Just call it a “goose egg” instead

Here are a couple of stories about how some schools are not allowing teachers to give zeros to students who don’t do any work.

“Are you SERIOUS?”: School Bans Teachers from Giving Students 0s on Assignments (with video, from the US)

Edmonton high school principals still directing teachers not to give zeros to students who fail to do work, Dorval says (more in-depth, from Canada)

The debate is partly about how failing grades demotivate students. Maybe so, but a student who does nothing is already unmotivated. Giving that student a “zero” is not going to make much difference. And you should not award a person for doing nothing. It’s unfair to the students who do try. Talk to the students who do nothing and find out what’s wrong? Yes. Give them points just so they don’t feel bad? Silly.

I once worked for a school that would not allow us to fail students. Even a student who never showed up to class, never did any work, and never bothered to tell me why. At the end of the year, I was told to “Just give him a report or something and make sure he passes.” Ridiculous. Especially so because most of my classes are focused on discussion and communication.

Instead of a zero, how about just calling it a goose egg. That’s a colloquial term for “zero”. Here! A present for you. It’s a goose egg! Too sarcastic? Well, we could use the term they use in tennis.

Some other related topics that might be better for debate:

Teachers told they must not use red ink for marking homework in case it upsets pupils

And from debate.org:

Should homework be banned?


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