BCPS Grading Policy Revision Brings Back the ‘0’

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BCPS Grading Policy Revision Brings Back the ‘0’

Eden Beyene, Staff

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Revisions to the BCPS’ new grading policy brought back what many wished was gone for good: the zero. 

The option of giving students zero credit on assignments had been revoked with the BCPS 2016 grading policy; this awarded a 50% or “lowest score” (LS) as the minimum amount of credit students could receive on an assignment.   

The 2018 grading policy retains the LS with the addition of the zero, but how can you have both? 

These scores are given out for different circumstances. According to the BCPS Policy 5210, an assignment can receive a zero if it was never turned it or “did not show a reasonable, ‘good faith’ effort”. 

Responses to the policy vary: teachers seem to like it, while students have mixed opinions.  

“I’m not quite sure why they kept both the zero and the LS,” senior Ross Hill questioned. “You don’t really need both.” 

Junior Matt Yang explained one impact the new grading policy has on him. 

“Now, if you miss an assignment, [your grade has] completely gone maybe a letter grade down,” said Yang explained, “If I see that, that kind of discourages me.” 

Students do acknowledge the benefits of the policy, however. Sophomore Mailin Eagle, for example, sees the zero as a way to keep students from slacking off. 

“[It] can show what actually starts happening with their grade when they’re not doing their work,” said Eagle. 

There is, however, the option of getting a LS, but what is considered a “good faith” effort?  

“If a student is definitely attempting and trying and you see that, that should be an LS or if you prefer to use an incomplete and then allow them time to do it,” said science department chair Natasha Wilson. If a student did not attempt an assignment or was absent and didn’t make up the work, that may be considered a zero. 

There are some blurred lines that may be a bit threatening to students. Yang believes the decision gives teachers more power. 

“They can choose whether you get that LS or the zero, depending on what they view as minimal effort,” Yang said. 

Hill believes this new power could be used for the wrong reasons. 

“If a teacher already has problems with them or doesn’t like, them, they’re less likely to give them a ‘good faith effort,’” explained Hill. “It leaves a lot of room for people to be biased.”

Hill also pointed out that a student could try their best, may not meet a teacher’s standards, and still receive a zero. 

Ms. Wilson believes the this can be a fair policy if used correctly.  

“It’s a true reflection of what a child has done and what a child knows,” she explained. “For [teachers], it’s more accurate from a grading standpoint.” 

She also believes this has helped students’ performance.  

“There’s more attention to grades this year that I’ve seen personally in my classes,” said Ms. Wilson. At the same time, she understands the zero can deal a heavy blow to a student’s grade.