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redhead38 01-05-2019 09:02 AM

No zero grade policy
I've posted about this before but can't quite get over it. I just read in the news about a teacher refusing to not give a 50 for work not turned in and she was fired. The school policy was to not give anything below a 50, but the district claimed it had no policy even though it is stated in the handbook. Other teachers I have spoken with state that they have made peace with it but I still have issues giving a student a "59" for a test that they put their name on and turned back in. Our policy is anything under a 49 gets pushed up to a 59. So yes, the student who doesn't ever do anything gets a 59 along with the student who struggles and also gets a 59, but has at least attempted. Yes it is still failing but the parent sees that they are 1 point from a D so therefore they are doing ok. I realize this is a losing battle as we continue to follow these policies. So basically a 50 is the new 0. Again, I am just venting about this but I also know I am the one being held responsible when these kids are still making 1's and 2's on the end of year tests.

southernfried 01-05-2019 10:08 AM

Noooooppe. Nope nope nope. My school "loosely" has a no-zero policy and I "loosely" don't follow it. There's no written rule, but my principal is very against zeroes. However, in the context of my classroom (flipped class, mastery based, kids know exactly what's expected and have all quarter to do it, work can be turned in until the last day of the quarter for full credit...), zeroes just plain make sense. It's come up in conversation before and I've explained how and why I give zeros, and her response has been "well that's different, but most of the time...". So I've taken that as permission to continue my current policy. I don't bring it up or advertise it to other teachers.

I DO agree with not giving a zero to a kid who genuinely tried. I DO agree with not giving a homework assignment Monday, making it due Tuesday, and then giving a zero with no chance to turn it in late or change the grade. I DO agree with not giving a kid a 26% as their final quarter grade - because there's no way to come back from that. But putting a 50 in the gradebook for an assignment a student never even attempted is straight up LYING. And I'm not okay with that.

I do what feels most honest and fair to me: I put zeroes in for assignments kids straight up didn't do. At the end of the quarter, I override the final grade to a 58% if it's lower than that (60 is passing). I usually have 6-10 out of 90ish kids fail per quarter. VERY rarely (like maybe once every other year) does a kid fail every quarter. Usually, they have at least one quarter where they get their act together enough to earn a D, and even one quarter with a mid-range D is enough to let them pass for the year. And even if they don't, their state test score is 20% of their overall grade, and even if they do poorly, with the way it's curved it's still usually enough to squeak them out a passing average overall.

Emily26 01-05-2019 10:21 AM

I understand the policy...
As it was explained to me when our school headed this direction. Just doing the basic math, in a 0-100 system, ONE bad score can tank your grade badly enough that a student can never recover. Unfortunately, the flip side is that students are gaming the system to do little to no work, making a passable showing on the midterms and finals, and getting passing grades. I also think it's irresponsible to say to parents, "Your child has a D", when in reality your child has only turned in 3% of his assignments. I think the ultimate answer is to do away with grading as it's currently set-up, which is really subjective and archaic, and move to something more standards-based. Firing a teacher for having qualms about passing a failing student is ridiculous.

Surly 01-05-2019 04:53 PM

Bottom line
There is, and has been for all of my 11 years, a tacit expectation to turn as many Fs into Ds as possible.

I understand the pressure to cook the books that administrators are under; they're only human. Objectively, though, it's a bogus policy. Whenever kids I know want to go in to teaching say something like "just give kids a zero" when I complain about kids not meeting deadlines, I laugh my ass off. I just think to myself, "you naive soul, wait until you have a mortgage or rent to pay."

Kids, all you need is .5 percent average (our online grade system rounds up at 59.5%) to get a high school diploma! No wonder they and their parents think we and our discipline guidelines are a joke.

Summerwillcom 01-05-2019 06:14 PM

I am pretty sure this started getting pushed
and common when some national system started evaluating schools on their graduation rates.
Before that, some elementary schools told you to put a 70 in the gradebook overtop every grade that was not passing and call it a reteach grade. That was over 20 yrs ago.
It was an extremely dishonest system.
Even where I am at now, it takes a lot to flunk a kid.
You have to use sped or intervention grades which are always passing.
The last time I flunked someone ( despite extreme documentation) and zero effort on the kid's part, my life/job became an absolute nightmare.
The kid was capable...just refused to do a darn thing, I caught so much crap from the parents and others higher up.
My P , who was nice at the time, trying to help me, told me to tread lightly and hold my ground or I could get canned IF the parent's persuaded me to change the grade. ( It would be for inaccurate recording if I changed it. I had not intended to despite the pressure.)
If I had not had an awesome P, his advice, and a pretty decent rep, I think I might have lost my job. All for giving F's to someone who refused to do anything all flipping yr. She dropped out of school a couple of yrs later, lives at home, and does not work. I am glad we went to standards based because of that ordeal. It makes it way easier.

Summerwillcom 01-05-2019 06:18 PM

I try to be a really honest person.
However, if I ever was put in that position again, knowing what I'd go through, it was really bad for many months, I can't say for sure, but I think I would have given her all D's.

redhead38 01-06-2019 03:23 PM

It's all pretty crazy. So my co-worker puts in the zero's and then overrides the F to a D. Again, so not fair but we can't put in F's of course. Again, we have students across the grade level that don't do any work what so ever and they will get a D on their report card. I understand it being very hard to bounce back from a zero in the grade book but there has to be another way. I don't think I will be able to accept this going forward. I will finish my time but I can't feel good about what I am doing. Others say they are over it and will do what they are told but I can't give a student who doesn't do their work a D on their report card, when I have other students who actually try but end up with a D too.

DiamondGirl 01-06-2019 04:24 PM

50 is the new 0
This county-wide policy is to help the failing child. It helps because it is easier to recover from a 50 than it is to recover from a 0. I've never had a failing student recover from a 50. Our grade book is online. I can't even put the actual grade in the grade book. I honestly feel like I'm "cooking" the books every time I put in the 50 and the not the true grade. None of my grades can be below 50. Do I like the policy? No. Do I follow the policy? Yes. Do I have a voice in my non-union state? No.

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