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.