Grading is stressful and time consuming, but it doesn’t have to ruin the end of your semester.  Below are some of our favorite Canvas tips to make end-of-semester grading just a little bit easier.

Make sure all your assignments have a grade. If a student is missing an assignment, make sure to enter a zero grade. The “Total” grade does not include ungraded items shown with a dash, so failing to assign students who have not turned in an assignment a zero after the due date results in students seeing a better grade than they may actually receive. Use the “Set Default Grade” option on the gradebook column after the due date to set un-submitted grades to zero. For help, consult the Canvas guide, How do I set a default grade for an assignment? You can also set default grades for an assignment group or for the entire gradebook, but make sure to understand how to use this powerful feature since its results cannot be undone.

Create assignment groups to drop the lowest grade. If you would like to drop grades from an assignment set, place those assignments in an assignment group and add a group rule to drop the lowest grade(s). It is important to remember that if you drop grades, you must enter a zero for any assignment not submitted by a student. Canvas will only drop graded items. For help, consult the Canvas guide, How do I create rules for an assignment group?

Match your gradebook grading scheme with your syllabus grading policy. If you would like to display the course “Total” grade to your students as a letter grade, enable the course grading scheme. However, make sure to update the default Canvas grading scheme to match your syllabus grading policy, and if you are using weighted assignment groups, verify the group weights are consistent with your syllabus. For help, consult the Canvas guide, How do I enable a grading scheme for a course?

We are often asked about how to give extra credit. The method really depends on how you have configured your Gradebook.

  • For total points gradebooks, just create a zero-point assignment to add extra points to a student’s total earned points without adding more possible points.
  • For weighted gradebooks, you need to plan appropriately because you have some options:
    • Add a zero-point assignment into any group to add more total earned points to that group only.
    • Make an extra credit assignment group and add assignments to it with a point value. Make the group worth 0% of the final grade until the end of the semester – this may be important.  If you add an extra credit group that contributes during the semester, students might see a confusing cumulative course grade during the semester.  At the end of the semester, change the percentage value of the extra credit group to match the total points you wish to add to the final grade.

For more information on extra credit, consult the Canvas guide: How do I give extra credit in a course?

Finally, if you intend to enter a student’s grade differently in UDSIS than it is calculated and presented in Canvas, consider using the Final Grade Override feature option to provide grading consistency.  For help, consult the Canvas guide, How do I override a student’s final grade in the Gradebook?

For more gradebook help, see Canvas Gradebook Tips Q&A.  If you have additional questions about the gradebook or about how to use Canvas effectively, IT-Academic Technology Services staff is always available at the IT-ATS Welcome Bar or you can send your questions to  


Date Change Log
04/21/2023 Updated to consolidate and add new features
11/19/2019 Initial post