This document provides technical information on how the NTN Gradebook interacts with the Canvas gradebook.
The NTN Gradebook for Canvas is a product created by New Tech Network to support schools implementing its innovative assessment practices. To learn more about these assessment practices, see this video.
The NTN Gradebook was originally engineered by a team of Instructure's developers. It is a plugin that uses Canvas' public API to leverage its native features in a way that allows teachers to implement multi-outcome scoring more easily.
Leveraging Canvas' Assignment Groups
Assignment Groups in Canvas allow teachers to organize assignments into groups or categories. In traditional classrooms, teachers might create Assignment Groups for classwork, homework, tests, or papers. Teachers can also assign a weight to the Assignment Group which determines how much influence it has in calculating the final course grade.
The NTN Gradebook leverages Assignment Groups by creating one for each of the learning outcome categories defined in the course. In the example below, the course has five learning outcomes with a specified weight. In Canvas' native gradebook, the five Assignment Groups associated with the outcomes are visible. The NTN Gradebook also creates an additional "Assignments" group which has zero weight in the course.
In addition to the Assignment Groups, the NTN Gradebook creates a single assignment for each outcome that is worth 100 points. These assignments are use to store the student's grade in each outcome. These assignments are not visible in the NTN Gradebook, but are visible in Canvas' native Grades and Assignments view. They should not be manually edited.
Note: If the course is using grading periods, an outcome rollup assignment will be created for each grading period.
Leveraging Canvas' Scoring Rubrics
When creating assignments in Canvas, teachers have the ability to set a scoring rubric for the activity. The scoring rubric allows teachers to score specific elements of the student work independently. Canvas then totals the score from the rubric elements for a final assignment score. The NTN Gradebook leverages the scoring rubric to create scoring elements (rows) that allow teachers to assess the learning outcomes.
When a teacher creates an assignment using the NTN Gradebook, they can enter the points possible for each outcome. Once the assignment is saved, the NTN Gradebook sends a command to Canvas to create the assignment and to create the scoring rubric to match the points possible of each outcome.
In the example below, an assignment has been created that is going to be assessed across three outcomes. The teacher can enter student scores within the NTN Gradebook or using Canvas' native SpeedGrader tool.
Verifying Using Canvas' Assignments Page
The Assignments page can be used to reveal how assignments created using the NTN Gradebook get stored in Canvas. All assignments will appear under the "Assignments" group which has no weight. Each of the rollup assignments generated by the NTN Gradebook appear under the appropriate weighted outcome group.
Note: Teachers can add additional Assignment Groups using the NTN Gradebook. These groups will also have zero weight. The only groups that have weight are the outcome groups.
Calculating the Student Grade
The NTN Gradebook calculates the student grade in several steps:
- Uses the scores stored in the rubric to sums up the points possible and points earned for each outcome independently.
- Calculates a percentage score for each outcome.
- Uses the score and weighting of each outcome to calculate the student's final course grade.
Leveraging Canvas' Grade Book
In order to maintain native Canvas reporting features and other functionality, the NTN Gradebook stores these calculated grades back to Canvas. In Canvas' gradebook scrolling from left to right, you will see:
- The assignment scores calculated by Canvas based on the totalling the points entered into the rubric. Multi-outcome scoring practices do not use the total points in calculating student grades. Because these are associated with an Assignment Group that has no weight, these scores ignored by the Canvas gradebook and are left out of all grade calculations.
- The rollup assignments store the outcome grades calculated by the NTN Gradebook. If a student average score for Written Communication is 85%, the NTN Gradebook will store a score of 85/100 in the Written Communication rollup activity. Because these activities are associated with Assignment Groups that have a weight, they are included in the grade calculations.
- The weighted assignment groups are ultimately what Canvas uses to calculate the final course grades. Canvas applies the grade and the weight using the same method as the NTN Gradebook.
- The final grade for each student posted in Canvas should match the one stored in the NTN Gradebook. Because the final grade is stored in Canvas, any reporting tools, exports, and SIS integrations will function properly.
Nightly Sync and Error Correction
To handle cases where a teacher has created assignments using the native Canvas Assignments page or where a an expected trigger event from Canvas doesn't get sent, the NTN Gradebook has a nightly sync that looks for anything out of place and attempts to correct the issue.
The NTN Gradebook is constantly being improved based on the feedback from users and we strive to keep our documentation up to date. If this document doesn't match what you are currently seeing, please let us know.