I use Canvas Grades differently from the way most teachers do, so today, I want to explain how it works.
What Is Tracked in Canvas Grades
Canvas only tracks what you have done and what you have not done. It’s not calculating your course grade.
As explained in the Syllabus and on the Requirements page, your grade in this course is based on labor, on the work you put into the course. There are essentially three categories your work can fall into:
- If you complete the required activities, you will earn a B in the course.
- If you do not complete the required activities, you will earn less than a B in the course.
- If you complete additional work, you will earn a grade higher than a B in the course.
Most of the work you do in the course earns either a Complete or an Incomplete. In Quizzes, because of limitations in Canvas, your work earns a 100 (Complete) or a 0 (Incomplete). If you do not attempt an activity at all, your work (or lack thereof) earns a 0.
Because Canvas Grades is a computer program, it will provide you a Total calculation at the bottom of the list. Remember that calculation doesn’t matter. Canvas doesn’t have a way to calculate your grade in this labor-based system.
Completes vs. Incompletes
Canvas Grades tracks the Complete and Incomplete status of your work with icons. Here’s a screenshot of the Grades for an Example Student:
As shown under the Score column in the image, a checkmark means that the work is Complete. An X mark in the Score column means that the work is Incomplete. It doesn’t desginate that anything is wrong for most people. As long as you have submitted your work, the X mark tells you that you need to revise.
If you did not submit your work by the end of the grace period however, the X mark indicates that fact. In these cases, you cannot revise. Unlimited, punishment-free revisions are NOT intended to support those who never did the work in the first place.
How to Tell How You’re Doing
If you have submitted all the work that is required, you are on track to earn at least a B in the course. Even if you have an Incomplete on a Major Project or a Labor Log, you are still on track to earn at least a B in the course. As long as you are putting in your best effort, you don’t need to worry.
If you’d like confirmation, look at Grades in Canvas for one of these indications:
- Look at the Score column in the light gray list of activities at the top of the table. If you see 100s, checkmarks, and X marks, you are on track to at least a B in the course.
- Find the categories followed by an asterisk (*) in the medium gray list at the bottom of the table (marked on the Screenshot above). Look at the Score column for those categories, which are required for a B. If you see 100% for those categories, you are on track to at least a B in the course.
- If you do not see 100% for the required categories, look at the Out of column in the medium gray area to tell how far off you are. If you see 200/300, for instance, you’ll know that just one thing is missing (so you are still likely to be on track for at least a B in the course).
If you are working toward a grade higher than a B, pay attention to how many of the additional contributions listed on the Requirements page you have completed.
Photo credit: Grade book by David Mulder on Flickr, used under a CC-BY-SA 2.0 license.