CHANGEd: What if we buried the zero? 60-60-60 #26

Zeroes in school grading are interesting practices. When schools shifted from letter grading (A-B-C-D-E/F) to number grading with percentages, an interesting thing happened statistically because of misalignment of the categorical stages. A zero in an average can have a disastrous effect. What’s more, how exactly does a zero communicate to youth the powerful lessons of responsibility? It seems more reasonable to teach responsibility by insisting that the work be done and providing feedback on that work, not by recording a zero and moving on. In the “real world,” I’ve never experienced a boss telling me, “Oh, you didn’t get the work done by the deadline? I’ll just record a zero; don’t bother doing the work now, as the deadline has passed.”

What if we insisted on responsibility? What if we used scoring to measure learning, rather than to “punish?” What if we held a funeral for bad practice and buried the zero? R.I.P.

CHANGEd: What if…60-60-60 Project Explained

6 thoughts on “CHANGEd: What if we buried the zero? 60-60-60 #26

  1. Pingback: CHANGEd 60-60-60: GROWTH MINDSETS AND SECOND CHANCES « Toward Wide-Awakeness

  2. If we take learning to be an iterative process, then the zero just puts brakes on the whole endeavor. It sends the message, “not worth spending anymore time on this.” The interesting thing for me is how willing many students are even in the face of this negative feedback to continue to push forward and end up being proficient at or mastering the concepts/skills/ideas connected to their zero grade. Then they are doubly punished by the zero as it continues to pull down their grade even in the face of real and deep understanding. Worse though is the student who gets the zero, internalizes its message and heeds its implied message and stops.

  3. Sometimes in schools, students only look at the number or letter grade. They don’t even think about if they retained any good information on the topic matter. This is how we are in life. At times, we just want to push through and just make it through the day without putting time and effort into the things that we do. If we take time to live in the moment of our days, then we take more out of the daily lessons we learn and carry them out through life.

    • Dana, thanks for stopping by my blog and contributing such a rich, thoughtful comment. I appreciate how you connect the burying of the zero to learning to enjoy the moments of learning more deeply.

  4. Pingback: CHANGEd 60-60-60: MY ZERO MOMENT « Toward Wide-Awakeness

  5. Would a student ever give him or herself a zero? Would a parent ever give her child a zero? Would a coach ever say a player had made zero impact? Why is the math of averaging even part of the assessment process? Because our education system was designed by social engineers…with all the right intentions of their time…but many of which are no longer relevant.

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