Why I Stopped Giving Zeros

Closeup of a student's hand filling in answers on a piece of paper.

Edutopia | October 2022

No two school districts, or even two teachers grade in the exact same way. Which means that grade bias is a real problem. So, two students who might have the exact same academic performance could receive two very different grades. On finals day, one of my students flew down the hall to tell my assistant principal that he had passed my psychology class with a C. He was a student who really struggled with how to “do school.” Because he had been convinced that he would fail from the beginning, his excitement over passing my class at the end of the school year was palpable. This transformation was due to one simple change to my grading practices: I stopped giving zeros for missing work as part of a larger commitment to adopting equitable grading practices.

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