Making the Grade: Canvas Tips for End-of-Semester Grading

It’s that time again! Final exams are just around the corner, which means semester grades are due soon. Here are a few things to remember when using Canvas to determine and upload semester grades:

Grading Schemes

Are all of your grades in, but they’re not displaying with an A, AB, B, BC, etc.? You need to enable a grading scheme.

Don’t like the UW-Madison grading scheme option?  Click manage grading schemes and then Add grading scheme to create your own.  Contact CEETE if you’d like us to set up a departmental account-level grading scheme in Engineering.

Weighted Grades

Are you using weighted grades? To double-check, click the Syllabus tab (whether you’re using it or not). Your weights will display off to the right-hand side.
Create an Assignment Group (these are your categories).
Weight Assignment Groups (this is where you enter the percentages).

  • Note that the point values given to assignments will determine their weight within each category. Canvas does not allow weights within weights.  (More discussion here.)
  • Also, Canvas will let your weights add up to anything.  You probably want them to add up to 100%, so double-check this.
  • Verify that each of your assignments is in the correct Assignment Group.  Drag and drop assignments on the Assignments page, or use the settings wheel to the right of each assignment.

Muting and Unmuting Grades

You may have muted some grades during the semester.  Unmute any grades as necessary.

  • Students receive notifications about grades based on their notification preferences.  Depending on their selections, when you unmute an assignment, some students will get their grade immediately via email or text. Others may get it at the end of the day or week, or not at all. Set your instructor notifications. Point students toward this document to set theirs.

Unhide total grades

We generally don’t recommend hiding total grades.  (And our students have the math skills to figure them out!)  But, it is an available setting. Here are directions.

Missing Work

You may have noticed that Canvas ignores missing assignments. If your policy calls for changing those grades to zeroes, there are a few good options and one very ineffective one:

  • Recommended: Set a default grade for each assignment.
  • Enter zeroes manually (good for small classes).  To excuse an assignment, enter EX.
  • Export your gradebook, fill in the blanks using batch processes in Excel, and upload changes (good for very large classes).
  • NOT Recommended: The treat ungraded as zero option does not alter students’ scores. It creates a “what-if” view for you, so you can see what happens if you do change those missing scores to zeroes.

Curving Assignment Grades

Be aware! Curving an assignment in Canvas is not reversible. Before you do this, especially in a large class, we recommend downloading a .csv copy of your grades, just in case.

Here’s an additional method of overriding or adjusting the final grade if needed.

Faculty Center Grade Prep Tool

Woo-hoo!  You’re ready to enter your grades in the Faculty Center. They’re working on a button that will do that directly.  In the meantime, there are a few steps to follow.

First, if your class is small, you may want to enter grades directly into Faculty Center. You can even enter a default grade and then adjust from there if you like.

The Faculty Center Grade Prep Tool is meant for large classes. It will take your Faculty Center roster and Canvas-ify it for streamlined use.  See how it works and find directions in this KB document from Learn@UW. Watch the Overview Video.