing, I always work hard to get those zeros entered 'per assignment' asap once the assignment deadline passed. But in reading this thread, I wondered if the following feature request might be helpful to some - at least in cases where instructors have a 'drop rule'

New Member

Yes, please add this to Canvas!

Community Member

Is there still a "vote up" button?  I'm logged in but do not see it.  TIA

New Member

I've been working in canvas for 18 years and until this semester never ran into this problem; even last summer it worked as it always had.

When I go to the Grade page, I move the totals column to the front so I can compare the totals to the grade spreadsheet that I keep outside.  Gives me a double check and shows me at a glance which students are behind etc.
Until this semester the totals in canvas and the totals in my spreadsheet always matched - unless I keyed something wrong into the spreadsheet.  Now the canvas totals are off.
It seems I have to go into each individual student grades and uncheck a default box that I have never seen before and that doesn't stay unchecked - I have to do it every time I check the totals - for every individual student.  The checkbox is called 'Calculate based only on graded assignments'.

We need to be able to make this a course setting or at the very least, once we uncheck it, it stays unchecked!  This must be a recent change, as I said, just this past summer I did not have this problem checking the totals.

Community Member

This continues to be an issue for our institution. Students use a screenshot to try and "prove" that they earned a higher grade because they had the Calculate based only on graded assignments box checked. It creates too much confusion and too many heated discussions. 

New Member

How did this not make it to the developer's to do list? aka not get enough votes? Sad. So desperately needed.

New Member

Yes, we have only recently implemented Canvas and this has caused us the most problems of any Canvas feature, as it is very confusing for students. We are working to communicate and educate Teachers to provide 0's for unsubmitted work but having the ability to default the tick box as unticked, would go a long way to solving our issues.