Rubric Ranges


I would suggest getting rid of the > in the range option on the rubrics and just have the actual range that you list.

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Community Novice

The current settings of rubric point range for starting range is "more than." 

This leads to having to start grading ranges at say 4.99 for something that is a PA or 5.99 for a CR.

If it was set at "equal or more than", then the grade range could start at 5.0 or 6.p respectively (and make more intuitive sense to people).

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Hey  @david_newman  Welcometo the Community! Thanks so much for taking the time to share your idea with us! It means a lot to us.

If you want to check out other great ideas and what is already being worked on have a look at the Canvas Studio‌. It sounds like you have an interest in grading and rubrics and you may be able to offer some timely feedback. If you are curious what folks like yourself are asking you can check out the‌ space and search for anything you are interested in.

Again, great to have you with us. I look forward to seeing you around!

Community Member

Thank you for posting. Agreed the Rubric ranges need to be adjusted.

Currently, from what I can see, the ranges use the ">" (greater than) symbol because the rubric reads from left to right with highest number first. (e.g. 20 to > 16, 16 to > 14, 14 to > 12). Visually this looks nice because the numbers appear in order, however when calculating the total score this mean that the whole number (i.e. 16) is actually calculated/counted in the range below.

This causes problems when coming to write your ranges because, as you suggested, in order to have the whole number included in the correct range you need to drop the range by 0.1 (or 0.01, depending how deep you want to go with your grading). (e.g. 20 to > 15.99)

As a further complication to the issue the grading schema uses "<" (Less than) while the rubrics use ">" (greater than).

This can cause some confusion when looking at letter grades between the two places. For example, in the grading schema you may have a "B+" range between "<90 to 85." But in order to get that 85 in a rubric you have to have it written as ">84.99".

There are three solutions to this:

1) As suggested above, have a  (Equal or Greater Than) symbol.

   The only problem with this is that if you read this left to right, highest number first, it may cause confusion as it will    look like this:

   "20 to ≥ 16, 16 to ≥ 14, 14 to ≥  12....."

   In this example we again have a double up of the whole number (i.e.16) in two different ranges. This should still work    when calculation the final score, but it may visually be confusing.

2) Emulate the grading schema, with a < (less than) symbol before the first number in the range:

   e.g. "20, <20 to 16, <16 to 14,....."

   Unfortunately, this does require a full number at the start (i.e. 20). Or you could have the first range automatically set    up with no < (less than ) symbol.

3) Reverse the rubric so it reads left to right with lowest number first and uses < "less than" like the grading schema.

   e.g. "0 to < 10, 10 to < 12, 12 to < 14, 14 to < 16, 16 to < 20"

   Like the option above, this will then either need a whole number to finish or have the last range in the series with no    " <" symbol.

None of these are perfect, but they are at least a little simpler, more intuitive, and make more sense with the grading schema.

I hope this idea goes forward.

Thanks everyone!

Community Novice

 @marcus_porcaro , I think I prefer your second and third examples with 3 being the best. When I read that it makes sense to me.If I get 16 i will get a HD, if i get 15.99 i will get a DI etc...

Community Member

100% agree, needs to be done.

Community Novice

Really interested to see discussion about ranges as this is part of a larger set of issues we have about migrating a Excel rubric to Canvas.  Would appreciate any feedback on this via 

Community Champion

The rubric range was a retrofit to an existing rubric scale that tried to maintain compatibility and minimize pain when switching between the two. You are really only inputting one point value for each rating and that is the value that is used whether it is a range or not a range. It is the high value for that criterion rating. I know it looks like you're typing in two values, but if you adjust the low value, it automatically updates the high value of the criterion rating below it. 

To make sense of rubric ranges, you need to look at the high end rather than the low end. The high end is the only value you have. The low end is generated by the computer.

The original feature idea began with:

The current settings of rubric point range for starting range is "more than."

Since rubrics are listed from greatest value to least value, this is not true. The starting value is the high value and the ending value is the low value. The starting value is included but the ending value is not included. It's the "ending value" that is more than. Many people sort from lowest to highest, so this seems backwards. That leads to confusion, which means that it may not be the best user experience.

5.0 to > 3.0 means that you will get 5.0 points if you click on that rating. If I click on the rating after that, then I will get 3 points. If you manually enter a value in the rating box, it will highlight the box that that matches the interval. If I type in 4, it will highlight the 5.0 to 3.0 rating. If I type in a 3, it will highlight the 3.0 to > something_less_than_3 box.

Some may desire is for there to be a gap in rubrics. The first range is 20 to 16, including both. The second range is 15 to 11, the third range is 10 to 6 and so on. Then the question becomes -- what is a 15.4 or a 15.6?

You cannot include a value in both ranges. You can't say 05, 5–10, 10–15, and 15–20, because then it is ambiguous. Where does a 15 go? Most people would probably intuitively put it with the next higher group, which is in essence what you're asking for here.

Good design eliminates that ambiguity by requiring that every number fit into exactly one interval and that no numbers are left out. That's what Canvas has done. in 5.0 to > 3.0 and 3.0 to > 1.0, there is no ambiguity. The 3 is in the second interval, not the first. The points awarded when clicking on the interval are the highest in the interval, not the lowest.

As far as grading schemes go, this is something that I have conversed about in other places. Some people intuitively round and so when you say 80-89 is a B and 90-100 is an A, they assume that 89.6 is an A. Other people don't round and the want the students to meet the minimum grade for an A, which means 90.0, not 89.99.  If your grading scheme cutoffs are integers, then Canvas entering a "B" takes the low score for an "A" subtracts 1. That doesn't happen when you have decimals in the grading scheme and it leads to some funky math where the grade you enter may not be the grade you get. However, whatever your grading scheme is, you need to realize that not everyone is going to interpret gaps the same way that you do and so you need to be clear in your communication to the students about what the values mean.

Also confusing matters is that with the grading scheme, you put in the low cutoff, not the high cutoff. This inconsistency makes it harder for people to follow the rubrics.

If you change the rubric so the lowest number is included, then you should consider switching the order of the rubric and give out the lowest point value possible for each range rather than the highest. If you gave out the highest value, then 1.0 to <2.99 would end up with lots of decimals in the rubrics, which probably not what was intended. When a student sees 2.99's for their scores, they're likely to question "it's just 0.01 points, couldn't you have given me the next higher grade?" If you give out the lowest, you can get nice integer values, but then there's no way a student can get full points if all the instructor does is click on the rubric.

While certainly not perfect and admittedly confusing to some, it is the way that it needs to be without retooling the entire rubric thing. I haven't looked to see how the rubrics without point values (is that a pointless rubric?) are handled, but I imagine it was made to work with the existing system rather than rebuilding it.

Community Member

Hi James

Thanks for this detailed explanation. I think this all makes a lot of sense, and I can certainly understand (based on what you've said) that they were trying to retrofit an existing system rather than rebuild it completely.

However I still think that it could be simplified and also aligned with the grading scheme (since they use different 'great than' and 'less than' symbols/calculations).

Would reversing the rubric require a complete rebuild of rubrics?

As an example:

0 to < 50, 50 to <60, 60 to <70, 70 to <80, 80 to 100.

Or perhaps even:

100 to 80, <80 to 70, <70 to 60, <60 to 50, <50 to 0.

With this last one there are no numbers left out and it would match the way the grading scheme is arranged.

I'm interested in your thoughts on this.

Thanks again


Community Champion

While it may not be a complete rewrite, reversing the rubric would a major overhaul and it wouldn't fix the problem unless you go through and redo every rubric using intervals. I'm not completely sure of the logic behind their decision to go highest to lowest in the first place, but I think they want the largest value first so people focus / see the good first rather than the bad. There are probably other reasons, I've found that Canvas rarely does something "just because" without putting a lot of thought into it. But reversing isn't what this feature request asked for. There was a discussion about it here: Making Rubrics Left to Right . There was an archived feature request from 2016 for . I looked but can't find a currently open idea for it. If the order of the rubrics was a bigger issue, there would be more feature ideas for it.

If you are using a rubric range AND you manually type the score into the box, then there really isn't an issue with whether the upper limit or the lower limit is included. I see the biggest issue being when people click on the rubric. It's designed to put the highest point value for that interval. Actually, it designed to put in the only point value it has for the rubric, which is currently the highest. If you change that, then Canvas would probably try to adjust that if all of your values are integers and make your 0 to <50 become 49 so it looks nice. It would go 49.99 (maybe 49.9) if you have decimals in your ratings.

<80 to 70 is definitely more awkward than 70 to <80 and possibly more awkward than 80 to >70. The important thing is that 70 to <80 is not the same as 80 to >70. In interval notation, the first is [70,80) and the second is (70,80]. When I say awkward, I mean at least for people in the US. I once wrote that it was kind of stupid (I probably have used different words) to write it the way they write it because no one writes things that way, but that may have been an US-centric take on it. I don't know about other countries, but I think I saw something that made me question that statement.

By the way, the interval notation is unambiguous, but it's also unfamiliar to people, which means it doesn't work well. Canvas doesn't want to throw the other mathematical way, where x is between 70 and 80: 70 < x ≤ 80. The problem there is that many people really don't understand math, no matter how you slice it. Unfortunately, it's not always possible to take mathematical concepts and convey them in a small space without adopting the language of mathematics.

From the way people the United States look at things, I would think >70 to 80 would make more sense than 80 to >70. That's arguable and definitely non-standard usage, so it may not be. But we're still putting the emphasis in the wrong order. 80 is the start, 70 is the end. By Canvas putting the 80 first, they're showing that's the main number, that's what you're going to get when you click the rating. Unless you change the order the ratings from low to high, we're going to keep superimposing the way we think it should be over the way it is.

While I think it's confusing the way it is, I don't have a less confusing way that would work for the masses. I also would not be in favor of putting the lowest values first. If I use A, B, C, D, F for my rubric, it would be strange to have to write it as F, D, C, B, A.

Community Member

Very informative James. Certainly a lot of interesting perspective there I hadn't thought of.

I think you hit the nail on the head regarding how people do it in different countries. As you mentioned it makes more sense for you to write A, B, C, D, F - high to low. But for us we'd go the other way with rubrics starting Fail, Pass, Credit, Distinction, High Distinction - low to high (in the HE sector).

Perhaps there isn't an answer yet that will be universally beneficial.

But great, thank you for that. Very helpful.

All the best


Community Novice

Rubrics don't always grade on continuous scales. The standard rubric allows whole numbers with gaps (5, 4, 3, 2, 1).

What we need is an intermediate categorical rubric that allows ranges with gaps in between, like this: 5, 4–4.5, 3–3.5, 2–2.5, 0–1. In practice, I will only use a 4 or a 4.5.

In the current design, my rubric structure will not work. The only alternative, as others have pointed out, is to make continuous categories that surround the range: 5–4.5, 4.5–3.9, 3.9–2.9, 2.9–1.9, 1–0. Sadly, this is visually unapplying. But worse, it is continuous when my design intention is to accommodate two discrete options corresponding to one rubric category.

Community Participant

I agree that a score that is exactly at a cutoff threshold should go to the next higher rating. In a Canvas grading scheme, a grade exactly at the threshold received the higher grade, but in a Rubric, the threshold grade goes to the lower category. This is inconsistent.

Community Champion

This model of range does not work easily with all UK K12 and IB qualification rubrics where single point scores are awarded in Bands eg 


And only whole scores are used as dhagood‌ stated. 

Makes the job of encouraging staff to move to digital assessment that much tougher because of the design factors involved.

Hugely frustrating!

Community Participant

I just popped on to the community to see if this idea existed, and to add it if it doesn't exist! I can see it's three years old, so it's been a bug-bear for a while. I wonder how many people have, like me, been irked by the current setup, and just not come onto the community to post about it? Thanks for adding the idea,  @dnew16n ‌, and thanks to the commenters and up-voters!

Community Member

The simpler for the end user (markers) the better!

I agree in principle with the suggestion but instead of using, how about using less than (<)

As an example of why this is important for my department, a total of 50% is graded at a D. anything below 50% is graded at an E. This logic is followed for all grade ranges.

Say, for example, a criterion was worth 10 marks. Our bottom range would want to be 0 to <5. The next range would then start at 5. The top range (A range) would be the top 15%, so 8.5 to <10 (with another range set to 10 points to capture full marks)


Which looks easier for a marker (especially a marker for whom mathematics isn't their strong suit)?

(E range)    0 to <5         or      4.99 to >0

(B range)    7 to <8.5      or      8.49 to >6.99

(A range)    8.5 to <10    or      10 to > 8.49

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni
Status changed to: Archived


Thanks for sharing this idea. The > (greater than) and < (less than) functionality accommodates scores that are entered as decimal points; the score field on the rubric accommodates up to two decimal places for grading. If we're understanding this idea correctly, removing the > and < functionality would require the instructor to create a range of 0-4.9, for example, with the next range being 5.0-7—but if the instructor enters a score of 4.94, it would not be encompassed by either of those ranges.

You'll find a fuller explanation in our Question Forum: Solved: Rubric Ranges - Canvas Community 

As the symbols incorporate a critical grading functionality, we've archived this idea. Consider adding your support to the active idea linked in that Q&A: Change rubric point range to "equal or more than" - Canvas Community 

Community Member

I agree with the </> symbols to be confusing with point ranges.  

Community Member

I suggest that when ranges are entered that the whole numbers are displayed.  This is more clear for instructors AND students.  Blackboard makes this much simpler.  



Community Participant

I posted this to comments/questions, and had a colleague suggest that I share the idea in this forum:

With assessment, we know that Rubrics are not grades. I appreciate the opportunity to use the Canvas Rubrics tool, as it can be a good guide for students to know about how I assess components (criteria) of an assignment for determining that assignment's overall grade. I find it helpful for papers, especially.

An issue/question comes up for students and me. When I am creating a Rubric via Canvas, "Course Rubrics," I use the option of: Criteria/Description of Criterion/and I check the box for, "Range." Next, I enter the values for the "Range," of the criterion via "Ratings."

When students and I go to the "Assignment," the Rubric appears with each Criterion and the Range I entered.

The confusion comes in with the Canvas Gradebook. While I take the time to complete a Rubric for each student's paper submitted, choosing the Ranges that best apply to the student's abilities to meet each criterion, those same criterion are represented by a single point total, and not a Range - as I had intended. Understandably, students are confused when the Canvas default single point total for each criterion appears to be different than the final grade they earn for the assignment.

Perhaps I am not creating the Rubric to function in the way I intend it to: providing a range of criterion assessment that will help me to determine an assignment's overall grade.

I received this reply:

I have not yet used the new range feature in Canvas Rubrics, and now I doubt I will. I just tested this, and what you stated seems accurate, when you select a rating, the rubric assigns the highest possible points for that rating's range.

I checked the guide for this, and found,

(A) "By default, rubric ratings are created as individual point values.

(B) If you want to create a point range instead, click the Range checkbox [1].

(C) Ranges allow you to assign a rating for a range of point options instead of just one point value.

(D) When enabled, the first rating (full marks) shows the total point value in a range format [2].

(E) Each rating displays a maximum and minimum point value.

(F) For each rating, the maximum value is assigned as the point value."

My observation about the directions in the guide:  Huh?  If I follow the logic of sentences A, B, C, D, and E - especially sentence C - then sentence F makes no sense.

Idea:  Make the Rubrics Criterion Range function work with this explanation, to supplant sentence F:  For each rating, you may assign a range of point options instead of just one point value.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni


Hi! You've posted this under an archived idea, and it's not clear whether you are asking for a redesign of how ranges work in Canvas rubrics or are requesting a modification to the lesson that explains it (or perhaps both). If the request is specific to the wording of the lesson, would you fill out the form linked under How do I add a rubric in a course? ? That will prompt a review by our Documentation Team, and they'll take it from there.