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# The Case Against Zero

The Case Against Zero. Grading Scales. Our grades are based on point scale. There are 10 ways to get an A: 90, 91, 93…100 There are 10 ways to get a B: 85 , 86,… 89 There are 6 ways to get a C: 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79 There are 4 ways to get a D: 70, 71, 72, 73

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## The Case Against Zero

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1. The Case Against Zero

2. Grading Scales Our grades are based on point scale. • There are 10 ways to get an A: 90, 91, 93…100 • There are 10 ways to get a B: 85, 86,… 89 • There are 6 ways to get a C: 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79 • There are 4 ways to get a D: 70, 71, 72, 73 • But there are 70 ways to get an“F”

3. 100 Points (A) 100 99 98 97 96 95 94 93 92 91 90 (B) 89 88 87 86 85 84 83 82 81 80 (C) 79 78 77 76 75 74 (D) 73 72 71 70 (F) 69 68 67 66 65 64 63 62 61 60 59 58 57 56 55 54 53 52 51 50 49 48 47 46 45 44 43 42 41 40 39 38 37 36 35 34 33 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0

4. A More Equitable Distribution (A) 100 99 98 97 96 95 94 93 92 91 90 (B) 89 88 87 86 85 84 83 82 81 80 (C) 79 78 77 76 75 74 (D) 73 72 71 70 (F) 69 68 67 66 65 64 63 62 61 60 59 58 57 56 55 54 53 52 51 50 With this scale, the lowest grade is a 50

5. Another Equitable DistributionThe 4 Point Scale • 4: Exceeds the standard • 3: Meets the Standard • 2: Approaches the Standard • 1: Does not Meet the Standard Notice there isn’t a Zero? …and improving from a 1 to a 3 or 4 doesn’t seem insurmountable.

6. From 0 to 69 • Is it possible that a student who passes in a minimal assignment might get a 70 while a student who passes in nothing gets a zero? Is the minimal assignment worth 70 points more? • Passing in nothing is unacceptable - it deserves a grade of incomplete or failing. • On a point scale, the lowest failing grade would be a 50.

7. Recovering from a ZERO failing passing Again, using a different point scale, the “failing” range is 50 – 69 and the student passes. One zero can be very powerful

8. Who Learned the Most? passing failing failing Is the final grade appropriate?

9. Should One Quarter Also Make or Break a Student for the Year? failing passing Does the final grade reflect their learning?

10. Grading as a Reflection of Learning But is it necessarily a reflection of their learning? Giving a student a ZERO is usually a punishment for a student’s lack of effort or responsibility.

11. In some Olympic judging events, the high and low scores are thrown out so that one judge can’t control the outcome

12. Incompletes Giving an incomplete lets students know that they are expected to complete the assignment. Giving a 50 allows for a recovery. Giving a zero is a dead end.

13. It’s not a “Gift” If a student never does anything, he/she will get all 50’s and still fail. If a student is failing, red flags will go up and help will hopefully be on the way in the form of tutoring, extra help, etc.

14. Think About It… Think about what a zero means. Think about what a zero does. Think about trying an alternative.

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