Wake Schools consider banning zeros


The debate is whether to give failing students a second chance. One of the recommendations is to still give credit for students who hand in late work. Students could request makeup tests to get a higher grade, and teachers could be banned from handing out zeros.

N.C. State professor Jim Martin agrees the school district has a problem with grades, but is not on board with the no-zero policy.

"I don't know any employer that is happy with the idea that deadlines don't mean deadlines," Martin said.

How to fix the problem is a point of contention among school board members. Christine Kushner said students who get zeros find it harder to dig their way out and are more prone to dropping out.

"The power of a zero can kill a grade. So how can we enforce strong work habits for our students and these academic behaviors? What part do they have in the grade?" Christine Kushner said.

Martin favors a recovery process for failing students and said he will not protect slackers.

"I think it's very bad policy to have mandatory retests, partly because it's not even possible in all subject areas. What happens if you miss a band concert? How do you retest a band concert?" Martin said.

Another recommendation creates behavioral grades for middle and high school students that would not be counted toward a student's GPA. It is already the policy in elementary schools and would become a model for students at higher grade levels.

The grading policy changes will be discussed Nov. 14. The school board plans to vote on the issue in early 2014.

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