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Starfish: Use Canvas Grade and the Zoom In Feature


10.0 - Updated on 06-01-2022 by Emily Fogel Conway (eaf204)

9.0 - Updated on 01-20-2022 by Emily Fogel Conway (eaf204)

8.0 - Updated on 01-19-2022 by Emily Fogel Conway (eaf204)

7.0 - Updated on 11-30-2021 by Janet Schulenberg (jks142)

6.0 - Updated on 05-11-2021 by Emily Fogel Conway (eaf204)

5.0 - Updated on 05-11-2021 by Emily Fogel Conway (eaf204)

4.0 - Updated on 12-11-2020 by Janet Schulenberg (jks142)

3.0 - Updated on 09-04-2019 by Janet Schulenberg (jks142)

2.0 - Updated on 09-04-2019 by Janet Schulenberg (jks142)

1.0 - Authored on 08-10-2017 by Janet Schulenberg (jks142)


This article is intended for Faculty and Staff users of Starfish.


The Zoom In feature allows instructors to identify students whose grades fall in a particular range, select them all, and provide the same feedback simultaneously. This feature is designed to help instructors of high-enrollment courses in particular.

If you want to use this feature to streamline your progress reporting:



Set Up Your Canvas Gradebook

As long as your Canvas gradebook is properly configured, Starfish receives a nightly update of each student's "Current Grade" from your Canvas gradebook.

IMPORTANT: A snapshot of Canvas Current Grade is taken each night at midnight Eastern Time and is visible in Starfish by 5:00 am Eastern Time.

NOTE: You must set a Penn State compatible grading scheme in order for Canvas scores to be read by Starfish. Instructions for setting a grading scheme are here: this was not done previously, you will need to wait overnight for the grades to be captured in the Starfish import.

Once imported to Starfish, the Canvas grade is only visible to the course instructor(s) and TA(s). Please refer to Canvas learning guides for information about the Canvas gradebook.


Set Score Thresholds in Starfish

For each course section, set grade thresholds to categorize "poor", "ok", and "good" grades.

1. Login to Starfish.

2. Click on the triple bar or "hamburger" icon in the upper left to open the navigation menu. 

3. Go to the Students section.

4. Click the Zoom In tab.

5. Choose the desired course section from the "Filter Students By:" drop-down menu on the far right.

Filter Students by course















     NOTE: The "Missed" category is not used in this current integration.

6. Click the Setup Section button.

7. If there are Canvas grades for this course, you will see a line for Current Grade from Canvas. On this line:

Checkmark options





7. Click the Submit button.

You may change these settings at any point you wish, and they will not carry over to subsequent semesters.


Use the categories to provide students feedback

1. Begin on the Zoom In tab.

2. Choose the desired course section from the "Filter Students By:" drop-down menu on the far right.

3. Select a category (Good, OK, or Poor) and click Go.

     NOTE: This filters your course section's roster to show only students whose current Canvas grade falls into the selected category, as defined by your setup in the previous step.

4. Choose Select All on each page of students.

     NOTE: Starfish currently limits roster display to 75 students per page. For large courses, you need to select all students on each page. A request to change this has been made to Starfish.

5. Choose the Flag button to raise a warning, or choose the Kudo button to provide neutral or positive feedback.

6. Select the particular Flag or Kudo you wish to raise from the drop-down menu.

7. Select the course context for the Flag or Kudo from the drop-down menu.

8. If you wish to add a comment, enter it in the Comment box. The same comment will be sent to all selected students.

9. Click the Save button.


Stop email reminders about progress report surveys (optional)

If you are using this method during one of the progress reporting periods, you can stop reminder emails by doing the following:

1. Click the link to an outstanding progress survey from your Starfish homepage.

2. Leave the default "No Feedback" selected for all students.

3. Scroll to the bottom of the survey and click the Submit button.

     NOTE: Since you already provided feedback to students, there is no need to do so again through the survey.