Setup Canvas Grade Passback to Aspen

All of these steps need to be completed to allow grades from Canvas to be sent to Aspen.

  1. Create/Edit the Assignment Groups in Canvas
  2. Create/Add Assignments in the Canvas Assignment Groups
  3. Create the Categories in Aspen
  4. Sync Canvas Assignment Groups to Aspen Categories
  5. Sync Canvas grades

Please note: Grade Passback currently only works for assignments that are assigned to "Everyone".  If you have an assignment for a named student(s), it will not work. We are investigating a resolution.

If you have questions during the school day, please come to the HS library for Canvas help.

(Video walkthrough at the bottom of this page)

Step 1

Create/Edit the Assignment Groups In Canvas

Log in to Canvas and select your course.
In the course navigation, choose Assignments.

Click on the +Group button, to the left of the +Assignment button
(An assignment group is simply a collection of assignments that have a weighted percentage for the overall grade.)
Enter the Assignment Group name ( Homework, Quizzes, Projects, etc.) and enter the percent of the total grade for this group.
Each Assignment Group needs to have a weighted percentage of the total grade!

****The name you enter for the Canvas Assignment Group will be the same name you enter as the Aspen Category (more on this at the end of the directions)****

Now click Save
Repeat these steps for all of your Canvas Assignment Groups

     If you are using the default Assignment group, please be sure to enter the weighting percentage.


Step 2

Create/Add Assignments to Canvas’ Assignment Groups

If you already have assignments, please start directly below with #1 to ensure they are in the correct group.
If you have no assignments, scroll down to #2.
If your Assignment Groups are set up the way you need, scroll down to Create the Assignment Groups in Aspen

(1) My assignments are created

     If you have content imported from other courses, you most likely have a group called Imported Assignments. If this group contains graded assignments they need to be moved to their correct assignment group or else they won't get counted correctly for their grade.

As easy way to move assignments is to click and drag them from their current location to drop them into the appropriate assignment group.
Mouse over the left side of the assignment (the 8 dots), click, hold and drag the assignment
Click and Hold

Repeat if necessary.


(2) My assignments need to be created

Since you have the Assignment Groups created already, click on the + that is at the right side of an assignment group (circled in green in the image) to add directly to the group.
Here we will add a new assignment to the Science assignment group
Enter the minimum information:
Name, Due date, Points
** Notice that Sync to SIS is selected by default. Leave this for now, explanation later. **

If you select More Options it will allow you to build a full assignment. (external link)

Your assignment is now added to the group.
Repeat this process for any new assignments you need to create.

Step 3

Create the Assignment Groups in Aspen

Log in to Aspen
Select your Class →
On the class page, select Categories from the left navigation menu

When the page refreshes, click Options Add to create the first category

Code = This can only contain Letters, Numbers and Dashes. It cannot contain spaces. (20 chars max)
Description = Must be the Name of Assignment Group as it is named in Canvas (50 chars max)
Category Calculation Weight = Enter what you've entered in Canvas

Grade Scale = select the magnifying glass, then choose Barrington
Entry mode = Both
Total points = 100
Extra Credit Points = 0
Score cannot be dropped = (leave unchecked)
Visibility type = Public
     (Public means that assignments and grades appear in portals)


Create one category for each Canvas Assignment Group you have that should connect to Aspen.

When done, your category display will look something like this:


Step 4

Sync from Canvas to Aspen

You’ve set up your Canvas assignment groups and you’ve set up your Aspen categories, now let’s connect them!

Sync Canvas Assignment Groups to Aspen Categories
Go back to your Canvas course and select Assignments from the left navigation.
Click the vertical ellipse (1), the choose (2) Sync SIS Categories
You should see a list of your published Canvas assignment categories.
Match each Canvas Assignment Group (SIS Section) to your Aspen category (SIS Category)
When you’re done, press the blue Sync SIS Categories button at the bottom.

Head back to the Canvas Assignments in your course site.

Now you have to select which Assignments in the group you want to send to Aspen.
In this example, Math - week 1 has been selected, Math - week 2 and 3 have not.
Placing your mouse over the “black circle X” and you will see the message as shown below in Math - week 2.
You can turn off/on assignments whenever you sync by clicking on the icon.
Green = assignment grades are ready to sync
Black = assignment grades are not setup for sync
When you’ve selected all of the assignments that you intend to sync, head to your Canvas gradebook by selecting Grades from the course navigation.
You most likely have grades entered for students or you may need to enter some missing data.
Grades must be numerical, but...
You can use the Canvas status of Late, Missing or Excused, but you cannot use any other text entry for a grade.

When you’re done making edits in the Gradebook, click on Actions then Sync to SIS

You should see a list of all of your Assignments which are selected by default.
You can un/select the assignments as you see fit.

When you’ve decided which to sync, select the Post Grades button at the bottom
(Don't worry if you leave all selected, only the assignments that have a changed values will be updated)
You will then see an alert window, which you can close by clicking Click to see progress
There are nine steps in this process, so depending on how many grades and the size of your class, it may take some time to complete the process.
You can refresh the page to see updates during the full process.
If all has gone well, you should see a listing similar to what is shown below.
In this instance, only one grade was updated.

If you see an error message, click on the word Completed in the status. The most probable reason is that the Canvas Assignment group name and the Aspen Category name are not the same. Second may be that the grade entered in Canvas is more than the allowed total for the assignment.

At this point you can be safe to assume that the grades now are correct in Aspen,  but we’d suggest that you take a quick look there to see that everything looks as it should.

Once Grade Passback has been setup, the grades will be updated nightly at 10PM EST.

Things to note:

  • If you make a change to the Canvas grade book and need it to be updated prior the the 10PM schedule, please run the sync manually from your Canvas grade book:
Action--->Sync SIS--->(choose your assignment)--->Post Grades
  • Updates work one way: Canvas to Aspen
    • Updates made in Aspen do not get passed to Canvas.
  • If a grade is left empty in Canvas will remain empty in Aspen.
  • Deleting an assignment in Canvas does not remove the assignment from the Aspen gradebook. Deleted assignments in Canvas must also be manually deleted in Aspen.


See other articles in Canvas