If you are at a Partner school that uses Canvas, your Canvas administrator will be able to add Formative as an external app to Canvas through LTI. Once installed, you will be able to open Formative in Canvas, and create Canvas assignments that include formatives. Students will then be able to log in to Canvas to take formatives. You can even pass grades back from Formative to Canvas's grade book, too!

(Prefer watching a video? Check out this 3:38 video walkthrough: How to use Formative with Canvas!)

There are two ways you can assign a formative through Canvas: create a formative in Formative first, then create the Canvas assignment; or create the Canvas assignment first, then create the formative.

Option 1: Create a formative in Formative first, then create the Canvas assignment

Firstly, create your formative, and assign it to the relevant class in Formative in the usual way.

Then, navigate to the appropriate course and create an assignment in Canvas:

  1. If you intend to do Grade Passback later, make sure the assignment has a point value.

  2. Set the Submission Type to "External Tool."

You can either put the link to the formative into the External Tool URL, or, use the "Find" feature to choose an assessment and insert a link to it:

Afterwards, you can click "Select" to close the "Find" modal and the "External Tool URL" field will have been filled in.

Click "Save & Publish" when your assignment is ready!

If you did not check "Load This Tool in a New Tab" when creating the Canvas assignment, the formative will load directly in Canvas for you, on the Edit screen:

When students log in to Canvas, they can click on the assignment, and Formative will load directly in Canvas for them.

If you checked "Load This Tool in a New Tab," both you and your students (when they click on the Canvas assignment) will see a "Load in a new window" button. Click this to launch the formative!

Option 2: Create the Canvas assignment first, then create and assign the formative.

To start with Canvas, navigate to the appropriate course in Canvas and create an assignment.

  1. If you intend to do Grade Passback later, make sure the assignment has a point value.

  2. Set the Submission Type to "External Tool."

Click the "Find" button and then select "Formative:"

Then, click the blue "+New Formative" button on the "Link Resource from External Tool" modal:

Click "Select" and then "Save" your assignment (don't "Save & Publish" yet). A new, blank formative will load within Canvas - or, if you checked "Load This Tool in a New Tab," you'll see a "Load in a new window" button. Click this button to load a new, blank formative in a separate tab.

Add content and questions to this blank formative, and assign to the relevant Formative class in the usual way.

When that's complete, click "Edit Assignment Settings" in Canvas and then hit "Save & Publish" to publish it to your Canvas course!

When students log in to Canvas, they can click on the assignment, and Formative will load directly in Canvas for them. Or, if you checked "Load This Tool in a New Tab," when your students click on the Canvas assignment, they will see a "Load in a new window" button. They can click this to launch the formative!

Tips for smooth assigning:

Assignment settings

  • The point value in Canvas will override the point value in Formative when you pass grades back to the Canvas grade book. For example, if a formative is worth 10 points but the Canvas assignment is worth 20, then a student who scores 5 points in Formative (50%) will get 10 points in Canvas (also 50%).

  • It makes sense to have the Formative and Canvas assignment settings be complimentary. For example, if you have set "Allow edits" in the "After submission" settings in Formative, it makes sense for the Canvas "Allowed Attempts" setting to be "Unlimited." Likewise, it makes sense for the scheduled open and close times of the formative to match the "Available from/until" dates in Canvas.

Grade pass back tips

In order for grade passback to work later, students must click on the Canvas assignment to open the formative. (Grade passback won't work if students click on a Formative link in the course menu, or if they open the formative on the Formative website itself). For this reason, we recommend:

1. Removing the "Formative" link from the course menu:

2. Going into "Assign" and updating the settings to "Require Canvas launch." This will prevent students from opening the formative on the Formative website.

Grading using rubrics

Do you use rubrics for grading? You can add a Canvas rubric to a formative assignment! Follow these steps:

  1. Create a Canvas assignment in the relevant course

  2. Fill out all the relevant information (point value, description etc), and select "On Paper" for the submission type

  3. Click "Save"

  4. Click the "+ Rubric" button and add your rubric, then click "Create"

  5. Click the "Edit" button at the top right to edit your assignment

  6. Change the submission type to "External Tool" and select the appropriate formative (see steps for option 1 or option 2 above)

  7. Click "Save & Publish!"

For assignments with rubrics, you can click the "Speedgrader" button to load speedgrader once students have responded. Each student's responses will load on one page, and you can view and grade using the rubric on the right.

What's Next?

Learn how to pass grades back to Canvas once your students have responded!


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