Watch a recording of the TEP/UO Online workshop on Building Final Exams & Calculating Grades with Grace and Efficiency.
UO instructors and students have come through an unprecedented term. Now, in these final weeks, instructors face the significant task of evaluating student work and assigning grades in a time of far-reaching crisis. TEP and UO Online are here to help. Below you will find practical Canvas tools to help bring clarity and transparency to grading, and to help you to communicate the meaning of grades to your students.
As our community gears up for final projects and exams, consider giving your students intentional time and space to reflect on what they’ve learned this term. You can boost their success by using personal reflections and/or discussion prompts to identify and reflect on content areas that require more attention and development. You might consider asking students to review a previous assignment to identify patterns of error and thus guide their study time. Especially in this remote learning climate, asking students to mobilize a study plan will enhance the value and relevance of their final assessments. As you’re building your final exams, consider the value of asking students to dive deeper into concepts through essays, problem-solving, and short answer questions rather than assigning a high-stakes, multiple choice, timed exam.
Grade and Moderate (Ensure Accommodations for) Quizzes and Exams
Ensuring accommodations is vital to an inclusive and accurate final assessment. Instructors can provide extra quiz/exam time to students with accommodations directly in the Canvas course site. The process for adding extra time depends on your quiz timeframe. If your quiz is offered over a period of a few days or a week, then you will use the Moderate tool to give individual students extra time when they have an accommodation. If a quiz is offered for a shorter time (such as a class period) and the accommodation time is greater than the time allowed for the quiz, you will need to use the “Assign to” button to add a longer time frame for the individual student.
The Canvas Gradebook is designed to maintain the integrity of exams, which affects issues of editing and re–grading quizzes and exams. You should not do any editing while students are taking a quiz. If there are issues with quiz questions, wait until all students have completed the quiz and then you can edit and regrade. Using question banks will allow you to do automatic regrading in Canvas, but only for Multiple Choice, True/False and Multiple Answer questions. You can also add points for individual students using Fudge Points in SpeedGrader. (The Fudge Points area should not be used to add all of the quiz points. Remember to add points per each quiz question for the questions requiring manual grading.)
Canvas analytics can provide data to help you to understand more about the student experience. The Quiz Summary and Item Analysis reports provide basic information about the quiz and the questions (Note: overall quiz statistics will only generate for quizzes with 100 or fewer unique questions or 1000 total attempts). You can also download the Student Analysis file which gives you more information about specific student performance and also allows you to download survey answers.
Turning on the Canvas Quiz Log Audit Tool will allow you to investigate issues a student may have had while taking a quiz. The log gives you data such as when the student started the quiz session and time stamps for how long it took to answer questions. The Quiz Audit Tool is off by default in Canvas. In order to turn it on, you need to navigate to the Settings link on the left course menu, click on the Feature Options link and then toggle the tool button on. After turning it on, you will be able to access the quiz logs for each student in the Gradebook.
Finalizing Grades and Moving them to DuckWeb
In order to give students a true accounting of their performance in your class, you will apply a score of 0 for each missing assignment in the Canvas Gradebook. If the assignment scores are left as dashes, those scores are not calculated into the students’ grade totals. And in those cases, students will only see the grade they earned based on their completed work. After an assignment or quiz due date, you can update the score for all missing work in a column by setting the default grade to zero. We suggest that you insert the scores of 0 throughout the term, so that students with missing work aren’t surprised by a significantly lower score at the end of the term. We also suggest that you publish scores regularly by showing the columns to students once assessments have been graded. You can apply overall course posting policies and/or assignment posting policies for showing grades to students.
Giving Extra Credit
Many instructors are looking for ways to be more flexible with grading, given the increased barriers students have faced with illness, technology access, and family and/or work responsibilities during remote learning under COVID-19. Extra credit assignments are one way to provide students more opportunities to demonstrate their course knowledge. This is also a way for you to recognize additional or unanticipated course work students may have completed over the course of the term.
Extra credit is handled differently for a weighted Gradebook and an unweighted Gradebook. For a weighted Gradebook, you should create an extra credit Assignment Group with a weight greater than 0% and add an Assignment worth more than 0 points. All the Assignment Groups plus the extra credit group will now weigh more than 100% in total. (i.e., Participation 10%, Homework Sets 10%, Midterm Exams 40%, Final Exam 40%, Extra Credit 5%. Notice that the first 4 assignment groups total to 100%. This ensures that any assignment placed within the extra credit Assignment Group will have either a positive or neutral effect on students’ overall grade.) For an unweighted Gradebook, you should create an Assignment worth 0 points. Any extra points given in this column will be added to the total points for the course.
Another strategy for providing a little more flexibility in grading is to apply a rule to an Assignment Group. This allows you to drop the lowest score within a group (for example, dropping the lowest quiz score for the term).
Grading schemes vary across schools and departments at UO. A grading scheme is the percentage grade associated with each letter grade. Many instructors include their grading scheme in their syllabus to support transparency around expectations for student achievement. Canvas doesn’t automatically transfer the grading scheme from your syllabus to the course site. First you need to enable the course grading scheme on the Course Details page. Once the grading scheme is enabled, you can click the link to “set the grading scheme” and, if needed, update the percent ranges to match your published scheme. If you need to customize the scheme, click the link to “manage grading schemes” and update the percent ranges to match your syllabus. It is important to note that Canvas automatically calculates any changes and adjusts the percentages immediately, helping you set up the scheme. Final note, checking the “enable grade schemes” box will automatically create a column in your Gradebook for a letter grade. This will facilitate your export of grades into DuckWeb (covered in the following section).
With the grading scheme enabled (and updated to assign the correct letter grades to students), you can export your Canvas Gradebook and transfer grades to DuckWeb. This will save you time, especially for large classes, and also help to ensure accuracy in grade posting. There are a few short steps to make this process easier. Once you download your Canvas Gradebook as a .csv file or a “comma separated values” file, which saves data in table format and can be opened in Excel or Numbers. The registrar’s office has step by step instructions on how to import that file to DuckWeb. In order to make the process easier, we suggest you delete all of the columns in the .csv file except two: The student ID (student 95 number) and the letter grade columns.
For further assistance with the Canvas Gradebook, UO Online & Canvas Support is available remotely. Please contact us:
- By Phone at (541) 346-1942
- By email at email@example.com
- Chat at livehelp.uoregon.edu
- UO Service Portal at service.uoregon.edu
Ambrose, S., Bridges, M., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M., Norman, M. (2010). How learning works: Seven research-based principles for smart teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Megan Tucker, Instructional Designer, UO Online
Veronica Vold, Instructional Designer, UO Online
Karen Matson, Instructional Designer, UO Online
Bailey Dobbs, Instructional Designer, UO Online
Sisy Anderson, Instructional Designer, UO Online
Pat Fellows, Instructional Designer, UO Online