Extra credit can be problematic in gradebook

Feb 15, 2017 | Faculty, Staff, and Student Stories

headshot of margaret signorella

By Margaret Signorella

The extra credit assignments I have in all my classes are one area that Canvas does not do very well. I have written before about being less than positive about how Canvas handles extra credit, but a side complication is seeing the extra credit in the gradebook.

I will illustrate some of these oddities with examples from one class using the Test Student view.

The first image shows what graded and ungraded assignments look like when viewing grades in Canvas. The assignments with a gray background are ones that were graded previously and presumably already viewed. The assignments with a gray background and a blue dot are newly graded.

Image showing grades arranged by due date, with newly graded assignments indicated by a blue dot. Extra credit assignments that are dropped are denoted with an "x."

I usually end up dropping extra credit scores because there are multiple options and some students do as many as possible and end up over the maximum for the class. Of course, dropping scores is applicable to other assignments, such as quizzes.

When an item is graded and also dropped, it will be highlighted in gray and also there will be a tiny X in between the score and the possible points. I put a blue circle around the tiny x in the screen capture.

The next image shows the summary section at the end of the individual assignment listings; specifically, a summary of percentage scores by assignment group. Note that extra credit is listed as N/A%, but that there is a box above showing 10/0. I produced the box by hovering the cursor over the N/A%.

image showing a student's percentage totals in multiple grading areas

I keep the display of the total score as a percentage until I am ready to complete grading, because it is easier for students to understand their status. I tell them that any time they want to know the points, they can move the cursor over the percentage to show the points.

When it is time for final grade entry, I will change the display to points because that is what the grades are determined by. The percentage can be a little off because of rounding. When I change to points, students can still put the cursor over the points and see the percentage.

The last screen capture shows a summary with the display by points rather than percentage. Note that only the total changes. The category scores remain as percentages.

image showing percentages and point value for student's graded assignments along with possible totals in multiple grading areas

I am not sure I understand the value of requiring a hovering cursor to reveal information.