Grading change suggested for Wake County Schools

A group is recommending banning Wake County teachers drop zeros from the grading scale.
May 1, 2014 8:27:27 PM PDT
A group is recommending banning Wake County teachers from handing out zeros to students who don't finish an assignment.

The group, the Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African-American Children (CCCAAC), called getting zeros demoralizing. At the core, many believe zeros don't give students a chance to prove that they are learning.

"We all know one zero, two zeros. You're bound to fail," said CCCAAC's Rukiya Dillahunt.

Zeroes brought out parents, educators and students to Martin Street Baptist Church.

"Our concern is that, sometimes when students get zeros, they aren't allowed to retest or to show what they've learned," said CCCAAC's Dr. Carol Love.

CCCAAC, which hosted the forum, says it's seen the problem primarily among black and Hispanic students, who are students already at a higher risk for dropping out.

Apparently, zeros make it worse.

"It negatively impacts their grades," said Love. "Their performance later in the year sometimes leads to either suspensions or drop outs."

It's an almost insurmountable setback they say often handed out because of policies that have nothing to do with measuring learning.

"Not use behavior for a zero. Don't use tardiness to take down somebody's grade as a zero," said Dillahunt.

It's not just minority students who are affected. Seventh grader Jacob Burge, who is an "A" and "B" student, says he's earned zeros for being out sick.

"If you have 100, you have a zero, you're grade's going to be a 50," said Burge. "You're going to need to fix that.  Zeroes have ruined my grade."

Some schools in Wake's system give students ways to make up zeros, while others don't.

School Board Chair Christine Kushner says they're currently working to come up with a uniform county-wide grade recovery policy.

"A zero can impact a student's grade quite severely," said Kushner. "So we want to make sure students are held accountable, and students are getting their work done."

The school board is exploring whether eliminating zeros all together is feasible, which is where the disagreement lies. Most want a uniform grade recovery process, but some are concerned about protecting slackers.

The school board will discuss the matter at next Tuesday's meeting.


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