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Manage results with Canvas

Learn more about how to note points in different ways and Canvas' three ways to weigh results. When assessing a student's work, there are several different ways in Canvas to manage and communicate the student's results. When the students have completed several assignments that are to be weighed together into a grade, there is also support for different methods for weighing together.

Note points in different ways

Points for the entire exam and partial points can be noted in different ways in SpeedGrader, choose the method that best suits your course. An assignment in Canvas can be assessed in four different independent places.

It is possible to:

  • Enter the total result in the box
  • Use a rubric for outcomes or partial points
  • Write comments for the entire assignment in the comments field.
  • Comment in the student's submitted assignment such as on a paper exam.
Assessment options in SpeedGrader, the box for total results marked

Enter the total result in the box

The result that is written in the box marked in the picture is what is shown in the Gradebook and the result that the student will see first. The result in the box can be set to work in different ways. The two most common current options are "points" and "letter grade".

You select options by going to the assignment settings and then "Display grade as". The recommendation is to do this before the students' assignments are imported, but you can change your choice afterwards. Read more about how to set the options on the page Assess documents in Canvas .


If you have chosen to report the result as points for the students, the students will see the points that the teacher writes in the marked box. Using points as an reporting method can, however, be misleading if the sum of the exam tasks does not only determine the result of the exam, but it can, for example, be specific tasks that must be solved. Then letter grade may be better to use.

Letter grade

When a letter grade  is chosen for the assignment, it is possible to write both letters according to the grading scheme and points in the marked box. If the score is entered in the box, Canvas will convert it to a letter according to the grading scheme used. Points and letter grades will both be displayed to the student. If a letter grade is entered in the box, points will be calculated according to the grading scheme and the points will be displayed to the student together with the letter grade. This can be confusing as the score does not become a sum of what the student has achieved in the assignments. If you wish to use a letter grade, it is recommended that you set "points" to zero for the assignment in Canvas and that points are only reported as the partial points are reported. Then the student will get a correct letter grade for the assignment and see points in another way. Finally, the letter grades can be transferred to Ladok in a safe manner without the risk of typing from manual handling. Read more about Transfer grades from Canvas to Ladok .

Enter partial points

SpeedGrader has no given function where partial points for the exam can be reported. You need to choose what fits in your course. It is possible to combine the methods, but remember to choose a structure for reporting that will not send mixed signals to the students.

Use SpeedGrader's comment field

Enter results in the comments field for the Canvas assignment. Then both student and teacher can easily get an overview, but unfortunately the result is not visible in the assessment overview. Summation must be made by one person and if the points are to be reported, they must be compiled separately.

Write results on the cover page

Points can, just like for a paper exam, be entered on the cover page through SpeedGrader's comment functions. In the picture, two different tools are used to note in red. The disadvantage is that results are not visible in the assessment overview, but an advantage may be that this method supports how examinations are handed out today for paper exams. Compilation of results for reporting to Ladok will then be done as for paper exams and not necessarily linked to Canvas.

Note! These annotations are only shown to the student after you have published a grade. The grade can be in the form of points/letter grade or a comment in the sidebar in SpeedGrader.

Assessment in SpeedGrader where two comment functions are used on an exam cover sheet.

Use outcomes

This method requires more preparatory work but instead offers more possibilities from Canvas' digital tools. The Canvas function "Outcomes"  is primarily intended for assessing assignments and courses directly based on the intended learning outcomes of the course, but can be set so that they only handle points (see picture below). Using Outcomes works well with both the Gradebook and letter grades, and is clear for students and teachers.

Matrix for assessment made with points where the result is summed up by the matrix.

The method is especially suitable to use when several questions are answered in the same document, for example in Scanned exams to Canvas  and if the exam consists of two or more parts (for example a Canvas quiz that is supplemented with a Canvas assignment containing the scanned student answers) when the total assessment will be summarized and reviewed in the Gradebook. Learn more about Using outcomes to assess with partial points .

Canvas three ways to support the weighting of grades

As the students have completed several assignments that are to be weighed together into a grade, there is support in Canvas for different methods for the weighting the grades.

1 - Use outcomes for the assessment

This alternative is primarily relevant for those who assess each assignment directly on the basis of intended learning outcomes, but can also be set to handle points. Read more about how to compile results with outcomes .

2 - Export and import, use external tools

One way to numerically weigh results is to download the Gradebook and process it in an external program, e.g. Excel, and then import the results back to the Gradebook again.

You can find the export and import functions under "Actions" in the Gradebook. How to do it:

  1. Create and publish an assignment for the final result and set the type of grade you will be using, e.g. letter grade.
  2. Export the Gradebook.
  3. Process the results and enter the final result in the column for the new assignment.
  4. Save as a CSV file. Rembember to format the file as UTF-8 so that special characters can be handled. 
  5. Import the file into the Gradebook. Canvas will show what changes will be made. 
  6. Click "Save Changes" if everything looks correct. 

The following links can be helpful:

Note! KTH does not give any direct support for exporting and importing CSV files in Canvas. However, you can order a workshop about it: Compile grades from different Canvas Rooms via Excel (60 min) .

3 - Use Canvas assignment groups

The third alternative (fits better when you have simple weightings) is to use Canvas Assignment groups. When you create assignments, you assign points that correspond to how important they are. Each assignment's result will be weighted in percentage to a common result for the Assignment group they belong to. Read more about Canvas Assignments and how to create assignment groups .

Calculation example of how a student's results are weighted together in Canvas

The examination in the example consists of two assignment groups and one exam.
Grading scale A-F is stated as 5-0 where 5 corresponds to the highest grade and 0 to failure.

Element Possible points Student result
Assignment group 1. Assignment 10 A (5)
Assignment group 1. Smaller assignment 5 C (3)
Assignment group 1. Important quiz 15 E (1)
Assignment group 2. Big assignment 20 A (5)
Assignment group 2. Quiz 5 B (4)
Assignment group 2. Quiz 5 D (2)
Exam - B (4)

Assignment group 1

There are three components in assignment group 1, which together contribute to 20 % of the grade. The components are:

  • one assignment at 10 points
  • one smaller assignment at 5 points 
  • one important quiz at 15 points.

The weighted result of assignment group 1 for the student in the table will be

\({5+3+1 \over 10+5+15}= 0.3\) which is shown as percent in the gradebook, i.e. 30 %.

(Which corresponds to \(0.3*5=1.5\) so E or D.)

Assignment group 2

There are three components in assignment group 2, which together contribute to 30 % of the grade. The components are:

  • one big assignment at 20 points
  • one quiz at 5 points
  • one quiz at 5 points.

The weighted result of assignment group 2 for the student in the table will be

\({5+5+2 \over 20+5+5} = 0.4\) which is shown as percent in the gradebook 40 %.

(Which corresponds to \(0.4*5=2\)  so a D)


The result from the exam is reported in an assignment in an assignment group that contributes to 50 % of the grade. The student gets a B, which in the calculation example is written as four.

Course total

The student's weighted results for the course will be


which is rounded to three and thus corresponds to the grade C.

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Last changed: May 02, 2023