Monday, June 04, 2012

Potentially Fired For Not Following A Stupid Policy

A Canadian teacher could conceivably be fired for not following his school district's stupid "no zero" policy:
Lynden Dorval, 61, has been a teacher for 35 years. He’d be in the class room today at Ross Sheppard High School except he’s been suspended.

That drastic action was taken because Dorval refused to go along with a misguided scheme cooked up by educational theorists and school administrators.

Under this scheme, it’s no longer possible for high school teachers at Ross Sheppard and numerous other Edmonton schools to give a student a mark of zero on an assignment or test, even if the student fails to hand in the assignment or write the test. Instead, students are given a final mark based on the work they do complete.

This policy has been in place at Edmonton junior high schools for decades, Dorval says, but it is now working its way into local high schools.
It is, absolutely, without a doubt, a stupid policy.  On the other hand, it's a policy and he must comply.

The article's author lists two links at the bottom of his article, one link for those who support the no-zero policy and one for those who don't.  I'll be honest, I don't find the supporters' arguments convincing.  They talk about "accountability" for the kids, but I don't see where the accountability is.

I emailed the following to the author:
It's a stupid policy. On the other hand, he's not an independent contractor, he's a govt employee. He needs to follow directions.

I understand the idea that you never want kids to think they can't pass, that they're "out of the game". My way of doing that is to tell them that even if they don't score the minimum overall to pass the course (60%), I'll give them a passing grade if they score 70% or above on the final exam.

Three more of my Algebra 1 students passed today than otherwise would have because of that policy.
He replied:
I like your idea. It gives kids incentive, but puts onus on them to work hard. Cheers,
There are good ways and bad ways to keep kids "in the game", and a no-zero policy is one of the bad ways.

Hat tip to reader Mark Perry.

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