1.4 Course Grading Policy

The course grading policy must be clearly stated in the syllabus. Include a list of all graded items, points, weights, etc.

Points: 3 (Essential)

QM Alignment: 3.2


Are students clear on how grades are calculated?​

How do students check their grades?​

  • The course grading policy must be clearly stated in the syllabus.
  • Include a list of all graded items, points, weights, and other grade policy items.

Other related things you might include in your course syllabus and Canvas course:

  • Points/Percentage relationship to letter grades (grading scheme)
  • Assignment rubrics or checklists
  • Self-scoring practice quizzes
  • Interactive games and simulations with feedback built-in
  • Feedback policy (see section 7 of the quality rubric)
  • Late work submission policy

Common Issues

  • No guidance on how students will be graded for an assignment or project or discussion activity. Check for a rubric, for example.
  • No grading policy, late work policy, etc. Usually this would be in the syllabus and/or in an orientation module.
  • The Assignments area in the course is missing assignments, missing point values, due dates, not organized clearly, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I have to use the Canvas gradebook/assignments area?
    • All graded activities should be represented as assignments, graded discussions, or quizzes/tests. They should show up in the Assignments area, and each should have due dates. These graded activities could individually be placed in the modules, however, instead of or in addition to showing the Assignments item in the Canvas navigation menu.
  • Do I have to use rubrics?
    • No, you can provide guidance to students in other ways you see fit. You could explain what students need to do and why, and be clear on the criteria used for grading, perhaps even sharing sample previous work from students. This is basically what the transparent assignment template does, if you find that useful.
    • Canvas rubrics though not only provide guidance to students on how to successfully complete an activity and how it will be evaluated, but they also can save you a lot of time when grading and giving students feedback.
  • What about grading a big assignment, project, paper that involves multiple steps/stages?
    • That’s great to break up big assignments or papers or projects into multiple steps or stages. This is known as scaffolding, adding supports and guidance and checkpoints for students. Each stage or checkpoint could be a separate assignment, such as: turn in ideas for a paper topic plus a few references, turn in an initial outline with more references, turn in a first draft, turn in last/final draft, with perhaps a peer review/feedback stage.


Sample Instructor Feedback Policy

All weekly assignments will be officially graded after the Sunday, 6:00 pm due date. When an assignment or discussion is graded, you can expect
  • A completed rubric.
  • Additional instructor comments via the text box or audio.
  • Suggestions for improvement.
Once all student submissions are graded, you can expect a class feedback announcement. At this time, please review the feedback and your graded assignment.  If you need to discuss a specific grade, you should contact me via email with specific questions.  Normally, we will schedule a consultation.

Sample List of Graded Items

Category Percentage
Pre and Post Surveys 10
Required Learning Activities 20
Discussions 20
Student Profile Project 25
Lesson Plan Project 25
Total Course Percentage 100%

Sample Grade Distribution

Final course grades will be calculated using this grade distribution.
  • A = 90 – 100 percent
  • B = 80 – 89 percent
  • C = 70 – 79 percent
  • D = 60 – 69 percent
  • F = 59 or less



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HCC Online Course High Quality Standards by Hillsborough Community College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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