Awarding Extra Credit in Canvas

As the end of the semester approaches, some instructors want to offer students extra credit. One huge advantage of using Canvas is its ability to calculate final grades. However, extra credit can be difficult to integrate into your existing Canvas grading structure and calculations.

Three methods we recommend are listed below, from easiest to more difficult.  

Add extra points to an existing Assignment

In Canvas, an instructor can add points beyond the total points for an Assignment, Graded Discussion, or Graded Survey for any student. This can be done from the Gradebook, or from Speedgrader. This works well if you want your extra credit points to apply to a specific Assignment, like an exam or paper, and you’ve already collected student work to earn these points.

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Example

Students can earn up to 17/15 on a Final Paper Assignment for attending an event on campus. The instructor has already noted who attended. The instructor then awards these points via Speedgrader as they enter scores and comments for the Final Paper, or use the Gradebook to add extra credit after the paper has been graded.

 

 

Special Consideration: Graded Quizzes

A Graded Quiz will adopt the point value of the questions it includes – e.g. a Quiz with 5 questions each worth 1 point is a 5-point quiz. This means an instructor can’t add points to a graded quiz. Instead, in Speedgrader an instructor can add “fudge points” to adjust student grades. This feature can be helpful when correcting a mis-graded or mis-worded question, but can also be used to provide extra credit to students.

Create a new Assignment worth 0 points

In Canvas, an instructor can create an Assignment, Graded Discussion, or Graded Survey worth 0 points. The instructor can later award points to students who complete this 0 point assignment, resulting in extra credit.

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Example

For completing a mid-semester evaluation graded survey, students can earn up to 3 points of extra credit. The instructor manually adjusts student grades via the Gradebook for only those students who have completed the survey. Then the instructor assigns a default grade of 0 for the remaining students who did not complete the extra credit work. 

Special Consideration: Assignment Groups

  • If an instructor is not using Weighted Assignment Groups, the Extra Credit Assignment can be part of any Assignment Group without impacting how the final grade is calculated. One way to decide how much extra credit students can earn is to decide the maximum grade a “perfect” student can earn. For example, in a course with 1000 points total, students may earn up to 10 points of extra credit, with a maximum score of 101% possible in the course.
  • If an instructor is using Weighted Assignment Groups, the extra credit Assignment must be within one specific Assignment Group, depending on how the extra credit should be weighted. Often this is easiest if you make the total extra credit possible equivalent to a small assignment. For example, if the extra credit points should be the equivalent of one homework, the extra credit Assignment can be added to the homework Assignment Group and given a point value equivalent to one homework. 

Create an Extra Credit Assignment Group that is weighted beyond 100%

Weighted Assignment Groups should add up to 100%. At the end of the semester, after all other grading is complete, an instructor can add an Extra Credit Assignment Group worth a percentage beyond 100% to award students extra credit in the course as a whole. 

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Example

Earlier in the semester, an instructor created an extra credit Assignment, and placed it within an Assignment Group weighted at 0% of students final grades. At the end of the semester, after finishing all other grading, the instructor adjusts this extra credit Assignment Group from 0% to 2%. This makes the total for Weighting 102%. The Assignment can be worth any number of points, and will always contribute to an extra 2% of the grade over 100%, without penalizing students who don’t complete it.  See the example at the left.

Special Consideration: Timing!

All other grading in the course must be complete before awarding this extra credit! If this extra credit is graded before students have graded entries in other Assignment Groups, the grading will not scale correctly. This means an instructor must either:

  • Only create this Assignment Group and grade this assignment once all other assignments have been graded.
  • Or set this Assignment Group can be at 0% of the final grade until all other grading is complete. Then remember to change the weight at the end of grading for the semester.

This works best for extra credit points awarded at the end of the semester to the course as a whole, rather than extra credit intended to raise a grade on a specific assignment. 

Connect with Help

If you have questions about grading in Canvas, please schedule a consultation. IDC staff can help with awarding extra credit, setting up grading to match your syllabus and course policies, and more.

References & Further Reading

Published May 2022