Canvas Grading Tips & Tricks

Written by Eric Hills

Last published at: September 16th, 2023

Canvas is the official in-progress Gradebook for Shakopee Schools. Final grades for each quarter are posted on Infinite Campus. Read the information below to learn some of the nuances of the gradebook and how to effectively grade students.

Assignment Settings

Assignment Groups

  • Make sure you have created assignment groups that you need and weight them if needed
  • Delete unused assignment groups (they show up in the grades for teacher and students)
  • Every time you import content to your course assignments will show up in “imported assignments.” Move the assignment to the appropriate category (summative/formative) and delete the “imported assignments” category (because it is visible in the gradebook).

Submission Types

  • Online: Student is submitting some kind of digital work 
  • On Paper: Student is submitting something in person and you want to enter a score in the gradebook
  • No Submission: Student is not submitting, but you want to enter a score (creates a column in the gradebook).

Display Grade As

  • Percentage: Shows the grade by % out of 100 in the gradebook.
  • Complete/Incomplete: Student receives all or none of the points (not compatible with the 50% missing setting)
  • Points: Shows a point value that you made the assignment worth.
  • Letter Grade: Displays the letter grade a student earned on the assignment based on the grading scheme for the course (or for that individual assignment if you use Standards-based grading).
  • GPA Scale: Do not use this option
  • Not Graded: This option removes the ability to submit work and no column is created in the gradebook.

Missing Setting

Read the Guide. Remember that the setting in the gradebook applies a percentage of possible points to missing assignments. You MUST set this setting because Canvas does not penalize missing work by default. As an example, a student could submit one assignment, get 10/10 points, and then the end of the quarter grade would be 100%.

  • Complete/Incomplete is all or nothing grade so students can only receive a 0% or 100%.
  • If you use an External Tool (Flip, Google Assignments), you will need to manually mark work as missing.
  • If you change the due date after the policy applies it will not undo scores already entered.
  • When the missing percentage applies, the assignment is marked missing in the gradebook but you will see a green checkmark in SpeedGrader and students will see a green checkmark in their to-do.

Clean Up Your Assignment List

  • Publish only current assignments. How to delete an assignment
  • Be judicious when you import content from a master or previous course. Use the “Copy To” feature if you need just one item. If you import content, be sure to “remove dates.” 
  • Assignments will end up in the gradebook unless you choose “Not Graded.”


Assignment Status

  • Missing: If you have students submitting something online, it will automatically be marked missing if students do not have a score or have not submitted a file by the time it is due. For all other submission types (No submission, On paper, or External Tool), you have to manually mark the assignment missing for each student by opening the grade detail tray and selecting the missing status.
  • Late: Assignments that were missing and then submitted or scored will be marked late. You can also manually mark an assignment as late.
  • Turned In: Assignments have an icon if a file has been submitted but has not been graded yet.
  • Exempt: Teachers can manually exempt a student which means they do not need to submit the assignment and it does not calculate in their grade. You can type “EX” in the gradebook for excused.

Be sure to keep assignment statuses up to date. They are good indicators for students and parents. Use the Missing status when a student can still turn in the work. Assignments marked as Missing will show in Grade Guardian. If a student can no longer turn in the work, change the grade to a zero.

You can change an assignment status more quickly using the Grade Detail Tray and skipping through students or assignments. Watch the video.

You can also update the status of an assignment in Speedgrader, so if a student submits a missing assignment you can add the grade and update the status from Missing to None.

Hiding/Posting Grades:

You can choose to hide the scores for an assignment. Hidden scores only show the assignment status (missing, late, turned in, exempt) and do not calculate into the overall grade for the student until the teacher posts the grades for the assignment. You can choose to do this for all assignments in your course by default or you can choose individual assignments to hide/post grades on

Note: If you hide grades for one assignment, it will only hide the grades that you have completed for that assignment. Any future grade updates you make for other students will post and be visible by students. If you want to completely hide the scores for all students until you want them posted while grading large assignments, it is recommended you turn on the manual posting policy for your course.

Gradebook View Options

Tired of scrolling right to see a student’s current grade? Hover over “Total,” click on the 3 dots, and select “Move to Front” to see the total grade listed right next to student names.

  • Gradebook > Individual View will show you exactly what students and parents see
  • Gradebook > View > 
    • Arrange By > the most popular/logical options are “due date” or “module”
    • Filters > Watch this video
    • Statuses > to change the color used for each status
    • Columns > you probably want to uncheck Unpublished Assignments

Want to keep an assignment out of the gradebook?

Students cannot submit to an assignment that is Not Graded. You can change this setting at any time to allow them to submit, review the submissions, then change it to Not Graded.

View Dropped Students/Grades: Watch this video

SpeedGrader and Rubrics

Gradebook Checkup

Want to ensure that your gradebook accurately reflects the work that students have accomplished? The most common issues we see are:

  • no missing or late policy: a student has completed 1 out of 12 assignments and has an A
  • graded assignments not in a weighted category: students have scores that are not counting in their total overall grade
  • assignment grades that are not posted: you can hide grades for an assignment while you finish grading, but need to remember to post when done!

Walk through these slides to make sure you have everything setup correctly. We have also included tips and tricks for navigating your Canvas gradebook. As always, connect with us if you have questions. Fill out a help desk ticket to get started.