General Question

flo's avatar

In your area, what do teachers give as a grade to students who don't hand in anything at all?

Asked by flo (10479points) September 15th, 2012

“Here” is an article about one case where the teacher got fired, and who is being praised. There have been other regions where they dropped the “no zero policy”

If I only hand in the tests/assignments that I find easy, (and let’s say that is only 12% of the tests) and I hand in nothing for the difficult ones, (the other 78%) and I get a 1/100, instead of zero for those then what? Is that a good thing?

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17 Answers

flo's avatar

“Under Dorval’s system (Dorval is the teacher by the way for those who find the article too long) the students have until the end of the school year to catch up. “I don’t give them any punishment at all or deduction,” he says.

“Dorval gives the example of a student who transferred into his class this year, having done only six out of 15 tests and assignments at his old school. His old teacher, following the no zero rule, had given him a 63 average, the average of his six completed assignments. Dorval told the student he would now be getting zeros if he didn’t do the work.”

“Since he’s been with me he’s done seven out of seven,” Dorval says, adding the student was also arranging to do the work he had earlier missed.”

Dorval’s system strikes an excellent balance. The students who do the work on time get their marks. The students who are late are able to catch up and have plenty of incentive to do so. And those that don’t care to work get a real life lesson: If you shirk and keep on shirking, even after repeated reminders, there will be a negative consequence.”

PhiNotPi's avatar

In my area, they give students a 0 (they are more lenient on elementary students, of course). One of their reasons is that they are trying to prepare the kids for when they have a job. When a person has a job, handing in work late is not acceptable.

my screen does not show a link to the article

flo's avatar

@PhiNotPi it is not your screen here it is.
Sorry everyone.

zenvelo's avatar

In our area, in many classes, students who turn in homework a day late cannot get more than 80%, 50% for two days, and after that Zero. A student who gets straight As on all tests and in class projects, but doesn’t do homework cannot get above a C.

Our high school district is #1 in the State of California, and my kid’s school has more than 60% going to a four year college after graduation.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

No homework = 0

linguaphile's avatar

When I taught, I had small classes (8–14 students) That made it easy for me to give points for participating in class discussions. If a student contributed often with quality points, ideas, connections or analyses they got points for doing so. They could get up to 63% that way, but no higher. That means, if they do nothing but talk well in class, they could get a D-. If you said zero in class all quarter and contributed nothing, they couldn’t get anything higher than a B+.

I also had a policy that homework had to be turned in on time for a full grade, but if it was late, 20% would be taken off. They had until the end of the grading period to turn in their papers.

I felt my system addressed the needs of both the good at talking kids and the good at paperwork kids—Both skills are needed out in the working world. My grading approach gave many ADHD kids the boost they needed to be motivated to do their paperwork rather than feeling like they would never measure up. It also encouraged kids who were normally quiet to contribute to class and often they surprised themselves with what they could do.

I know many people would disagree with my system, but I really felt kids who were talkers needed to be recognized along with the paperwork kids. The system, as it is right now, is only set up to reward a very narrow set of skills— I really believe that’s wrong. A broader range of skills and abilities should be recognized.

Jeruba's avatar

What other than zero can you give on an assignment that hasn’t been turned in?

I know that many teachers at the college level will tell you up front, by percentage, what makes up your grade, and the formula can very from teacher to teacher. Components might be regular written assignments, term papers, special projects, oral presentations, quizzes, midterm and final exams, class participation, and more. One might count the final exam as 50% of your grade and another might make it only 25% but give a lot of weight to class participation. I had one instructor a couple of years ago who gave creative assignments during class and awarded points for posting thoughtful comments to a class e-list.

So if you don’t turn in any assignments, the portion of your grade that comes from written work would be worth zero, but you might score something for the other parts of the grade.

Bellatrix's avatar

@Jeruba that’s how it works at my university. The final grade is the cumulative total of a range of assessments. Each assignment has its own weighting. Students must submit 85% of the total assessment to pass. If you miss a piece weighted at more than 15%, you cannot pass even if your cumulative total is more than 50% (the pass mark).

YARNLADY's avatar

When the school has an issue with a student not getting the work done, they look for alternatives

I had my oldest grandson move in with me in high school because he was having so much trouble. We tried the public school near by, but he had the same issues there, so we enrolled him in a public charter school my son attended, that does homeschooling.

The student attends two days out of the week for one hour to receive their assignments and take a test on their previous assignment. All their work is done at home, on their own time. My son, two of my grandsons, and now one girlfriend have thrived on this system.


DrBill's avatar

the teachers here are given the right to grade any way they want, and I do give 0 for work not turned in. I grade on a 5.0 scale where A=5, B=4, C=3, D=2, F=1, Not turned in=0. It reenforces the idea that poor work is better than no work.

mangeons's avatar

It depends on the class and the assignment, at my school. Most teachers will just give you a flat out zero for anything you don’t turn in. But in my film study class that I took last year, on the first day my teacher announced that if a student didn’t turn in a paper, they’d automatically just get a 42% on it. That seems awfully generous to me, and as a result, many kids didn’t bother turning in anything, just saying that they’d take the 42% instead.

Needless to say, it’s not a very effective way of grading (in my opinion at least). I think that if you don’t turn something in, you shouldn’t get any points for it.

DrBill's avatar

Aptitude or attitude, which are we teaching?

Some students have learned the advantages of playing dumb. When using self-paced doctrine, the students are allowed to proceed at his/her own pace, however the student soon learns that the reward for “a job well done” is more and harder work, so why bother?! And at the same time the students who are doing poor work are given less and easer work.

Students in special education (academically disadvantaged) are not given more work, or more study time, or more advanced teachers. They are instead given easer work, fewer demands, and lower standards to meet. It has become too easy for students to just say “I can’t.”

Where elementary teachers had 15 students, the middle and high schools now have 30 to 150 students. Because of these numbers, students can no longer be held after school for unfinished homework assignments or extra study help. Of the few schools who do detain students after school, the students are most often made to sit in an office or waiting room for their period of detention. This school time is wasted if nothing is learned.

The cure for this lies not in trying to place blame, but in reforming the system. In this circumstance, reform does not mean overhaul, and it does not mean we have to spend millions of dollars either. Some parts of the education system work very well and therefore should not be changed, while some parts need reformed, reshaped, or remolded to work better or more effectively and efficiently. Some areas that need reformed are:

1) Hard courses Vs. easy courses: We cannot say that an “A” in remedial math is the same as an “A” in algebra. Some students need remedial math, and should be allowed, and in some cases required to take it, but not for an algebra equivalent credit.

2) Homework: Homework must be backed up with a guarantee. If one F or two D’s would mean an extra hour of school in a study skills class, it would help motivate the student, and the study skills class would teach better ways to study. This could be both an incentive and a learning tool.

3) Attendance: The penalty for missing (skipping) class must be both immediate, and greater than the time gained by the student being out of class. For every one hour skipped = two or three hours of class, (not sitting in an office) would quickly detract from the temptation.

4) Deglamorizing the alternatives: Most remedial schools attend half days, and therefore look like a better alternative to less motivated students, like threatening a fox with banishment to the chicken coop.

Self-paced learning allows the student to learn at his own pace, however it does not encourage learning, it does not motivate, and many times it does just the opposite. If a student is by himself trying to learn from a book, he is bound to at one time or the other, think about how he is doing in relation to the other students in the class.

Consider if the student thought he was smarter than his classmates, he may feel he is doing so much better than his classmates that he can “coast” and do less work than he is capable of.

At the same time another student may feel he’s not as good or not as smart as the other students, and think he’s getting farther and farther behind, so he gives up with the attitude of “Why try if I can’t do it.”

Now we have two students performing at less than their abilities. The system has failed, only due to the students own low self-esteem or vision of self.

Larger classes make teaching more difficult and homework more elusive. There must be an “It’s better to do it” level of understanding with the students. Most schools use a four point grading scale where A=4…F=0. Why not use a five point scale, where A=5…F=1, and zero for work not done. This is a way of telling students that poor work is better than no work. Once this is instilled in the student, we can advance to a “want for excellence” level of understanding.

Because remedial classes are for the learning disadvantaged, they should be geared for that purpose. By using longer school days, teaching more study skills, and using the best teachers, so that the students can reenter the educational mainstream.

Attendance is one of the most important aspects of the educational system, after all “you can’t learn if you’re not there!” The common penalty for skipping school is to be expelled for three days. Think about this logically, If a robber stole one dollar, would you insist that he take three dollars more as his punishment? Would it not be better for the student and the school system as a whole, if instead the student were given three extra days of school? Not just detention, but attending classes.

This can be done in several ways. The student can spend his free time at school to make up the time, or after school, or even on Saturdays. Study halls, should not be used, as the student would be here anyway.

This would require some extra effort on the part of the school and staff at first, but would soon slow infractions, and therefore soon diminish the need for the extra effort.

SavoirFaire's avatar

No one in our department gives any amount of partial credit for work that is never submitted. If you fail to hand in an assignment, you get an F on it (which is a 0 in our grading system). About half of the professors refuse to accept late work, and two have policies stating that failing to complete an assignment is grounds for failing the entire course.

That’s not to say that they will definitely fail every student who fails to complete an assignment, but they reserve the right to do so. It was originally a policy used to prevent people from skipping out on the final exam, but it is also effective against cheaters. Plagiarized assignments or other fraudulent work is considered incomplete, providing an extra argument for the instant F that follows.

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Seaofclouds's avatar

My son is in 5th grade. Their policy is if it’s not turned in, you get a 0, but the students can turn it in late with a penalty. After 3 assignments that aren’t turned in, the students get detention as well.

flo's avatar

Thank you all! Great answers.

This floors me, from @mangeons: ”...on the first day my teacher announced that if a student didn’t turn in a paper, they’d automatically just get a 42% on it.” OMG! this is in-sane. The fact that the teacher announces it on the first day, says “Please, try your best not to give me work, I’m too lazy to correct and stuff” This is wrong.

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