MNPS eliminates 'zero' grades, adjusts other scoring policies

Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 4:22pm

Zeroes on assignments, lost points for tardy work and having only one chance to perform on classroom tests are practices of the past at Nashville public schools, according to district officials.

Instead, the district wants teachers to focus more on students understanding the subject and do away with issuing academic penalties, said Meredith Libbey, a spokeswoman for Metro Nashville Public Schools.

“We want students to master the material. If they get a zero, it’s almost impossible to recover,” she said. “It’s still possible to fail. We still give exams. We still hold students accountable.”

The lowest “F” grade a high school student can now earn is a 50 percent, whereas last year students could potentially score as low as a zero. Behavior will not be factored into classroom grades, but instead be measured on a “College and Career Readiness Rubric” scoring students on a scale from one to four on attendance, presentation, communication, interpersonal effectiveness, quality and commitment and ethics.

Students at all levels will also be given “additional opportunities to show mastery of standards, thus extra credit will not be assigned,” according to the new grading procedures amended last month.

Teachers in kindergarten through fourth grade are also required to give students multiple opportunities to perform on assignments and no longer issue grades of “zero” for missing work or dock points for late assignments.

The practices mirror new grading policies tested out on middle schoolers last year in an effort to focus more on students understanding the subject matter than losing grade points.

The changes were approved by the district’s Executive Leadership Team. The group OK’d the changes in July upon the recommendation of Chief Academic Officer Jay Steele, following a unanimous request by high school principals, according to Libbey.

9 Comments on this post:

By: Libertine on 8/1/13 at 4:43

That is exactly what is wrong with our schools. So students who do not turn in an assignment still get half credit for doing it, even though they did nothing? You can do some unrelated internet games and get enough points for a passing grade without doing the coursework and then take and retake tests with lots of hints and help until you pass along all these functional illiterates. That is not in the best interest of the children.

By: ancienthighway on 8/1/13 at 5:07

This is the most asinine policy I've ever heard. I thought child raising was moving away from everyone gets a trophy.

So a child scores really really bad on a test and he's told he failed with a score of 50%. He has the opportunity to retake it. This is a good thing. Except, the kid studies and studies before the retake, improving his understanding, yet still fails with a 50%. Now you have a kid that asks what the point of studying is since it did no good at all, when in reality all that studying increased his score up to 49%

MNPS scores a 0 for this move.

By: Zensur on 8/1/13 at 6:22

So, what happens if they cheat? Do they also get 50%? Does this teach responsibility, integrity, meeting deadlines etc. All needed not only for education but also the work place. Will colleges give 50% also if they do nothing for an assignment and then will the workplace pay the person half if they only do half of the work or don't do anything at all does that mean they still get 50% credit and get paid?

By: P51Jock on 8/2/13 at 8:44

This is a 50% ass idea, where is Pedro Garci when we need him most?

By: Ellie G on 8/2/13 at 10:00

I disagree with this practice. It cheapens the effort of those who do the work.

To MNPS I offer the following advice: Self-esteem is NOT the problem with your underperforming students, and grade inflation will NOT assist your standardized test scores.

Prove me wrong.

By: rldavenport@com... on 8/2/13 at 3:40

This would be material for a comedian's routime if it weren't so serious. It doesn't matter how Jesse Register, the school board and other officials paint it; this was ONLY done to make sure that the school system (1) covers it behind for not performing and improving students' academic progress, and (2) so that MNPS can get more money from the legislature.

My wife and I are even more ecstatic that our children are now in Rutherford County schools.

By: courier37027 on 8/2/13 at 9:27

rldavenport is correct. This is about money first. Second point would be propping up teachers so only the truly incompetent would be fired. A 50 for some of these students would be an improvement. Four 100s and a 50 make a 90 average. Four 100s and a zero an 80 average.

By: hummingbirdhill on 8/3/13 at 5:30

Hummingbird Hill
Please do not blame teachers. I know of no teacher who does not hate this more than all of the above comments. They were not consulted regarding this change.

By: CrimesDown on 8/3/13 at 6:37

This is a part of dumbing down. This is our education system giving up. This is telling a student that they don't have to learn. There were a few students that refused to learn in my schools. They made good ditch diggers. We need ditch diggers. When we just give them their diplomas, they think they are too good to dig ditches. Then we have people that we have to take care of for the rest of our lives. Can people not see that this is not the right thing to do?