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One Way or Another: Differentiated Grading through Canvas LMS
This session will examine the utilization of Canvas to achieve grading differentiation through assignments, assignment groups, and entire courses. We will delve into real-world grading scenarios, and explore how they can be accomplished using Canvas. Additionally, we will investigate potential workarounds to enable these scenarios.
The Overlake School Knowledge
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Using canvas to differentiate assignments
Written By Mollie Page ()
Updated at June 15th, 2020
Canvas allows you to customize assignments by allowing assignments to be posted for individual students, a select group of students or class sections.
NOTE – Events can only be assigned by class or by section, but Assignments can be customized down to individual students.
To assign an assignment to an individual or select group of students:
On the Calendar page for your course, click on the day you want the assignment to be due
Click on the Assignment Tab.
Be sure you have selected the appropriate calendar– this cannot be changed once you click more options.
Click the More Options button to further customize the assignment
Customize the assignment by filling in the assignment title, a description of what you want students to do and any links they will need.
Fill out the points, group, submission type and other options as desired
When you get to the “Assign to” section, you can customize to whom it is assigned and the due date.
In the “Assign to” section, click the x after Everyone to clear the field
Then type the first letter of the student you wish to assign this assignment to and select that student.
Continue selecting students to build a list of students who should complete this assignment.
Note – all students selected at this time will have the same due date.
If you want to have different due dates, set the first group and their due date here and see instructions below for multiple due dates.
When you have selected all the students, select the appropriate due date for the group.
When you have finished customizing the assignment, click on Save or Save & Publish
Save will save your work, but the assignment will NOT be visible to students yet. You will need to go back into the assignment and publish when you are ready.
Save& Publish will save your work AND publish the assignment to students. Students will be able to see the assignment and may receive a notification depending on their Canvas settings.
To create a different assignment for another set of students, start the process over again with a new assignment.
Assigning the same assignment with different due dates.
At the bottom of the Assign box, click on +Add to create another set of assignment options.
Select the other set of students as described in steps 5-7 above.
Select the appropriate due date.
Add additional groups and due dates as necessary by clicking +Add.
When you have finished customizing the assignment, click on Save or Save& Publish
Save will save your work, but the assignment will NOT be visible to students yet. You will have to go back to the assignment and publish when you are ready.
Resources for differentiated content and process
If you prefer to create your own differentiated assignments :
Create differentiated modules and link different students to different modules
Create quizzes and practice quizzes at different levels and link students appropriately
Create different assignments and create a custom assignment by group
Type or copy your own differentiated questions, textbook questions or web links in the assignment description box
Create your own assignments in the program of your choice (word, ppt, notepad, etc). Upload files to your canvas page and link to the appropriate file in the assignment description box
Provide scaffolds to support differentiated processes:
Interactive graphic organizers: https://my.hrw.com/nsmedia/intgos/html/igo.htm
Downloadable graphic organizers in word: http://www.thinkport.org/graphic-organizers.html
Build differentiated assessments in DigiExam and provide each student with the appropriate Exam ID code. DigiExam can be added to your Canvas pages.
With DigiExam, you can create custom assessments and rubrics that can be taken online.
Options include spell check and computer lock down for more secure online testing
See separate guide on using DigiExam
Use Quizlet to build different review options for students
Quizlet has free teacher accounts for up to 8 classes of students: https://quizlet.com/teachers
Paid account offers upgrades like allowing images, voice recording, unlimited classes and additional customization
Quizlet can be integrated into Canvas: http://wise.overlake.org/canvas/how-to-embed-a-quizlet-in-a-canvas-page
If you prefer to use pre-designed differentiated practice sets:
CK-12 Adaptive Practice: https://www.ck12.org/assessment/ui/browse/practice/
Adaptive practice – students keep answering questions until they answer 10 correctly
Practice questions for: Math, Science, Spelling
Teacher accounts allow teachers to create classes and track student progress (requires account registration and login for teacher and students)
You can also create your own customized non-adaptive quizzes.
SAS Curriculum Pathways: https://www.sascurriculumpathways.com/portal/
Note: Curriculum Pathways will no longer be available after the 2020-2021 school year.
Repository of 1500+ FREE web and app based products for education.
Subjects include English, Math, Social Studies, Science and Spanish
Explore a list of tools: https://www.sascurriculumpathways.com/portal/#/pd/ataglance
Writing Navigator – supports students through the writing process with online tools for planning, drafting, revising and publishing final drafts. https://www.sascurriculumpathways.com/portal/#info/1759
Explore Primary Sources – database of primary source documents ranging from excerpts to full text, includes historical context and suggested questions. Some primary sources are available adjusted by grade level. https://www.sascurriculumpathways.com/portal/Launch?id=2600
Spanish Language Builders – provides interactive online practice listening and writing in Spanish. Includes practice and quizzes and students can save, print or email results. https://www.sascurriculumpathways.com/portal/#info/1764
Interactive writing and grammar activities designed to improve writing quality
Teacher can create class rosters and generate usernames and passwords
Diagnostic assessment is used to create personalized learning plan
Assignments can be given to the whole class or selected students.
Repository of articles that can be adjusted to different reading levels.
Includes articles for science, social studies, current events, issues, and primary sources
Some articles are available in Spanish, which can also be adjusted to different reading levels.
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Setting up a differentiated assignment
Setting up differentiated assignments.
Setting up Custom Sections
When setting up an assignment, instructors can indicate whether an assignment should be assigned for everyone in the course, for specific sections, student groups or for individual students.
Only the section(s), student group(s) or student(s) that are specified in the assignment details will be able to view the assignment.
1. Click Assignments
2. Click the Add Assignment button
3. Enter the Assignment details for the assignment:
- number of points
4. Click the x beside everyone so you are able to enter a specific section or student
You will see a list of sections and students to choose from.
5. Choose a section or student. You can also type the name of the section as Canvas doesn’t show a complete list of sections. You can choose more than 1 section or student.
6. Enter the availability dates for the assignment
7. Click Add if you would like to add another section or student to the assignment with a different due date.
You will be able to add the section or student:
8. Click Save to save the assignment or Save and Publish to publish the assignment
You will see a warning message indicating you didn’t choose to direct your assignment to the whole class.
6. Click Continue to go ahead and Save or Save and Publish the assignment.
In the gradebook, grade cells are greyed out for students who have not been included in the assignment. In the following assignment, only C Deep is assigned to the assignment:
Setting up Custom Sections in Your Course
Sections in a credit course are automatically synchronized with the corresponding class rosters in goSFU. Sometimes, particularly in larger online courses that lack tutorial sections, instructors may still wish to divide a class into smaller groups. This can usually be achieved by creating a Group Set (also known as student groups) on the course's People page.
In the case that students groups are not sufficient, as a last resort, we can add custom sections to the Canvas course. While these custom sections enable more advanced usage, such as differentiated assignments, the sections will not automatically sync. This means the instructor will have to add and remove students who add or drop the course who are in those sections.
One use case would be to assign a differentiated assignment to a subset of students, and to assign TAs to be responsible for subsections of a course that don't have goSFU tutorial/lab sections.
- To take advantage of features only available to course sections and not student groups (e.g. the use cases above)
- Not an officially supported configuration (should be considered last-resort)
- Requires custom setup by CEE/IT support
- Instructors will need to manage enrollments changes (adds/drops) manually
If you prefer to create groups rather than have custom sections created, please review the documentation on c reating student groups
Please contact [email protected] if you need custom sections for your course.
How to Use Sections in your Canvas Course
by Paige Kistler | Oct 17, 2018 | Newsletter
If you merged multiple sections into one Canvas course, you may be wondering how you can differentiate assets in your course based on sections. Any Canvas tool that includes assignment details will allow you to differentiate according to section, but you can also post announcements to sections, send conversations to sections, assign TAs to individual sections, and manage grades by section. Content in Canvas tools such as Files, Pages, or Modules cannot be differentiated by section and is seen by all students in a course.
Canvas recently introduced the ability to send announcements to specific sections, rather than the entire class. To select specific sections for your announcement, open the Post to drop-down menu and select one or more sections from the list provided. To remove a section you have selected, click the X next to its name. Users will only view announcements for the section in which they are enrolled.
When creating assignments in your course using Assignments, Quizzes, and Discussions , you can differentiate the assignment details. For example, your course sections may meet on different days of the week, so you can vary availability and due dates for each section. By default, Canvas will assign to everyone in your course, so to change to a section, click the X next to “Everyone” and choose a section. To add another section with different dates, click the “Add” button and start to type the section name in the new “Assign” field.
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New Feature: Differentiated Group Assignments
Great news! Instructors are now able to differentiate between different groups within a group set for group assignments/discussions.
After the necessary group sets have been created and the groups within those sets have been finalized, instructors can assign specific groups to an assignment and even have different due dates for each group.
After enabling group assignments as highlighted above, in the Assign to field, instructors can select which course section(s), group(s), and/or individual student(s) the assignment can be assigned to. If the section or group is not listed, instructors can also type in the field to search.
In the case of a graded group assignment/discussion, if certain students or groups have not been selected in the assign to field, they will not be able to see the assignment/discussion. While instructors may see all the groups within a group set listed for a discussion thread, the groups that have not been assigned will not be able to see the thread regardless.
Notes from Canvas:
- Since quizzes cannot be taken in groups, this feature is not available in Quizzes.
- Group memberships should always be finalized before assigning assignments to groups. Changing groups after assignments have been submitted may mis-align submissions and grades.
View the discussion thread.
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