Anonymous grading is the practice of hiding the identity of a student to the person who is assessing their work. While anonymous grading may not be appropriate for every assignment, there is some evidence that the practice can help in eliminating both actual and perceived evaluator bias. Blind grading can prevent “halo bias” from previous experiences with a student (Malouff, Emmerton, and Schutte, 2013) or potential implicit bias related to student characteristics (Archer and McCarthy, 1988) and can eliminate accusations of biased or unfair grading.
Anonymous Grading in Canvas
The Canvas SpeedGrader has options in place for you to implement anonymous grading, but there are some additional steps you may need to take depending on the nature of the assignment.
- To enable anonymous grading, open the SpeedGrader, and click on the gear icon in the upper left corner.
- Check the box next to “Hide students names in the SpeedGrader”.
- Click “Save Settings”.
This will remove students names from the drop-down in the upper right corner of the page – changing them to “Student 1”, “Student 2”, “Student 3′, etc. For some assignment types, such as “text entry” or “website URL”, this is all you will need to do.
However, for “file upload” assignments, in which students upload their assignment (in the form of a Word document or PDF, for instance), it is important that you tell students not to put their name on the assignment . Although Canvas will hide student names from the drop-down menu, it cannot hide student names that are printed on uploaded files. Student names are not needed on these file uploads, as Canvas will still associate the file with the student’s account in Canvas .
Note: You can go back into the SpeedGrader settings and uncheck the box to reveal student names at any time. Be sure to mute the assignment if you want to review your grades before releasing them to students.
Archer, J. & McCarthy, B. (1988). Personal biases in student assessment. Educational Research, 30(2), 142-145.
Malouff, J.M., Emmerton, A.J., & Schutte, N.S. (2013). The risk of halo bias as a reason to keep students anonymous during grading. Teaching of Psychology, 40(3), 233-237.