Press "Enter" to skip to content

Marking and grading assignments efficiently in Canvas

Marking and grading assignments are made easier in Canvas with its own marking tool, the Speedgrader. It offers a flexible range of options for marking assignments and giving feedback. For any assignments submitted via the “Online” submission option in Canvas, we recommend that you use the Speedgrader to mark.

Here are some tips to efficiently set grading policy, mark and grade your assignments in Canvas:

Set the “Grade Posting Policy” to “Manual”.

The first step before you set up your assignments is to set the Grade Posting policy in Canvas to Manual. When a manual grade posting policy is applied to an assignment, it will stop all notifications to students until you are ready to post and release grades. This is important as you do not want to release the grades to individual students as you enter the marks until you have marked all student submissions for that assignment. Choose ‘Grade Posting Policy’ from the Cogwheel in Grades to select the option to ‘Manually Post Grades.’ For automatically graded quizzes (e.g., MCQ quizzes), the posting policy can be set to automatic.

Make sure all markers have appropriate access to mark and grade.

The second step is to ensure that appropriate staff roles (e.g., Teacher, TA, Tutor) are added to all markers who are involved in marking the assignments.

Mark student submissions using SpeedGrader.

SpeedGrader is a powerful one-stop grading tool in Canvas where instructors can leave inline comments, add grades, and provide qualitative feedback for student submissions. It can be used with assignments, quizzes, and graded discussions; and allows you to access and grade individual assignments student by student. Instructors can also provide personalised feedback to students using text comments, file attachments, or media comments. The speech recognition feature is another useful option within Canvas’ feedback mechanism as it writes out the feedback as you speak it out. Even for assignments that are not counted towards the final grade, you can provide grades and feedback to students using SpeedGrader. You can access SpeedGrader directly from the Assignment itself or from the Grades section for every assignment.

Add annotations to student submissions.

In addition to adding marks and providing feedback comments, you can also mark up or annotate directly on the submissions. This annotation feature is available within SpeedGrader, and allows you to highlight, strike out, and insert text, write free-form comments, and draw free-form shapes on a document.

Manage grading with multiple markers.

Some assignments require multiple markers and require clear communication between these markers on the grading process. The Gradebook history function in Grades allows markers to see who changed a student’s grade and when the change was made. Multiple markers for specific sections: For multiple markers grading specific sections of students in your course, use SpeedGrader to filter students by specific sections. Markers can then grade and provide feedback for student submissions by sections. Multiple markers for same set of students: For multiple markers grading the same set of students, make use of moderated grading function in Canvas assignments to manage grading. With multiple graders, you might sometimes need to track grade changes.

Use Rubrics to grade consistently.

Rubrics is not always needed when grading assignments. But, when you have an especially large class and multiple graders, then grading consistently becomes especially difficult. For such cases, attach a rubric to an assignment to help you with grading. This will enable you to choose the rating for each student submission via SpeedGrader such that the total score is automatically calculated.

Release grades/feedback in Gradebook.

Only when you have graded all student submissions for an assignment and ready to release the grades and feedback to students, post your grades. Once grades are posted for an assignment via the Canvas Grades section, the crossed eye icon for that assignment column will disappear to indicate that students can view the grades and feedback.