Foundations and Assessment of Education/Edition 1/Assessment Table of Contents/Assessment Chapter 4: Grading/Article 1 Reader Responses

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The Case Against the Zero

Reader Responses[edit]

Oddly enough this article makes sense. I don't think there was a solution to the zero offered but it was confusing at times. The article did do what it stated in the beginning, it made me rethink giving zeros for missing work. But giving a zero is basically the same as leaving the grade blank even if it isn't mathematically wrong.Jnemo001 (talk) 03:06, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

I definitely see where the author makes a point about the grading scale. But I think if a student fails to hand in an assignment, then they are deserving of a 0. 0 grade for 0 work. I think it's a good argument, but if a student simply fails to turn something in a zero is fair. Of course, there are plenty of reason why a student wouldn't turn something in so they should be given a chance to make up the work, but why give a grade above a 0 for work that doesn't exist? Ldomm002 (talk) 01:28, 21 June 2009 (UTC)

It is funny that this just popped up. When I was doing my student observation this summer, the teacher I was assigned to had an interesting system that surrogates the infamous zero. Whenever a student fails to complete an assignment they sign for it. That is, they literally walk across the room to a clip board and sign their name, the date, the assignment they did not turn in, and the reason why. They then get two more class periods and if it is still not complete they go to ISS. Everything that is late receives and automatic 50, but the work is done. I had the luxury of filing some of her graded papers for her at the end of the year, and notated that the system seemed to be semi-effective. There were quite a few students who just never cared, they got the work done eventually to escape ISS but their folders were full of 50's. However, I noticed there were very few, that were not in the previous category, that had more than two or three late assignments for the whole year. Her opinion was that: "If you give a child a zero, what has he learned? Make them do the work, even if you have to force them to. It is your job to educate them." She was a bit strict about it, but the vast majority of the class seemed to enjoy her as a teacher. Hsmit022 (talk) 02:58, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

Reading this article was both enjoyable and informative. I never really thought of the grading system as he was defining it. I really thought his idea of making the students who do not complete his assignments lose free time to complete the required work a great idea. It do not make much sense when a D is a 60 and anything below that is a F. If the grading scale is set on ten points betweeen each grade it should be that way for every grade. I do think if a student does not turn in an assignment that the threat of a zero could be used, however, if the students makes up the work partial credit can be given varying with how many days late the assignment is turned in. I truly think when students who are not completing their assignments are just given Fs, they are not learning much from this except they failed. I think taking away something the students love like recess or free time will help them staty motivated to complete their required work. Overall I thought this article was very good and will take this information with me when I begin to teach. Lwill031 (talk) 20:24, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Reading this article really makes one think about the grading system. I, myself, never gave it much thought, but I have always been graded on the 10 point grading scale, where anything below a 75 was a "F". I think giving students that do not complete an assignment deserves to have a chance to complete it and receive a decent grade, but if they do not do it then they deserve the grade they do get. I will be keeping this article around to remind me how the grading system can get so complicated.Msmhobbs04 (talk) 12:25, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Wow! I really enjoyed reading this article. The author made so many important points. All of his examples and reasoning behind his argument made perfect sense. I never thought about simple grading as being such an emotional task. I laughed when he stated that teachers just want to get back at those kids who failed to turn in assignments. I think that's really true. Are those kids really much worse than other students who hardly tried at all and turned it in? Probably not! Each article we have read thus far has really brought up great points, this article included! After reading each one, I find that I have a new outlook on teaching. There are so many practices that continue simply because 'that's they way its always been'. I think that the idea of giving a zero to those who don't complete work is just another example of this. I think these outdated (and poorly thought out) teaching practices will continue until people bring up good reasoning to make things change. This article definitely gave me insight into grading and I plan to carry this information with me when I begin teaching! Khedl002 (talk) 17:29, 16 June 2009 (UTC)khedl002

This article was definitely my favorite to read of all the articles so far. It was extremely fascinating and captured my attention from beginning to end. It really opened my eyes to the fact that students who receive a "0" should really be receiving a -6 on a 100 point scale! I do agree with Reeves that should be forced to complete an assignment, and if they do not, they should lose privileges (free time, study hall) until the assignment is complete. Students are motivated by the opportunity to earn greater freedom, and this will help them to complete their work accurately and on time. If you had asked me prior to reading this article, I probably would have said that if a student fails to turn in an assignment, I would give them a "0" initially and half credit if it was turned in two-three days after the due date. However, I think it is best to have the student complete the assignment no matter what,(during recess or free time) but still be somewhat penalized for not having it completed on time. This way it is still fair for the other students who did complete the assignment on time. Afett001 (talk) 18:07, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

Both articles were informative, and had good clear arguments for their grading methods. I like the idea of four point grading system. I will be considering both methods when it is time for me to start grading my own class. Mlipl001 (talk) 16:51, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

This article is very fascinating. Reeves is an advoacate of using the 0-4 scale for grading where "0" represents the lowest grade or as we commonly label it, an "F". I agree with his argument that a zero on a 100 pt. scale is not fair to a student because there is a 60 pt. spread between the lowest grade and lowest "F" value. At my school, our grading practices include using 50 as the lowest possible grade a student can receive. If a child receives a grade less than or equal to 50, it is recorded as a 50. Our principal chose those scale for two reasons: a zero can destroy a student's academic average and self confidence quicker than a 50 and assigning a "0" on a 100 pt. scale is unfair to the student. If a student does not complete as assignment, they are given other punishment such as silent lunch or detention. However, it is their responsibility to complete the assignment. I rarely gave a 50 because someone didn't do an assignment. If students think they can get away with not doing the work without a penalty then some will never make an effort. Acrow005 (talk) 13:47, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

I absolutely agree with this article. I have always thought the grading system needed a face lift. I also do believe that we should not punish students with a zero for possibly missing a due date. Everyone works at their own pace and needs more time then others or whatever the reason may be. I feel as long as work is turned in at some point in the year it should be acceptable. I also feel that if a student has not done well on an assignment then they should be able to take it home fix all of the problems and turn it in for regrading. This is a continuing learning process for the students and probably some of the best lessons they will learn. Even test and squizzes. I at times fell that they should be able to retake tests an dquizzes. Yes, they will be different but they would have studies and worked harder for that grade rather than giving the student a brick wall and there is no hope to change that grade. They will earn the grades that are given. I truly feel that the teacher should all that is in his/her power to make it difficult for a student to fail. There should never be an F. It was always tough in school that a 100 would weight less on a final grade then a zero would. It is interesting how there is such an imbalance. Sston008 (talk) 01:40, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

This was a great article. I enjoyed the author's tone and his tactics in writing. I must admit that I have been a teacher that at one time or another has wanted to punish a student for failing to turn in an assignment. At the time I thought that a "0" was an appropriate grade. The zero signified exactly how much work this student put into the assignment. While the zero might be harsh, I believe the author's comments about proper ratios would be to give the student a 50 are off base. I believe that would enable too many students to skate by with C's and D's by doing to bare minimum. The best scenario that I see, but also believe it has to the most public perception issues to overcome is the 4 point scale. The author made some very valid points that I agree with when it comes to using the 4 point scale. We can take the specificity of the points as many decimal points to the right as needed for those that need to know exactly where they stand. I am going to share this article with my colleagues. Jtmitchem (talk) 00:31, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

This article was very interesting and I can see how it would be helpful for teachers. I thought the article was written very well and was enjoyable and easy to read. The best point that the author brought up was the difference between a "four point" grading scale and the normal hundred point grading scale. I do believe, however, that some students deserve zeros. When a student blatantly ignores and assignment and does not turn it in, they deserve the grade that matches the amount of work they put in. Sbutl016 (talk) 18:02, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

It's just amazing what a zero can do huh? I honestly never knew that 2 or 3 zeros could cause failure of an entire course. The author has a very good debate going. I don't like the idea of a 4 point grading system though. I would much rather keep the 100 point system and just let a 50 be the worse grade you could get. I agree that there are other ways of punishing a student and that a zero is not one of them. I do not know how it feels (emotionally) to receive a zero, but I can say that my friend was a zeroholic. She didn't care one bit about doing well in school, so she set out to zeroville. I believe this attitude came from homelife. She didn't want to please anybody. Today she is a nurse. Go figure. I just found this article ironic; especially when it talked about how a zero had such a negative impact that it made kids start to fail and drop out of school. Hcomb003 (talk) 01:58, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

I thought this article was excellent. The author, Mr. Reeves, makes a compelling case as to why students who don't turn in homework or projects should not be given a "0". There will always be some assignment that a student would be willing to accept a "0" for just so they don't have to do it. It makes much more sense to require the assignment be done, even if late, and utilize some other form of punitive response to modify the student's behavior such as not allowing them to do something fun in the classroom. Failing to turn in an assignment might be an indication that the student was unable to complete it for some reason (too hard, didn't understand what to do, etc.) and it would be sensible to talk to the student to find out their real reason for not completing it. Sciaston (talk) 15:41, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

I found this article to be very beneficial as a future teacher. I never knew that zeros could cause a student to fail a course so quickly, I figured that they were not weighted as much as other grades were! It's amazing that two or three zeros can cause a student to fail a course. I do believe that some students need a lower grade if they consistently turn in assignments late, but I believe if teachers continue to give students zeros for assignments then the student will persist in not turning in the assignment because the only consequence they see is the zero. I do believe that students should be graded on the normal hundred point scale, that way then can be graded in a way so that two or three bad grades do not cause them to fail a course completely. I also agree that the four point scale for the zero is better than the hundred point scale with a zero because there is a greater difference on that scale than the four point scale. Rburt005 (talk) 23:00, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

I had never thought about grades in this way. After having it broken down, though, it makes complete sense that a 100 point grading scale is not accurate. If it were to be accurate it would need to be a 50 point grading scale, or each letter grade needs to be worth more than 10 points. Students that do not turn in homework assignments should not be able to fail a class after a few assignments. There should be a different criteria to go by for what their punishment will be. If a student does not turn in an assignment it does not always mean they are being defiant. Maybe they could not read the assignment, or maybe it was too hard and they just gave up. Sometimes students just need extra help they do not always receive at home, and giving a zero for that reason does not seem very fair. Hcogg001 (talk) 15:54, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

I really enjoyed reading this article. Reeves makes many good points. I agree with the statement about assigning a zero when using a 100 point scale, can sometimes be a little harsh. at the same time i can also see the other side of that argument. If a teacher tells their class at the beginning of the semester that you have a paper due on this day, this day and this day, and the student doesn't do it, then that is kind of on them. If they come to you and ask about an extension or have some kind of extenuating circumstances then an automatic zero is a little harsh. I think that it all depends on what grading scale you apply to an assignment. If you are using the four point scale then a zero is acceptable because that assignment can be weighted differently in the grade book. This article opened up a different perspective that i hadn't really thought about before. Rcoll029 (talk) 16:41, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

This was a very thought-provoking article. I had never really thought about our grading scale in such a way. Reeves' points are very valid. It does not mathematically make sense to assign a zero for not completing work on a 100 point scale. It seems that he is not saying that the student should be "given" those 50 points, but that it really does not make sense for no work to equate to a zero when every other grade is on a 10 point scale. He is advocating for a 4 point scale, which would make more sense mathematically. I really agreed with his "punishment" for not turning in work. Instead of punishing with grades, you can take away privileges, etc. Students may be even more likely to work hard and get the work done on time because they don't want to lose their activity hour, etc. This article really made me think about our current grading scale and how it may need a reform. It should be mathematically sound and fair. Alucy001 (talk) 01:31, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

This was an informative article which bring fourth many important points. I agree that it is unfair to give a 0 on a 100 pint scale. As a math teacher, I fully understand the negative effects a zero can play on a students overall grade, however it is beyond me the lack of effort some students put fourth. How hard is it to put your name, and maybe write down one problem on a sheet of paper? They do not even have to work it out, but simply put something down on a sheet of paper. I can not justify giving a 50 out of a 100 when I personally grade classwork and homework for completeness, not correctness. Where I teach the grade percentages are not the teacher's choice. Homework is 10%, classwork is 20%, quizzes are 30% and tests are 40%. That means that any student who at least turns in something for their homework and classwork, gets 30% of their grade just for putting fourth some kind of effort. Mathematically, only 40% remaining 70% for quizzes and tests is necessary for the student to pass. That works out to maybe a 60 average on quizzes and tests. With all this in mind, giving a 50 out a 100 for an assignment that was not done is unthinkable. In that case, a student could pass a class with a D average on quizzes and tests and never have done their homework or classwork. Maybe it is because of my math background, but this is absurd. The idea of the article is fine, make the student do the work late facing punitive measures and get a 50, but the reality is that some students will not ever do the work. No matter how many times they sit in ISS, some students just don't care, and nothing will get them to do the work. And passing a student who never completed homework, or classwork and only barely passed quizzes and tests is unthinkable, and unethical. Scrai010 (talk) 16:28, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

Interesting article to say the least. Being a parent of a twelve year old soon to be 7th grader, we have found that she is not motivated in regards to some of her homework and thanks to the addition of Edline, the ability to check her grades on the internet, we have caught some of those 0s showing up in homework. This is the first year that we have required her to have an agenda and do her homework but we were not checking it as we have done in the past. There were so many reasons for this but mainly I felt that she needed to know that she was no the responsible party for her grades and 0s to count as far as grades go. In the article is talked about making sure that the student was not just handed a grade when they did no work to deserve it. I agree wholeheartedly. When a good student makes a zero it carries a heavy load to their average and if they chose not to do the work, even if it was wrong, their average would not be affected nearly as much! Hard lesson for my twelve year old to learn, aside from having to give up her cell phone and ipod if she brings home anything under a C, but if she had a 0 on her grades she gave them up for the rest of the nine weeks and had to turn the work in. I know mean Mom, but the end result was no 0s by the end of the school year and grades need to be earned not just given! Jnewh001 (talk) 17:06, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

I find absolutely amazing how a number that has seem logically fair for decades suddenly appears to be the most illogical thing you can do when grading. The grading system, at least in America, is typically based on 100 points, with 10 points aligned with each letter up to D (A = 100-90, B = 89-80, C = 79-70, D = 69-60). Once the grade goes below 60, it is automatically an F which does not make sense, because by that reasoning we are telling students that because you performed less than 60%, you have earned an F. Honestly, after reading the article (and doing some simple math), I discovered that the reasonably fair way to associate letters with a 100 point grading scale is to divide the 100 points into 20 per letter. In other words, A = 100-80, B = 79- 59, C = 58-39, D = 38-19, and F = 18-0 (I think, math was never my strongest suit). Yet, we most live with the flawed grading system where more than half of it guarantees an F. Perhaps it is because we have lived with it so long, that we have just accepted it as a “fact” that cannot be changed. But I do like how Reeves gave advice to attack this problem by taking away privileges to have students do their work on time. Most current and new teachers would not know any other way to combat late work because they were brought up on a flawed system. If they did not turn in an assignment or turned it in late, a zero was expected. It was only until you got old enough to realize how damaging a zero was, but only a few young students realize this and most of them realize it too late. Personally, it may take time for me to use a 4-point grading system when I become a teacher because it would mean erasing 13 years of being on the system, not including my years in college. Nevertheless, it will be more beneficial for my students and teaching experience. Adart001 (talk) 01:05, 21 June 2009 (UTC)

I don’t think that zeroes add anything to the learning experience of students. It can be said, however, that they reinforce concepts of repercussion for one’s actions. This is sadly different from actually motivating one to learn. I think, as the article demonstrates, that zeroes are more a byproduct of teacher mentality than a result historically being effective. A zero merely teaches a student the price of failure, it does not motivate them to rise above or avoid this consequence. There is no improvement because a zero offers no critique of a student’s progress other than its numerical value. There is no communication with zeroes. They are the grading equivalent of summary execution and as such, offer no real motivation for reform other than the fear they inspire. However, in teaching the goal is purely to reform, not to punish and it is here that zeros fail most egregiously to me. Unlike criminals, students are in school to grow and more importantly, learn from mistakes. There should be no “crime” that they are capable of that obscures this goal.BitterAsianMan (talk) 01:48, 21 June 2009 (UTC)

As I stated on the soapbox, I believe in the "zero" when the student is offered various chances to complete and assignment, yet, fail to do so. Zeros should not be a form of settling for students; however, I strongly agree with the author when he states that students should give up free time to do the work missing. It's a great strategy not only to complete the assignment but let's face it, no student wants to be doing work when they can be playing. It's a great form of under-the-radar motivation in order to push students to complete their assignments in a timely manner. Ehern004 (talk) 18:25, 21 June 2009 (UTC)

I would like to first comment that Mr. Reeves makes some great points regarding most grading systems. However, unlike the comments above, I had a hard time staying focused on this article (and I read it twice). The reason I think is because Mr. Reeves seems to make his point over and over again until it became redundant. I agree that students who do not turn in their work should be held accountable for it. Giving a "zero" is not a very good choice, as Mr. Reeves states. I liked the fact that Mr. Reeves gave other options to giving a zero. With this being said, I think the article could have been more condensed so as not to be redundant and offer more examples of what to do instead of giving a zero.Scarlett1 (talk) 23:23, 21 June 2009 (UTC)

I can speak from personal experience when I say I don't agree with the "0" grading system. I slipped once and my grade fell by two letters. I think one should receive a harsher punishment if and only if they've continued to be irresponsible. I agree that the more effective approach is to make the student complete their work, letting them feel the weight of being behind and missing out. That is more of a motivator than being knocked in a hole that you have to crawl out of. It's just to overwhelming and not a fair equivalent to a missed assignment. Rpaige (talk) 02:54, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

Whether or not to use a 0 depends once again on the circumstance. If a teacher is dealing with a class of highly self-motivated students, in a class where there are very high standards, I thinking giving a 0 for work that is not turned in on time is feasibe and appropriate. However, if you are dealing with a class of mostly students who are very unmotivated, then giving a 0 for assignments not turned in on time is not helpful for anyone. In the latter scenario, a 0 may discourage the student and keep him or her from doing less work in the long run rather than more. Plus, as the article suggests, the big jump between a high F and a 0 is relatively big compared to the score levels of each letter grade. Such an imbalance scale may be an appropriate challenge for competitive motivated students, but not for classes of unmotivated students who have a track record of doing little in school. Mbrowder (talk) 01:16, 19 July 2009 (UTC)