WCPSS considers new policy

Jackie Wallace, Features Editor

Wake County Public Schools has been a tad on the speculative side, whether it being about poor bus route quality and renovations or the recent switchover to PowerSchool. The school district has started to see is a huge facelift to what most students used to know as one of the best school districts in the country. Wake County is about to hit a large speed bump: the elimination of zeroes from the grading scale. This idea has been on the school board table for three years, starting in early 2010. After the change in superintendent, however the idea was ignored. Once it was brought up again in late October, speculations were stirring on what the grading outcome may be.

In addition to the removal of zeroes, students would be able to retake a test as often as they please, and the highest grade would be added to their school report. A candidate for a retest should be a student who knew the information, but did not show their full potential. By taking a retest one should be proving to their teacher that they and the teacher that you are capable of the material taught.  However, this should only qualify to students who are showing their work ethic and are honestly trying. For example, a student with a 84 or a 92 who has shown “above average work” is more qualified than the student who is significantly failing with a 65. Logically, the person who has a failing grade is not turning their materials in, and when they are turning in work, they have already received either a late grade or have not shown proficiency of the material.

But the issue is that students who are receiving zeroes are not doing their work in the first place. The zero no longer rests as a placeholder but an addition to the students average. Now, if the student cared about their grades, they probably would not let themselves get a zero. Some people would argue like school board member Jim Martin said “he wouldn’t be comfortable giving a 50 to a student who does not do their work.”

For most students zeroes are just an ill reminder of what the damage that can be done by having a zero simply in the gradebook. No matter if a zero is from a classwork grade or a test grade it can have a substantial impact on the difference between passing and failing. Zeroes are something that students should never receive, but in order for a student to learn, they are a vital element to the school system. Ironically, zeroes help students understand. Students learn the cause-and-effect nature of grades which provides them with more situational knowledge as well as student behavior.

This grading issue can go as far to how students will act in college. The truth behind professors not caring whether or not a student fails to complete an assignment is no joke. Having zeroes either as place holders or definite grades is a vital component to the way students learn. Without them, we would be handing grades to students who did not deserve them like their peers.

Eliminating zeroes is as much of a mistake as getting one. There is no excuse to poor performance and everyone should be rewarded with their efforts and vise versa. The best way to fix the problem is by helping those who are at risk to failing and providing them assistance in order to get themselves out of a academic ditch. It can prevent failures which they might not be able to get out of later in the school year. Of course, grades can only be in a teacher’s control for so long and by then, it is up to the student to perform.