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Question

I am an education student and currently I am studying the document "Growing Success". In
reading the section about Evaluation under Late and Missed Assignments (pg 45), two views
are presented. One suggests that giving a student a zero for not handing in an assignment
teachs the student to be accountable for their work, especially in the light of post-secondary
or employment expectations. Another suggests that giving zeros does not motivate students
but rather discourages them.
As a respected education consultant, I was wondering which side you would agree with and
why. This is an element of evaluation that I have yet to form an opinion on and I would like
to make an informed decision.
Thanks

2012-10-27
MegMac
 

The
Grade
Doctor
says:

Giving zeros is the opposite of accountability and responsibility because it says to students
'now you don't have to do it, you can just take a zero.' To promote real accountability we
should insist that students provide all required ESSENTIAL (but not necessarily all)
summative assessment and if they do not provide sufficient evidence the grade they
receive is an I for Incomplete or Insufficient Evidence.

 

Kevin's
Comment

2012-11-04

How long can students be incomplete for Ken? That is, I totally agree with your statement
but what kind of accountability is it when students are left with incomplete for entire
semesters? That is what is happening in MANY schools who have implemented no zero
policies. In fact, some divisions and provinces are moving away from their no zero
policies. I would suggest that the idea of 'real accountability' is still quite illusive in the
no-zero model you propose. Don't get me wrong, I am very much for using incomplete
and have not used zeros or late marks for four years. What should we do with students
who refuse to engage and refuse to submit things in a timely fashion so we can give them
the formative feedback they need to succeed? What environment does it create in a
classroom when students are allowed to pick and choose what and when they submit
things that are deemed ESSENTIAL?


The Grade Doctor's
Comment

2012-11-04

Kevin, I think the two best ways to deal with this are:
1. a support period in the timetable with students with late or missing work required to attend; and
2. very clear assessment plans that state how many and which assessments must be completed to receive a grade/credit with the consequence of F/no credit if the required assessments are not completed NO MATTER HOW WELL THE STUDENTS DO ON THE ASSESSMENTS THEY SUBMITTED.
I suggest you look at the 'poweroficu' website and the book with the same title to see examples of successful approaches and schools.


Kevin's
Comment

2012-11-04

Thanks for the response Ken. I have a few more questions:

In regard to #1, is this a period in the day that is formed from part of the regular schedule?
That is, are you suggesting removing instructional time from regular classes so that
students who are not responsible are held accountable? Any concerns that takes away
from those who are taking responsibility for their learning?

Also, if it is not a period that is taken from the time from the regular schedule but a
separate time (lunch or after school), are schools paying extra for this period to be
supervised?

In regards to #2, it makes much sense but would you wait until the end of the semester for
these essential assignments? I am not sure what kind of feedback or assessment would be
done if they are all handed in at the end of the semester. How is this any better then the
concept of 'reluctant zeros' for improving student responsibility and engagement (not
arguing for using reluctant zeros here)?

In your experience, what do schools do if the student repeatedly doesn't attend the
support period or attends but still does not do the work?

Thanks


The Grade Doctor's
Comment

2012-11-05

In regard to #1, is this a period in the day that is formed from part of the regular schedule?

Yes, for example in Douglas County CO the first hour every Wednesday is called "Access" - all teachers are accessible and students can be required to be present or they can choose to be there.

That is, are you suggesting removing instructional time from regular classes so that
students who are not responsible are held accountable? Any concerns that takes away
from those who are taking responsibility for their learning?

It comes from the idea that there should be a set time for students to get help whether it is because they are having difficulty with acquiring the necessary competencies or because (to use your word) they are having difficulties with 'responsibility.' It boils down to what is the orientation of a school/district - I think it should be to help all students who need help regardless of whether we judge the reasons they need help to be good, bad, or indifferent.

Also, if it is not a period that is taken from the time from the regular schedule but a
separate time (lunch or after school), are schools paying extra for this period to be
supervised?

Sometimes paid, sometimes not. When not it comes from a shared collaborative effort on the part of all staff to be 'warm demanders' in the support of student learning.


In regards to #2, it makes much sense but would you wait until the end of the semester for
these essential assignments?

No, that is why you need to have set times for help starting in week 2.

In your experience, what do schools do if the student repeatedly doesn't attend the
support period or attends but still does not do the work?

Any chronic misbehaviour needs to be dealt with through the schools discipline code/policies.

 

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