Grading Edition Part 2: Providing Extra Credit

There are two available methods for providing extra credit in Canvas:


Option 1: Create assignments that don’t specify the points possible

Remember how Canvas calculates: Points Earned / Total Points Possible = Total

If an assignment does not specify the points possible, any points earned on that assignment are extra points that are not account for in the total points possible, so the end result is a higher score. See


This method works as long as you don’t have extra credit quizzes, which, by design, have a defined number of points possible. It can also be tricky if you are weighting grades using assignment groups. In these cases, you may need to use method 2.

Option 2: Use Assignment Group Weighting that totals more than 100%

Organize all of your required assignments into groups and put your extra credit assignments into additional extra credit assignment groups.

  1. Make sure the total weighting of all required assignment groups equals 100%.
    1. If all required assignments are in one group, this is easy. Make the whole required assignments group worth 100% of the grade.
    2. If you have your required assignments split into multiple groups and you were already planning to used a weighted grading approach, simply set up the weighting scheme as planned, making sure it equals 100%.
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    3. If you have required assignments split into multiple groups and you were not planning to weight scores, determine how to weight each group by determining how many points are possible in the group and their percentage of the total points possible:
      (Total Group Points Possible / Total Points Possible) * 100
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  2. Determine how many total extra credit points you wish to provide.
  3. Determine how many percentage points above 100 are needed to achieve the desired number of extra credit points. All steps condensed into one formula would look something like this:
    (((Extra Credit Points + Total Required Points) / Total Required Points) * 100) -100
  4. Weight your extra credit group(s) accordingly.
  5. Test your outcomes, if possible. Be wary of unexpected results.

Note: If using Option 2, it’s safest to put each extra credit assignment in its own assignment group. 

Because extra credit is optional, students may complete all extra credit assignments, or they may not. If you don’t provide a grade where extra credit was turned in, they will receive a higher percentage than they earned. If you do provide a zero where they didn’t turn in extra credit, it will appear to bring down their overall percentage until all grades are finalized. Keeping each extra credit assignment in its own group prevents both problems as long as you leave unsubmitted extra credit grades blank.