{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "My District decided to initiate a “no zero policy” starting now. I was informed by administration that when a student does not turn in their work, I still have to give the student a fifty percent even though that student didn’t earn it. I teach sixth graders and I am not sure how I feel about this. Any words of advice?", "post_id": "600319da2741ef0021c948f2", "reply_count": 474, "vote_count": 28, "bowl_id": "5c751b9f2f6b98001bc666f8", "bowl_name": "Teachers", "feed_type": "crowd" }

My District decided to initiate a “no zero policy” starting now. I was informed by administration that when a student does not turn in their work, I still have to give the student a fifty percent even though that student didn’t earn it. I teach sixth graders and I am not sure how I feel about this. Any words of advice?

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There’s always a way to manipulate grading policy and make it work for your classroom. I don’t think people should worry so much about “experiencing failure“ because technically they are still failing but it does allow for young minds to have a more optimistic view in bringing up their grade. You can also refer to a 50 as a placeholder. There are a few things to consider when using a 50% as a placeholder for a missing work or not turned in work. How was your greeting split up are you grading everything as an assessment or do you have specific categories that equals specific percentages? Example if you want to manipulate your gradebook so that the 50% Holds more weight on effort-based classwork you make classwork assignments worth more. If you want your 50% or missing work to hold more value in your tests you would increase your assessment percentages. Feel like we are teachers put too much thought into grading policy and percentages we can manipulate this in so many ways so by worrying about how much something is worth or worrying about the 50% placeholder we’re not seeing that there are other ways that we can become creative in making sure the things that we value for our classroom are put into place. If it’s a policy it’s a policy it’s not going anywhere try to think of ways to work around that policy or practice manipulating how much assignments you introduced into your lessons to manipulate the math or go around the math of the policy so that you feel comfortable with student grades and feel like the numbers accurately represent where they stand in your class


When we think of grades, we often attribute them to either a letter grade or percentage. As a letter grade, we assign an A, B, C, D, and E or F. However, as a percentage, we have a 10 percent range for each letter from A thru D and a 50 percentage range for a F. If we were to assign a letter grade to every 10 percentage points that can be attributed to a student’s failing grade then we would need to add letters G, H, I, J and K. This might seem a little ridiculous to assign students a K grade, but in fact that is what we are doing when we give them a zero. Zeros (or K grades) do not identify the students’ ability or understanding of the content, only their lack of handing in an assignment, completing tasks on a particular due date, etc. Now don’t get me wrong, students should not be “given” grades that are not warranted or deserved, but we also cannot penalize them beyond our typical grading system. Another way of looking at how the power of zero impacts students’ overall grades is to look at a simple science experiment. In the experiment, the teacher wanted the students to determine the average daily temperature. If the students in a group were to record the temperature on Monday and it was 88°, Tuesday was 85, the student missed Wednesday’s recording, Thursday was 89, and Friday as 91° then they could have two potentially two different averages if they were to use the zero (average 70.6°) or not (average 88.3°). The science teacher would indicate to the group that they would need to void the zero temperature reading due to the fact it would greatly skew the averages and it would give a false representation of the true temperature recordings of the week. We can say the same is true of a student's grades in that a zero would greatly skew the average which would give a false representation of the student’s ability to comprehend the material. By using zeros in our traditional grading system, we are not taking an accurate representation of the students knowledge, but grading their accountability or ability to adhere to a deadline. As educators, we need to accurately evaluate students on mastery of the content and give them multiple opportunities to give us a true representation of their learning. Thus, failure should have limits in order to justify the grading system and to accurately document students' true understanding of the curriculum.


I have maybe a little bit different view and that is are all of the items necessary to do in order to master the content? Over the years my perspective has changed. When I first started teaching I wanted the kids to do certain tasks because I assigned them, but the reality is that sometimes they can figure out the concepts without going through some pre-set hoops. My department team has had a lot of discussions about these types of topics. Are we focusing on compliance or mastery? I have kids submit some assignments so that I can provide them with feedback on areas they need to reconsider in their concept building, but the items are not a high point value. I also give a time window where kids can submit and re-submit assignments for feedback. The most important academic factors for me are the engagement level of the student and the mastery of the content. When a student is immersed in the learning process they are able to figure out new things and think in new ways. Some kids shy away from science because they weren't able to memorize and regurgitate facts. I want them to learn to take risks in analyzing the world around them works. I have projects and smaller more frequent assessments where students can demonstrate mastery, but also they can go back and learn or correct their misconceptions and take the assessment again. Sometimes when kids struggle I just pause and we discuss where they are having difficulties. Not sure if this is helpful at all.


I agree. I just don’t know how we can assess when they refuse to do anything. I don’t know if they have mastered anything because they don’t do anything.

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Not a fan. Life skills are just as important as learning standards in the classroom. When was the last time you simply chose to NOT do your job but expected half pay. Not a fan. Choices have consequences. Think who you’re saving. Any kid can recover from “one” zero. This policy will save the kids who just decide to not show up, take 10 zeros and then decide to try. They earn a passing grade, but how much have they learned? What the point?


What if you hired someone to clean your yard for 20 dollars. He doesn't show do you still pay him 10? What are we really teaching these kids?


This policy just seems like another way to decrease the likelihood that students experience failure and makes recording keeping look like things are going better than they are. If I have a student who does 0 work, then that student's grade should be a 0%. A 50% is still failing, but makes it look like the student did something instead of nothing and requires less work from the student to be raised to passing. How are students going to learn anything about being responsible or being held accountable for their actions and choices if policies like this become the norm.


In my school, we do not have the choice of using absences as a determining factor. It is in our handbook, but NEVER enforced. The argument is that the child cannot help what the parents allow.

Actually I think this is great with a notification to students and families that zeros will be entered at 50% so that the student has an opportunity to recover. Zeros make it hard to bring up a grade so many just say why bother at this point


I just had a situation where a student is receiving 50% for missing work in a class. When we did assessed their grades to decide what to work on, I am a Resource teacher, he couldn’t tell me what was actually done and what wasn’t. It took so long to go through each assignments one by one online and decide what he needs to do to bring up the grade to passing.

Hey I’ve got a question -if I do 0%of the grading and 0% of the planning and 0% of the teaching do I still get 50% of the pay? Fair is fair right - cause that’s what the policy is teaching!


My husband is in charge of a line in his factory. Work ethic is getting ridiculous. And yes they can be docked pay. Several of his workers have.

That’s insane. That is encouraging the student not to do the work.


Texas High School 2, opinions by nature are neither right or wrong. I teach current events. That is one of the first things we teach; fact versus opinions.


And why this kid who did everything will now pick and choose the assignments they know will give them an A.


Then you evaluate based on what is completed and note that in his grades


Many on our staff is doing the same. Theory behind it is that a 50% F is still an F but it is an F that a student could recover from. At our High School, not only did they give 50% but then did not put a grade in for any missed assessments. So two students got the same grade, a B. One student had all work turned in and mostly A on assessments, a couple of B and one D. That student earned the B. The other student had 15+ missing assignments and was missing the final grade, over half the assignments and the 4 assessments they did have a grade were one A and the rest B. Tell me that this is ok?


Maybe we should all look at the types and quality of assignments we’re giving. If a student is successful on a performance task or summative assessment, then they may not have had to do the practice assignments leading up to it. Are we assigning things just for the sake of giving them work and putting some grades in the gradebook? Can students choose to NOT do them but still demonstrate understanding? I see myself doing this, too...assigning things so students can “bring up their grade”, only to have some kids not do it and then suffer. Lately, I have tried to think about my summative assessments as a driving test. I wouldn’t punish a student as they are learning the rules of the road and I wouldn’t punish a student for not showing up for the practice hours if they proved they knew how to drive on the actual driver’s test. But I definitely would send them back to re-learn if they failed that last test! This seems to mimic real life more accurately. I know this an exaggeration, but it helps me make sense of performance-based learning and grading a bit more.


Mathematically it’s correct and you can put a statement saying the grade is based on policy and the student did not complete the task. 50 percent is still failing therefore not giving student credit.


I’m actually sick of them making more work for us. I have so many zeros putting in a statement for everyone would take time. They should have a way to mark it as incomplete and give them the 50% without making more work for us.

This is one of the reasons I left teaching. We are not teaching students to take responsibility for anything any more.


Let’s try to respond with a modicum of respect. This is completely an opinion based question. There is no hard evidence that proves a no zero policy is the correct method or that giving zeros is. I have worked in education for 20 years. I have watched many of students grow up and move on. As we have instated more and more less punitive policies I have also seen the business community that discusses how well we are preparing students for the world work cite problems that are growing and getting worse. I stand by my zero policy. I have listened to other’s arguments and while some have merits, especially in younger grades, such as grades are to measure acquisition of standards. I also know I am not doing my student any favors by not teaching them more than just the standard. They need to learn initiative, responsibility, perseverance, and resiliency.


Assign morning detention or after school detention and make them do the work.


If they do not complete the work in regular school time, they will not complete it in forced after school time. Not to mention, why should this fall, on already overworked teachers. Every teacher I know is giving multiple opportunity to turn in work. Student who choose not to do it. Choose to fail


I don’t have a problem giving any student that at least tries a 50. My concern is the student who does nothing. Yes, they would still fail but what type of message are we sending? I want my students to feel success, and it’s not just about grades, but shouldn’t they have to try before playing let’s make a deal?


It’s a debatable issue. Should everyone get a trophy just by being a spectator? If truly, we want our students to be trailblazers; the idea of not putting any effort should not be discussed. I would rather have a zero doing my best than getting a fifty not trying. This is a dangerous idea that we are leading our new generation into who will be the future. I would definitely bring that to Admin’s attention.


You’re right! I don’t believe grades are finite. There are so many other factors that are important for the well-being for our students’ success in the long run.


This is absolutely part of the HUGE problem of the entitlement mindset in this country. Do nothing - get something that you NEVER earned.


I have some students who don’t show up online on test days. If a student who does show up, takes the test, and let’s say they miss 6 out of 10. They get a 40% while one who doesn’t show up gets a 50%? That’s why I’m wondering if 50% is the lowest grade your district permits you to give.


In my District that is.

I cannot agree with the policy for it teaches students they can get credit for something they didn't do. I consider it grade inflation which in my opinion is an unethical practice.


Maybe you use grades as a teaching tool. However, grades shouldn’t “teach” anything.

Standards based grading is the solution to this problem. This method separates work scores from behavior scores. Not doing homework is a behavior scored separately from academics. Grades should only be based on academics. How you handle a student not turning in homework, a behavior, needs a better solution that academic punishment


I don’t think numerical grades mean a thing. I think we should go to kindergarten ways. Have they shown mastery on a standard or not? Our grading system hides so much.


Then the 8 standards would be listed and 4 would be marked mastered and the other 4 in progress. I get kids 2 and 3 levels below grade level and their parents don’t realize they are behind because the students are passed along and have had 70s on their report cards.


That’s education in 2021 for you. We’re teaching a generation of idiots. I feel sorry for the next generation of teachers when these kids are parents.


I disagree! I am sure you will go above and beyond as always to prepare our students for the future which has to come. That’s the point that we’ve granted this awesome responsibility just as “Prophets in the teaching field” to foretell what has to come and also prepare our students for the storm that has to come. ‘Your work is not to drag the world kicking and screaming into a new awareness. Your job is to simply do your work… sacredly, secretly, silently … and those with “eyes to see and ears to hear’ will respond.’ –The Arturians

My concern is that the district is requiring you to falsify a document. Imagine down the road a parent accuses the school system of failing to educate their child. How does the district defend that?


It’s not falsifying anything. The parents are seeing first hand if your child doesn’t do the work, then they don’t receive a grade. If your child does the work they receive a grade. It’s really that simple. The parents can’t accuse the school system if they child is learning at home under their parents roof. We are providing all the knowledge this year but parents have to meet us halfway. I can’t hold your child’s hand this year. So if a parent accuses me I’m throwing it right back.

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