Mike, Middle School Math Teacher

I had to let go of trying to control it all, to realize that at the end of the day, grading is not really about me. Using a 50% as the lowest grade means I’m not breaking their spirit by showing them this ridiculously low percentage.

“I’m a big believer that every student should earn whatever grade they get, so I had real trouble initially with a no zero policy: ‘If they didn’t do anything, how can I give them any credit? They deserve a zero!’ My colleagues told me, ‘Give them a 50% – it’s still an F.’ That was the most significant change in my thinking: accepting that an F is an F, and it will show as an F. I thought about the students I had who would work very hard to improve their grade, who would do all this work but their grade wouldn’t change because previous assignments were a zero. If one was a 2-3 week project, it was just impossible to outweigh that. I had students who asked, ‘Why do anything to improve my grade if my grade is still going to be an F no matter what?’

“There is something I can do to change this, because I’m the teacher. I had to let go trying to control it all, to realize that at the end of the day, grading is not really about me. Using a 50% as the lowest grade means I’m not breaking a student’s spirit by showing them this ridiculously low percentage.”

 

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