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Instructor FAQ: Canvas and PowerTeacher Grade Passback

Canvas has developed an automated integration infrastructure between Pearson’s PowerSchool and the Canvas learning management system. The integration communicates rostering data from PowerSchool to Canvas, and grade information from Canvas to PowerSchool. This document helps instructors with frequently asked questions and troubleshooting tips when Canvas is integrated with PowerSchool's legacy PowerTeacher gradebook.

How does PowerSchool work with Canvas?

The Canvas PowerSchool integration works bi-directionally:

  • PowerSchool to Canvas Provisioning: When an admin makes changes in PowerSchool to users, courses, enrollments, etc., those changes are reflected in Canvas after a nightly, one-way transfer from PowerSchool to Canvas.
  • Canvas to PowerSchool Grade Passback (GPB): When you make changes or updates to course assignments and student grades in Canvas, those changes are sent to PowerSchool from Canvas. Learn about syncing grades from Canvas to PowerSchool. Changes to assignments and grades in Canvas overwrite information in PowerSchool. However, if you make changes to grades and assignments in PowerSchool, they are not reflected in Canvas.

How frequently are grades updated from Canvas to PowerSchool?

Grade passback from Canvas to PowerSchool is initiated when you sync grades from your Canvas course gradebook to PowerSchool. Depending on the amount of data, you may need to wait several minutes for the data to display in PowerSchool.

Note: To view recently synced grades in PowerSchool, you may need to refresh your PowerSchool browser tab.

What information is included in a Canvas-to-PowerSchool sync?

The following assignment information is included when you sync grades from Canvas to PowerSchool:

  • Assignment description
  • Assignment group association/Category association
  • Assignment name
  • Due dates
  • Earned Scores
  • Extra credit points
  • Assignment status, if other than Late
  • Points possible

How do Canvas assignment groups and PowerTeacher categories relate to one another?

To maintain cross-platform consistency, your Canvas assignment groups should mirror your PowerSchool grading categories. Learn about naming your Canvas assignment groups.

If a Canvas assignment group has the same name as a PowerSchool gradebook category, assignments are synced from the Canvas assignment group into the matching PowerSchool category. If a Canvas assignment group name does not match a grading category in PowerSchool, Canvas assignments and graded discussions sync to the Homework category in PowerSchool, and quizzes default to to the Quiz category. If you have not created grading categories in PowerSchool, then Canvas assignments and graded discussions sync to the Homework category in PowerSchool, and quizzes default to to the Quiz category.

Before an assignment is created in PowerSchool, you must grade the assignment in Canvas and sync it from Canvas to PowerSchool.

Note: If you create a Canvas assignment group named Assignment, Assignments, or Quizzes, these groups automatically associate with the default PowerSchool categories Homework and Quiz.

Are there specific requirements for an assignment to sync from Canvas to PowerSchool?

Canvas passes back any assignment, graded discussion, or quiz that you have configured for SIS sync in Canvas. Learn about setting up an assignment for SIS sync.  

Canvas PowerSchool grade passback works when your assignments meet the following criteria:

  • Due dates are required for assignment and grade passback.
  • Assignment names must be unique. If a Canvas assignment name already exists in PowerSchool, Canvas will not sync that assignment to PowerSchool.
  • Assignments must be assigned to a specific section or to everyone in your course. PowerSchool does not support Canvas differentiated assignment functionality, including assignments assigned to individual students or MasteryPaths.
  • Assignment names cannot be longer than 30 characters.

Guides about creating assignments in Canvas:

How do I use the Canvas gradebook to sync data to PowerSchool?

To make changes to your PowerSchool gradebook, first make the changes in your Canvas course gradebook and sync the information to PowerSchool. Following this best practice allows consistent data flow between systems and ensures accurate data in both systems.

Please be aware of the following behaviors in the Canvas gradebook:

  • Assignments awarded a score with a decimal in Canvas (i.e. 10.5 points) display as a whole number in the PowerSchool gradebook (i.e. 10 points). However, if you view the assignment details in PowerSchool, the grade displays correctly (i.e. 10.5 points).
  • Your course must have a SIS ID in Canvas to pass grades to PowerSchool. If your course or section does not include an SIS ID in Course Settings, please contact your Canvas admin.
  • If you award an assignment score in Canvas that is higher than the total amount of points possible (i.e. 30 points out of 20), the extra points sync to PowerSchool as extra credit.
  • If enabled in your Canvas course, the Attendance assignment is not included in an PowerSchool sync.
  • If enabled in your Canvas course, Learning Mastery Gradebook data is not included in an PowerSchool sync.
  • Assignment weights in Canvas are not included in an PowerSchool sync. You must manually weight assignments in PowerSchool.
  • Submissions with a Late status cannot be synced to the PowerSchool gradebook.
  • Submissions with a Missing or Excused status without a score will sync a 0 score to the PowerSchool gradebook.
  • Hidden assignment scores are included in an PowerSchool sync. To maintain hidden scores from Canvas to PowerSchool, turn off the assignment sync to SIS option.
  • If an assignment with an identical name already exists in PowerSchool, Canvas does not sync any grades for the assignment; the assignment information will not be duplicated.

How do I sync grades to PowerSchool?

Canvas supports an API-based integration for the PowerSchool Gradebook. Learn how to sync grades from Canvas to PowerSchool.

Note: If you don't see an option to sync grades in the Gradebook, please contact your SIS administrator or Canvas Support for assistance.

How do I view grades from Canvas in PowerSchool?

After syncing grades from Canvas, refresh the PowerSchool gradebook.

  • To edit an assignment or to add or edit an assignment score, update the assignment in Canvas, then re-sync the data to PowerSchool. Any changes made in PowerSchool will be overwritten with existing assignment data in Canvas on the next sync.
  • You can view synced assignments in the Uncategorized section of the PowerSchool Gradebook.
  • If you sync a Canvas assignment to PowerSchool and later delete the assignment from Canvas, you must manually delete the assignment from PowerSchool.

How do I sync grades from Canvas to PowerSchool for a concluded or closed course?

In Canvas, select the assignments, quizzes, and graded discussions for SIS sync. Then sync your grades from the Canvas gradebook to PowerSchool.

Note: If you cannot make changes in a concluded or closed course, contact your Canvas admin.