I guess I should start the Number 2 Pencil fan club because I'm quoting from Kimberly's site a lot lately. Hopefully it won't fall on me to create the fan club logo, given my lack of artistic ability.
In this post, Kimberly talks about a periodically recurring idea of not giving zeroes when students fail to turn in assignments. The idea, no doubt created by someone who buys into the self-esteem movement, is that a zero has such a disproportionately large impact on a grade that it shouldn't be given. An average of a zero and a 100% is 50%, a failing grade, while the average of an F and an A is a C, quite the difference. So the "logic" goes. One idea is to give a 50% (F) instead of a 0% (F), thereby not penalizing students as much when final grades come out.
But what is our goal? Is our goal to ensure students get good grades, or to teach them as much as they can learn and have their grade reflect what they earned? Obviously, I agree with Plan B. Here's Kimberly's take on it:
What's more, if a struggling student knows that the difference between (a) ignoring an assignment and (b) struggling with the assignment and failing at it is a mere 10 points or so, why do the assignment at all?