Making Your Students Happier: How to drop the lowest score

I was watching a video recording of a session from last year’s InstructureCon that was called “Always Be Smarter Than the People That Call You” (a presentation by Amy Carpenter from Utah State University). The focus of her presentation is on helping folks who are new to Canvas find what is already there, explaining that tools that teachers used before online learning, or even on different online learning platforms, exist within Canvas, but are sometimes hidden.

The tool that caught my eye was the ability to drop a lowest score for all of the students in a course. Some folks do this by hand, which I imagine would be tedious. Canvas actually built this ability right into their platform.

To change the settings to allow for the dropping of the lowest score, you need to follow these super easy steps.

  1. Go into the course you’re wanting to adjust.
  2. Click on the Assignments link in the Course Navigation on the left side of the screen.
  3. You’ll notice that your assignments/discussions/quizzes have groups. It is important that all assignments that will be included in the “drop lowest score from this set of courses” category are all in the same group.
    • Each Assignment Group has the ability to have the lowest grade from that set dropped. This makes it easy on you if you only want to drop the lowest quiz grade, for example. If you want to drop the lowest grade from all the assignments, you’ll have to put them all into one group.
    • Usually folks willl want to exclude large assignments, like Final Exams or Final Presentations, from the group being adjusted, since dropping the grade for one of those will usually make too large of an impact on a student’s grade in the course overall.

      Screenshot of assignment groups in Canvas

      You can see example Assignment Groups in this screenshot. So, if you only want to change the settings to drop the lowest Quiz score, you’d click on the Edit (pencil icon) for the Exams group.

  4. Once you’re arranged all of the assignments into the correct groups (you can click and drag the arrows that appear to the left of the Assignment title when you hover over the title), you’ll want to hover over the title of the group to make the Edit (pencil) icon appear on the right side of the table.
  5. Click on the Edit (pencil) icon.
  6. Click on “Add grading rule” — this will give you the option to change the settings.
    • Enter the number of “lowest scores” you’d like to be dropped from that assignment group — most folks only drop the 1 score.
    • You can also drop the highest score from a group of assignments, if you want to…
  7. Make sure to click the Update button in the upper right to save these changed.

When you go into your Gradebook, you’ll see that the lowest scores for each student have a diagonal grey pattern across them — this indicates that the lowest score was dropped.

Screenshot of the "dropped lowest score" grades in gradebook

You can see that Mal’s lowest score was a 0/2, River’s lowest score was 0/1, and Hermione’s lowest score was a 1/2.

Hopefully you haven’t been doing this by hand, but if you have been… I hope you enjoy this solution!

eLearning at Centralia College
Kirk Library
360.736.9391 ext 672


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