Teaching & Learning
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Tip! If You Must Grade a Quiz Manually, Best to Post Grades Manually

Do you use Canvas quiz question types that require you to grade them manually? In the time between when a student submits an attempt at a quiz with such questions and when you finish grading the attempt, the student may see confusing or alarming information that they can easily misread to say they bombed the quiz. Use a manual grade posting policy to prevent unnecessary panic.

In Short

If a quiz has questions of the type you need to grade yourself, because Canvas can’t grade them automatically, it’s best to set a manual posting policy for that quiz in the Grades tool. Otherwise students checking on their grades before you’re done grading that quiz will see a confusing mix of information which can easily be misread to say that they bombed the quiz. See the steps for setting posting policies, and posting, below.

In Detail

There are types of quiz question Canvas can grade and types Canvas can’t grade. If a  quiz includes questions of the latter sort, it will hold whole submissions in an ungraded state until someone with “Teacher” role reviews the answers for those questions and assigns points for them. But what this ungraded state looks like to a student is a little different in different places that a student can look, and the differences can be confusing or alarming.

The Grades tool will report a new grade to the student in the form of a “badge” floating next to the tool on the course menu. When the student actually visits the Grades tool, the quiz will be an item on their list of grades, but instead of a number in the numerator it will have a (rocket ship) quiz icon. Hovering over the icon will pop up a message: “Instructor has not posted grade”.

However, if you have the Assignments tool enabled for students, and the student visits the tool after taking such a quiz but before their submission has been graded in full, the quiz will show a number in the numerator which includes zero points for the questions Canvas couldn’t grade. If half the questions on a 100-point quiz were questions Canvas can’t grade, the highest a student would see under Assignments would be 50/100. If all the questions were of a type that Canvas can’t grade, the student will see 0/100. And there’s no popup message to explain.

When a student looks back at their own not-fully-graded submission, either from the link in the Grades tool or the link in the Assignments tool (or from anywhere else) things aren’t entirely cleared up. There are numerous notations that some questions have not been graded, including on each specific question. But there are also numerous notations that the “score” for the attempt is a specific number based on the ungraded questions having a score of zero. If the student is already alarmed by the time they get to this view, it may not ease their mind at all.

The best approach to prevent this scenario is to switch the posting policy for the grades for such a quiz from “Automatic” (which is the default) to “Manual”.

The Steps

To Set a Manual Posting Policy on Grades for an Assignment

  1. On the course menu, click the Grades item.
  2. On the column heading for the quiz, click the vertical ellipsis menu.
  3. Click the Grade Posting Policy item.
  4. Click the Manually radio button so that it has the heavy ring.
  5. Click the Save button.

To Post Grades for an Assignment with a Manual Posting Policy

  1. On the course menu, click the Grades item.
  2. On the column heading for the quiz, click the vertical ellipsis menu.
  3. Click the Post grades item.
  4. If you haven’t graded all the submissions yet, but you want to post the grades for the submissions you have graded, click the Graded radio button so that it has the heavy ring.
  5. Click the Post button.