Wake Ed

Wake County group hosting ‘no zeros’ grading forum

Some Wake County school board members could find themselves on the hot seat at tonight’s “Say Yes! to No More Zeros!!” forum sponsored by the Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African American Children.

The CCCAAC has been an outspoken supporter in efforts to ban teachers from giving zeros, contending that changing the practice will help more students to succeed. The group had backed efforts by administrators over the past several years to standardize grading so that zeros are banned.

But the school board has been resistant, siding with teachers who argue that they should be given flexibility in whether to give zeros. The board could give final approval Tuesday to a revised grading policy that, instead of banning zeros, says things such as:

• Grading practices are not punitive in nature.

• For students at risk of academic failure, school will develop and implement a plan for grade recovery.

School board member Jim Martin was the most vocal of the board members in getting staff to move away from a ‘no zeros’ idea in which 50 would have been the lowest grade.

“We were very clear to put in place the idea of a grade recovery program rather than the ‘no zero’ idea that caught a lot of press in earlier discussions,” Martin said at the April 22 meeting when the policy was approved on first reading. “I’ll just highlight the rationale for that. The details still need some fleshing out. But if we just say ‘no zero,’ that‘s kind of a cop-out.

Whereas, if we put in place a grade recovery plan, the intent is that you’ll sit down, work with the student, try to figure out what went wrong to create the failure and what’s the plan of action to move forward. So this is really not accepting not doing the work, not accepting a zero. So if you will, it’s a ‘not accept a zero policy’ as opposed to a ‘no zero policy.’

And we need to have some kind of a recovery plan because we never want to get a student trapped in a spiral of no success. That’s just a bit of clarification for what we mean by a plan for grade recovery and should not be implied by anyone that ‘no zeros.’”

Martin was invited to attend tonight’s forum.

Here’s the CCCAAC press release sent Wednesday:

Say Yes! To No More Zeros !!

The Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African American Children will host a forum to address how Zeros impact a student's future. Parents, students and community members will address how zeros impact a student’s access to equal opportunities when receiving grades. The forum will take place on May 1st, 2014, 6:30 p.m. at Martin Street Baptist Church, Johnson Building, 1001 East Martin Street, State Street Entrance.

A recent study shows that:

• Zeros impact a student’s effort to be successful in a class.

• Zeros show failure on an assessment.

• Students are at risk of dropping out of school with the current zero policy.

• Students are at risk of failing classes with the current zero policy.

• Some students receive zeros when they attempt and or complete assignments.

Several Wake County Schools have a No Zero Policy but other schools offer students opportunities for retesting. Is allowing some schools to issue zeros without retesting opportunities giving all WCPSS students equal access and equal opportunities for achieving success in the classroom?