Grading Efficiently and Consistently with TAs & Graders

Filed in Canvas, gradebook by on September 1, 2020

Welcome to A-Term 2020, and thanks for joining us for the first Tech Tuesday of the new school year! Today we’re looking at grading in Canvas and tools available to help you streamline this necessary but sometimes cumbersome activity.

There’s several ways Canvas can help make grading more automated, consistent, and efficient when you have student help such as TAs, Graders, and PLAs.

First, see how the 3 roles are defined in Canvas at WPI:

TA – An instructor role, but called TA so they are not confused with the instructor on record

Grader – Can see and edit grades, can’t edit course materials

PLA – Can’t edit course materials or see grades, and doesn’t show up in Gradebook

Please note: Some academic departments at WPI use the terms PLA and Grader interchangeably. But we had to determine a consistent way to assign the permissions in Canvas. In Canvas, a PLA is defined as a student who can see course content but cannot see grades or edit. If you have a PLA who is helping you grade, they should be given the role of Grader. If your PLA will be helping you with adding course materials and grading, they should be given the TA role in Canvas. If you have any questions, please reach out to


Tools available in Canvas for more consistent grading

Restrict TA & Grader Grading by Section

Do you have multiple course sections merged or cross-listed into one large course site? In Canvas, you can assign TAs and Graders to specific sections in a course and limit their access to those sections only.

How to add TA/Grader to a single section

How to limit access to other sections


Grading Quizzes by Question

Canvas allows quizzes to be graded by question. So for example, if you wanted one TA/Grader to grade all the “Question 1’s” on a quiz, they can easily move from student to student in SpeedGrader to get those done. Please note: This does not work with randomized question order from a Question Bank.

How to enable Grade by Question


Moderated Grading

Moderated grading allows multiple reviewers to grade students work and create draft or provisional grades for an assignment. You can then review their assessments before determining the final grade. You can also enable anonymous grading so graders & TAs cannot see each other’s names. *This tool must be enabled in your course by going to Settings > Feature Options then click toggle for Moderated Grading*

How to enable moderated grading

How to publish grades for a moderated assignment


Anonymous Grading

You can enable anonymous grading to help prevent implicit bias in grading by hiding student names in SpeedGrader. You can also enable anonymous grading for instructor annotations. *This tool must be enabled in your course by going to Settings > Feature Options then click toggle for Anonymous Grading and/or Anonymous Instructor Annotations*

Hide Student Names in SpeedGrader

Enable Anonymous Instructor Annotations



Rubrics can help align consistent grading practices amongst all graders/TAs in the course and create grading transparency for students.

Create a Rubric in a course

Add a Rubric to an assignment


View Grading History

You can view the history of all Gradebook changes in your course using the Gradebook History page. Gradebook History is a log that allows you to see who graded each assignment. You may filter grading history by student, grader, assignment, and date.

How to view grading history in my course


Gradebook Filters & Organization

Gradebook can be filtered by assignment group, section, and modules. Multiple filters can be used at the same time. Filters are unique to the user, so each Grader/TA/Instructor can customize their own view.

How to apply filters to Gradebook columns and rows


Automated Grade Posting Policies

By default, Canvas automatically makes assignment grades visible to students as soon as they are entered in the gradebook. If you select a manual course posting policy, all assignment grades remain hidden from student view by default until you post grades for each assignment. You may enable other automated grading policies in your course: Missing Submission policy and Late Submission policy.

How to enable manual grade posting policy

How to apply missing submission policy

How to apply late submission policy


Need more help using Gradebook in Canvas?

Full Canvas Gradebook Documentation


And as always, if you have any questions or would like to schedule a training, feel free to email us at

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