# Teachers, what are your thoughts?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by futuremathsprof, Sep 25, 2018.

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Sep 25, 2018

https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/flo...l-credit-assignment-didnt-turn-215918726.html

This is becoming more and more commonplace and it is very concerning to me. The fact that a school has a no-zero policy in the first place is absurd and immeasurably stupid. If a student does nothing, then they should get absolutely nothing in return. Cause and effect. If they have to repeat a grade, then so be it. That’s their fault and they should have studied.

3. ### TeacherNYPhenom

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Sep 26, 2018

This is so pathetic and sad.
I guess it's the same as signing up for little league, not going to any practices or games and then expecting a trophy at the end?

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4. ### LisabobisaCompanion

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Sep 26, 2018

A student does an assignment and gets a 100%. Average = 100% A grade. Then they do another assignment and get a 70% (C). Average = 85% B grade. Then they fail to turn in an an assignment, and get a 0. Average = 57% D grade. The student went from a B average to a D average with one assignment? Add another 0. Average = 43% F grade. Add another assignment of 70%. Average = 48% Still an F. Say they score an 80% (B) on that assignment. Average = 50%... still an F.

So the student complete 3/5 assignments. What percent is that? 60%. But their grade is still at 50%? Even if they get a 100 on that fifth assignment, the average is still 54% which is STILL an F. But they did 60% of the assigned work.

Now lets try it with the no zero policy.
Assignment 1 - 100%
Assignment 2 - 70%
Assignment 3 - did not hand in 50%
Assignment 4 - did not hand in 50%
Assignment 5 - 70%
Average = 68%
(Based on this example, this student is probably a C average student, so that 68% better matches that, as well as the 60% Average of 3/5 assignments completed).

Why does this make a difference? It's easier to come back from a 68% than from a 54%. I worked with students with emotional disabilities and one of the biggest issues they had was turning in work. I'm thinking of one student who was perfectly capable of completing work with a B average but because he didn't hand work in, his grades were in the low 30s and high 20s. When I worked with him to complete his work (including teaching him organizational skills to do this independently) he straight up told me "what's the point, I'm going to fail anyway."

Someone had the idea of a 5 point scale instead of percentages.
So in my previous example:
Assignment 1- 5 (A)
Assignment 2 - 3 (C)
Assignment 3 - 1 (F)
Assignment 4 - 1 (F)
Assignment 5 - 3 (C)
Average - 2.6 (D)

Just because we have always done something one way doesn't mean we have to always do it that way. There are alternatives.....

5. ### SpecialPreskooModerator

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Sep 26, 2018

If and when these coddled kids go to college, the professors will give a big fat ZERO and not a 50% for being alive. Talk about welcome to the real world.

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6. ### TeacherNYPhenom

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Sep 26, 2018

I think the real question is why is this stuff not being handed in?

7. ### TeacherNYPhenom

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Yes, and then they will have to pay extra \$\$ to retake the class. They won't like that!!!

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8. ### TeacherNYPhenom

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Another thing that will happen is a student will just pick and choose which assignments he/she wants to complete because they KNOW they can't get a zero.

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9. ### mathmagicEnthusiast

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Sep 26, 2018

Just a heads-up: apparently there were other issues going on, not just that, that led to the firing.

Related to the main topic though, this is why I enjoy standards-based grading! There's no worry about a policy like this ever coming into or out of play.

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Sep 26, 2018

Yep, a participation trophy. Yay...

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Sep 26, 2018

Absolutely this!!!

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Sep 26, 2018

That’s how math works. The difference is that the snowflakes, I mean students, shouldn’t get credit for doing absolutely nothing.

Percentages are independent of your feelings. The student would have a 60% average if they got 100% on 3/5 assignments and 0% on the other two. That’s why they have a 50% average because they got less than that, as per *your* example. I’m perplexed why an educator is confused by this.

Just like in college and the real world, if you don’t do what your boss tells you, then you get fired. If you don’t meet deadlines then your company loses money and business (e.g. partnerships and contracts).

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Sep 26, 2018

All the articles and videos I read and saw online did not say there were other issues going on. Even the principal declined to comment. Where did you read or hear this?

14. ### tchr4vrCompanion

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Sep 26, 2018

I totally disagree with the no zero policy. In my experience, with a few exceptions, if they care, they will turn it in. This is why I have a no late work policy for everything other than large essays and projects. When they know they can turn it in whenever they want, they do. If they care enough to get a passing grade, they will turn it in on time--it takes a few weeks to really accept that there is no late work, but they adjust. If you don't do the work, you should not get a grade, end of story. As teachers, we also have the ability to modify grades and make adjustments--so if that child hasn't turned in some assignments, but it is still clear that they passed the class, we can override a grade or offer other options--but there should not be a across-the-board "you can't receive a zero" policy. Where is the incentive to do anything if you know you'll get a 50% for breathing?

15. ### mathmagicEnthusiast

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Sep 26, 2018

I can continue to search for more specific articles later, but:
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/s...e-reason-for-fired-florida-teacher/ar-AAAG5rB
"A spokeswoman from St. Lucia public school says in an email that there is not a policy that prohibits a teacher from giving a grade of a zero.

"Ms.Tirado was released from her duties as an instructor because her performance was deemed sub-standard and her interactions with students, staff, and parents lacked professionalism and created a toxic culture on the school’s campus,” a spokesperson of the school told KSAT in a statement."

16. ### mathmagicEnthusiast

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Sep 26, 2018

No, they won't have to pay to retake the class. They'll have their lawnmower parents yell "because it's their right as the footers of the bill".

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18. ### TeacherNYPhenom

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Sep 26, 2018

At this point I'm not even interested in this particular teacher's issues. It just brought to light this crazy policy.

19. ### TeacherNYPhenom

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Sep 26, 2018

LOL

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20. ### Teacher234Cohort

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Sep 26, 2018

I give my students a 0% one week after the assignment due date.
I do not reduce points, if the assignment is late. Student are expected to work with me during lunch, however.
A 100% late is still a 100%.

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Sep 26, 2018

I believe in not giving zeros. I just think that some US states are so stuck in using averages or weights to calculate grades that this 50% policy seems the only way to create a no zero policy. There are way better no zero policies. I don't average grades. I grade by standard using 1, 2, 3, 4 and then look at what they most consistently and most recently demonstrated.

As for the teacher, if her story is true, she wasn't fired for giving a 0. She was fired for failing to follow policies as laid out by her school - which is a perfectly understandable reason. Moreover, there are parts of her story that make me question it (like her years experience and being probationary - why would you leave a non-probationary position for a probationary position in a district whose policies you didn't agree with?) Also her description of the assignment does not sound to me like a well designed assignment. If they had 2 weeks there should have been check ins and consequences (like phone calls home, detentions, etc) if the student did have their prior steps done. If kids have nothing to hand in after 2 weeks of working in my class, that's on me.

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Right, the inconsistencies in the story make me skeptical. With that said, I AM criticizing the school’s policy on awarding credit for NO work because a student is breathing. Not to mention, the district even lied about their own policy because it is stated in the handbook that no zeros should be given out.

And if the students have nothing to turn in after 2 weeks of “working,” then it’s on them, not you. You can’t make them turn in work that they refuse to do as you cannot occupy their minds. This is one of many reasons why students are graduating and can’t read or write or do basic arithmetic. Students should not be passing if they turn in nothing and cannot demonstrate they have learned anything. They should get a big, fat F as they did not put in the work.

Life is like a function: You get out exactly what you put in.

Would this kind of thing ever fly in the real world? This wouldn’t fly anywhere else outside of these “schools,” so why should it in an institution of learning, either?

23. ### LisabobisaCompanion

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Sep 26, 2018

Well yes it would be a 60% average for a student who is capable of doing work at 100%. My point being that it may not an accurate reflection of what that student can do.

Realize this is also coming from a special educator who rarely gives grades at all. Most of my students will be graduating with an alternate diploma based on alternate assessments. When I have to give grades it almost never reflects what a student can or can’t do. That’s not based on feelings, it’s based on the data I have collected to report it.

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I stand by the statement that if students have nothing to turn in after 2 weeks it is on me. I've worked with many kids who struggle with school in every way imaginable. Not counting my first year (where I made plenty of mistakes), I've never had kids have nothing to hand in after 2 weeks. Could they have very little to hand in? Sure. It might be incomplete. But nothing is more of a reflection on me than them. If they have nothing done after a day, I intervene. They would have something by the end of 2 weeks because nothing isn't an option. Plenty times in my career I've had kids say "please Miss just give me a 0. I'd rather get a 0 than do X." I always say no, taking the 0 is not an option. So by the end of 2 weeks they will have something to submit. It might or might not be a passing something. But they will have something.

That's why I agree with a no zero policy but think this 50 percent policy is a poor version of a no zero policy. We can give incompletes. We can give failing grades. We don't give 0s.

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If a student has significant learning differences, then they should absolutely have alternative pathways to graduation. I believe that all students can learn and have a right to information and to receive a quality education, regardless of their socioeconomic status. My comments were regarding the normative student, who does *not* have learning differences or impaired cognitive function.

And I don’t think it’s realistic to expect every student to have the same level of achievement, but we need to have established benchmarks for all subject matters of what constitutes acceptable work and unsatisfactory work. Think of it this way: Should an employee be paid for hours they refused to work or tasks they didn’t willingly complete? If they don’t fulfill reasonable obligations as set forth by their employer, then that is a dereliction of their duties and they are dismissed.

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Sep 26, 2018

Then your students are not being prepared for the real world. There are no incompletes in the workplace or society and employers would not agree with you.

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Sep 26, 2018

There are so many incompletes in the real world. Life is messy. Things are not black and white.

It's amazing to me that thousand of miles away you know how prepared my kids are for the real world.

My kids are very prepared for the real world.

In fact often the reason they need the support is because they've had way too much of the real world. Often at 15 they've had way more of the real world than I've had at 40. Often they are working as many hours a week as me plus going to school full time, throw in couch surfing because they got kicked out of their house and add in having no transportation to get their laundry done and they've got more of the real world then I can imagine.

They don't need me to "prepare" them. They need me to provide them an equitable opportunity to access education and that means being willing to bend sometimes. And the truth is 1/2 the time as teachers we don't even know that all of this stuff is going on in our kids lives so the reason that the province I live in chose to get rid of zeros is because if you get a second chance shouldn't be the subjective realm of teacher judgement. It is something all kids need. I know when I moved from the classroom into a support teaching role I was stunned at how much I hadn't known about the kids in my class.

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I “bend” when a student or students come to me and let(s) me know they’re parent(s) divorced, that they were displaced from their homes or were moving, that a close or distant relative died and they had to attend a funeral, that they’re family pet died, that they suffered a serious injury and had to be hospitalized, that they witnessed something horrific and are seeking counseling, if they have a significant learning disability, if they are suffering from some medical ailment which affects their learning, if they had late sports games and got very little sleep, if they were stuck in traffic and/or were involved in a motor collision, etc, etc, etc. I’m not so rigid that I’m heartless. There is a time and place.

What I don’t allow is for a student is to use the same excuse over and over again: I’m tired — aren’t we all; I had to work late — so did I; I was busy — so am I; I had other things going on (besides the things l listed above), etc. That’s where I draw the line. I don’t just give a blanket free pass because someone happens to be socioeconomically disadvantaged. I certainly would give said person greater consideration, but it would certainly not be the sole deciding factor.

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Sep 26, 2018

I guess it would have to be f(x)=x.

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Sep 27, 2018

Exactly. And it you let x=0...

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FMP, I don't give a "free pass." What I do is hold kids accountable in ways that are not about grades.

I also 100% disagree with a system of "bending" based on students sharing their personal story with their teacher. Kids should not have to share their personal situation to get what they need. And when we as adults assume they are sharing because they want to without considering that they might be sharing because they have to (in order to get the extension for example) we are really holding our privilege and our power in a way that I can't support

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Sep 28, 2018

While I'm not sure I full like the wording that it's all on the teacher, I otherwise agree with you.

What learning is happening if we allow students to just accept zeros? I don't even think most are properly learning responsibility. Only students invested in their education will freak out over zeros.

Indeed, fail students if their work shows failure. But we can do better than zeros.

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In the real world, your employers aren't going to slap a 0 to you and shake their finger with no real consequences. A zero grade sounds scary, but is ultimately meaningless.

Besides, this is school, not the real world.

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34. ### MrsCMultitudinous

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If I'm late handing in my report cards to my P to review and sign, I don't get a "zero" and then not have to do them. I also won't lose my job. What will happen, is that my P will talk with me, ask what the difficulty is/was, and ask how she can support me in getting them finished.

If we are truly concerned about how and what are students are learning, and not just when they are learning, we need to look beyond just assigning a zero and moving on.

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My students have to have a legitimate reason for not turning in an assignment, not just because they didn’t want to do it or couldn’t find the time to get around to it, for instance.

And just stop it with the privilege nonsense.

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In the age of safe spaces and zero accountability (where it always seems to be someone else’s fault but their own), much like in this thread, it’s no wonder that children are graduating with virtually no marketable skills and aren’t prepared for the world outside of high school. And it’s also why many companies and colleges are saying that students are grossly unprepared for college-level coursework and the workforce. Students lack organizational skills, executive function, critical thinking, and time management, in particular, *because* of mentalities like this.

Call it what you want, but you and others ARE giving students free passes and this idea that in life you get constant redos is just unrealistic.

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This is another good real-world point: Yes, in the real world, employees are fired for doing stupid or awful things. Many if not most if not all these firings are probably warranted.

But, just as often if not more so, a good far-seeing employer who wants to keep employees long-term or at least doesn't want to have to deal with new short-term employee cycles is going to find a way to first work with the employee in question.

By golly, they have a business to run and money to make. They're in the business for that, not to punish people.

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Sep 28, 2018

I think you're misunderstanding what we're getting at.

A free pass would be giving a zero and no other consequence. Your argument seems to be that a zero is the end-all. "Whew", says the student "All I had to deal with was a zero because my teacher is too afraid to make me do anything else. Now I will just continue on happily in my life because I don't have to fix this."

My point doesn't have anything to do with safe spaces or zero accountability. Giving a zero TAKES AWAY accountability if the student doesn't have to do anything about it.

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But employees who don’t fulfill their duties and underperform are liabilities and a detriment to the company. It’s all about the bottom line. From a logistics standpoint, it makes perfect sense to reward the employees who are on time, do all work asked, and go beyond the line of duty, not those individuals who get around to it when they feel like it, can’t be bothered because it’s “too hard,” etc.

Last edited: Sep 28, 2018

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Sep 28, 2018

Yes, and once again by doing nothing but handing out a zero and saying "bad bad" and not making the student do anything about it, you're encouraging this mindset.

In your example, the employer fired the useless employee. A real, solid consequence.

How does giving a meaningless zero even compare? We can't kick out students for bad grades, so how else should they receive a consequence?

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