Issues in Education

Do You Give Zeros?

Do You Give Zeros? If you do you should stop. Giving zeros does nothing to motivate students, the only thing it does is makes them even less motivated than they were before.You should make an exception, like if a student turns in nothing then they deserve the zero. However, if you want to "punish" them for low performance or not meeting your expectations giving them an F- (5o%) is punishment enough.Take a look at thsi post: and looking forward to some open discussion. Thanks to TeachHub for providing this service!TIC-Technology In Class"

Do you mean zeroes if students answer all the questions wrong?

At that point, I think you can offer them a chance to retake/redo the assignment rather than giving them a grade they don't deserve. That doesn't encourage improvement.

Affirmative. If the student attempts the assignment the lowest grade they should receive is an F- (which would be a 50%)

For example, a student gets 3 out of 10 answers correct. The grade should not be a 30% F-, it should be a 50% F-.

If they don't do anything then a zero (0%)would be reasonable.


My school had this debate about 5 years ago. Our leadership was insisting that we could no longer give zeros for work not turned in because they felt that not turning in work was a behavior issue. By giving the students a zero, we were associating their academic ability with a behavior. They felt that by giving students zeros we were negatively affecting their behavior. At some point, they would be so deep in the hole it would be impossible for them to get out with a passing grade. Instead, their solution was to coach and counsel the student to get to the root of why the work was not completed. In the case of turning in an assignment with completely wrong answers we were told to re-teach and allow them to re-do the assignment.

On a personal note, my own son was having difficulty in LA when he was in 7th grade. His teacher was unwilling to enter any grade other than the one he "earned", which was typically 10-30%. He was trying which is why afterjust a few grades; he was so deep in the hole he gave up. It took me going to the principal and explaining that 50% is still and F why not help him dig out of a 50% hole instead of a 5% hole?

I know it is hard to sometime get our minds around doing something differently, but aren't we here to help all of our students succeed?

@ Mrs. Goodwitch, thanks for including an example, your son in this case. I agree thata student that is struggling will at least see some hope trying to pull themselves from a 50% rather than a 5%. The purpose of them to be in school is to learn, not fail.

I gave students the grade they deserved on the paper for the parents to see.If it was below a 50, I gave them a 50 in my grade book than their actual grade. It is easier to bring up a 50 than a 20. This was second grade andmost students didn't have a clue about number grades, but their parents did. Atthis age, parent involvement can inspire students to do much better.


This makes sense, especially when parents are involved. A 50 is low enough. It's not so discouraging that the parents and students feel that they can't do anything to get out of it.


I try not to give zeros for assignments. Instead, I will conference with the student and explain why their grade would be a zero and then give them the opportunity to complete/re-do the assignment. My county does not allow us to give zeros, by the way. It can be frustrating but I think in the long run, a zero does not accomplish anything.

Mary, interesting that you mention your county does not allow zeros. I have never heard of this before. Thanks for your comment.

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