Should high school students get a zero on an assignment if they fail to do it?

Poll choices

  • Suzanne - 7 years ago

    Let's apply some logic to this debate shall we?

  • Jimmy - 7 years ago

    This is ridiculous on the principal's part. He should know better. So, if a student failed to do his assignment and other students put in all the time and do their work to score a better grades, what grade should those delinquent students received? Mr. Principal, are you saying they should get equal grades of those students who did their assignments? Mr. Principal, it seems that when you were in school, teachers gave you grades that you didn't deserved one way or the other.

    Look if my son were given an assignment and he failed to do it, he deserved to get zero(0). How do you expect these kids to go in the real world and apply what they learned in school? Mr. Principal, your action toward Mr. Lynden Dorval is inappropriate.

    Mr. Principal, in regards of your action toward Mr. Dorval, do you know what messaged you have sent out there to other lazy students, you have now given those lazy spoil students an open eyed to "NOT" do their assignments because they now know that you can't get zero for not doing their work.

    I know 98% of parents who believed in straight measured about their kids, totally disagreed with your action by firing Mr. Lynden Dorval. I know by the grace of God, Mr. Dorval will gets his job back.

    Shame on Ross Sheppard High School...

  • Distraught Dad - 7 years ago

    Ooops. That was supposed to say ' SPARE THEROD, SPOIL THE CHILD.' Crappy old computer. Can't afford a new one, as I am currently supporting some of the results of our school board.

  • Distraught Dad - 7 years ago

    All these coments are a waste of time if the correct people don't read them, and listen to the obvious public outcry for change. Today's (adult) parents, are forbidden to physically discipline their child. This likely stems from parents that abused the practice, in order to hold some strange power over their children. But the restrictions on society dsciplining children is simply out of hand. SPARE THE SPOIL THE CHILD. This is what I heard growing up. Sure, the notion was blown out of proportion. But the ideal was to let children know their was such thing a consequences. Now the school board is breeding a new lineup at the welfare office. I hope you fellow parents have good jobs. You could find yourself supporting 'our promising youth', for the rest of your lives!!

  • Amanda H. - 8 years ago

    It can be hard for a student to plan for the future if distracted (even moreso if distracted at home). Maybe these zeroes were the teacher's cry to 1) the parents to pay more attention to their children 2) the students to wake up and realize this is your own life you're screwing up.

    Why are we focusing on whether someone is marked zero for an assignment that was not handed in? Were the students on sick leave? There is something missing from this story. What a silly policy.

    If you're not handing in the assignments on time and have not talked to the teacher about it before or even the day it's due or after the fact... then there is no reason to not mark an assignment as a zero. Nothing is black and white. I would expect the teacher to talk to the student to see what's what, but if this is a repeating problem with the same students not handing in assignments on time, then fail them.

    Some students might be better off in the longrun after failing a class or grade or two....

  • Ricky - 8 years ago

    What can you mark on what hasn't been completed?
    How much do you pay a worker who hasn't even come to work?

  • Optics - 8 years ago

    The "No-Zero" policy is a detriment to students in the here and now and fails to prepare them for university or for life. This lack of preparation for reality forms a greater detriment to society as a whole. Question to university profs: Ever wonder how half the students in your classes ever made it into university - and with scholarships nonetheless? Does the vacant "blink-blink" of their eyes, and the silently gaping mouths that seem to accompany your non-rhetorical questions, ever drive you crazy? Don't take it personally - it's just that they are not used to having to earn their marks.
    Any employer who has had to deal with these same slackers who "made it through" high school with minimum effort knows what I'm talking about. Question to employers: How many "mental health days" do you end up scrambling to cover when these "no-zeros types" phone in "sick" after a night at the clubs or just because they want to sleep in? How long do you keep them employed?
    Question to shoppers, diners and consumers: How often do you get frustrated waiting for sub-standard service whilst the very people who are supposed to be helping you are taking a "non-scheduled break" (remnant of the "no-zeros" philosophy) or are too busy in conversation with their co-workers to be bothered with you?
    Has anyone had the misfortune to attend an ER lately? One recent experience was that after swiftly being ushered inside to a cubicle (for the "optics of reduced wait time"), I spent the next hour stuck there behind a curtain subjected to hearing the predominantly young nursing staff converse about such professional things as "puking dogs who eat their own vomit", how one was hoping her next birthday party would be better because she was "too wasted" at her last one, a disgruntled bridesmaid of a "bridezilla" who wasn't sure how she was going to get out of her commitment, ... and on and on and on. Imagine the poor emergency room patients, many of whom were in excruciating pain and requiring comfort and assurance, stuck in this situation of entrapment listening to such utter nonsense with no means of relief. Nonsense which, I might add, would have been better discussed at the mandatory breaks that nurses must take during their shifts.
    How does this hospital story relate to the "no-zero" policy you may ask? Think about how the "optics" of no zeros for work not completed skews the actual performance of the students and the school as a whole. Then think about the "optics" of the ER scenario I just described. Now think about our government's "outcomes-based" funding approaches and then do the math (if you can). Our society is slowly becoming rife with the "disease" of minimal effort for maximum reward - it's just a matter of "tweaking the optics" and that, my fellow Albertans, is exactly what the "no-zeros" policy is.

  • Andrea G - 8 years ago

    No assignment completed + No work done = ZERO!! I've heard of a "no fail policy" "no zero policy", where the children get pushed through the year without work completed. This is not REAL WORLD! No work done = NO JOB How are they going to learn responsibility? We are going to raise a country of uneducated, irresponsible, lazy, idiots & who are we going to blame at the end of the day?? The school system??? C'mon parents step up to the plate & SHUT THESE POLICIES DOWN!! OUR children deserve an education & a fair shot at life, they aren't going to have that dragging their butts through school & through life!! Give this man back his job & fire the school board people for putting this RIDICULOUS policy in place & destroying our childrens future!!!

  • Mary - 8 years ago

    So, students don't hand in work by the due date. Then, is it the teacher's job to track/remind/badger/ etc. the student about this? What about a much more
    valuable use of the teacher's time - preparing, teaching, and marking the work
    that has been handed in - by students who have shown what they know (besides
    the fact that they need to meet deadlines), and continuing this cycle in order to
    create and maintain a much healthier, richer curriculum? Perhaps, a team of
    'trackers' could be hired to trail the lates while the professionals get on with the
    task of 'teaching', or it could be just kept simple - the lates get a zero?

  • Aine - 8 years ago

    WTF? If a student doesn't turn in an assignment, how do you grade it? Zero work = zero points.

    Guess how I graduated. I did my work because I didn't want zeroes. -___-

  • Edna Krzyzewski - 8 years ago

    I am very sad to see what our leaders in the field of 'Education' are permitting. Is this the message we want to send our present generation? I, as an educator, feel that students need to be made accountable. We owe it to our children to teach them to be responsible citizens of this beautiful country. Let us hold the bar that this teacher has the guts to stand for. Suspension of the teacher is a cop out. Superintendents, administrators, step into the shoes of teachers before making policies that are redundant.

  • Trish - 8 years ago

    To the people who are saying that students should not receive a zero, but should instead be made to do the assignments, how would you suggest that be accomplished? Teachers can chase students down, give detentions, call their parents ... but at the end of the day, if students absolutely refuse to do the work, what is one to do about it? Do we staple them to their chairs, and poke them with sticks until they comply? Or do we just ignore it and reward the non-effort by pretending it didn't happen?

    This teacher did not begin by giving zeroes. But the ability to give a zero has to exist; else, there is no penalty for refusal to work. when faced with a student who absolutely refuses to submit an assignment, you have to assess what you have. And at that moment, the only thing you have to assess with respect to the unsubmitted assignment is effort. Nil effort = Nil grade. Why should it be any other way?

    This is not giving a student an easy way out. It is giving a student a failing grade.

    This is not absolving a student from submitting work. It is holding them accountable for their actions, in refusing to work.

    This is not damaging a student's self esteem. It is being honest; no effort gets no reward.

    At the end, students should receive the grade that they've earned, through their own actions. And the act of refusing to listen to your teachers and submit the work assigned to you merits a zero. Be proud. You earned that.

  • Alex G. - 8 years ago

    Yes, students should get "zero" if they fail. Yes, the teacher is responsible for this "fail", and he can be suspended if there are too many "fails", because this student's "fail" means teacher's "unprofessional".

  • Harry - 8 years ago

    The no-zero policy needs to be revisited. Students need to be given a reflection of real reality when they grow up. Employers and other members of society cannot be held hostage to mandate them to having them try and try again to have their employees or members in society take responsibility for their own actions. In our current world, organization will choose knowledgeable and responsible individuals to contribute to their organization's success and reward their employees respectively.
    The current no-zero policy fosters the entitlement mentality of "society owes me a good life" without any responsibility to any meaningful contributions. Every School Board Trustee should ensure reasonable education policies are in place to resonably prepare students in moving to the real world as contributors and not as candidates for social services programs.

  • Sam - 8 years ago

    This poll has nothing to do with the actual issue. Giving them a zero and letting them move on is not holding them accountable for the work. Having them do the work and learn from it (assuming that it is a valid and worthwhile assignment) is making them accountable. Most people are very uninformed on this issue and only hear what they want to.

  • Glenn - 8 years ago

    This makes for interesting reading. The pros for this are thoughtful and research based. The cons are very visceral and full of angst. I noted in one blog the reference to a ‘brat’. I would say that is not good teacherspeak.

    I listened to a radio talk show about this on Thursday and was very disappointed in the way the talk show host was slanting the conversations. Most of the participants missed the point of No Zeros which is to make the students more accountable, but what was also missing from the conversations was the supports that need to be in place for teachers to be able to get compliance from students to get the work done. We stopped developing the promising practices papers last year as a result of the feedback we were getting from teachers. We had very strong responses to all of the papers and during the analysis one of the key factors that emerged was that teachers didn’t feel supported enough to implement the practices. As a result, talk about Pyramid Response to Intervention began to surface and some of you began to look at ways to address the issues of homework, late work, incomplete work, relearn/reassess. Having a policy without strategies for supporting teachers as they try to implement them in their classrooms is treading on thin ice. To date we have not made these practices policy, but they still require some protocols/strategies to support teachers if we ever hope to see them become best practices in our jurisdiction. I believe we are approaching it in a manner that is sensitive to our teachers feedback and with the right supports from their schools we can see a reduction in the number of incidences that are the focus of these papers. I would expect to see more ‘Dorvals’ if schools don’t support their teachers.

  • Mike - 8 years ago

    Why? If you decline to do work what earthly reason should you be paid for nothing. To many student and also ordinary people fell they are a privileged class. They feel entitled to whatever for doing not a darn thing. If school is to train people for future work and life skills, what are teachers preparing them for if they do not show them that failing to work results in earning nothing.
    Would you pay an employee you hired to do work around your home or place of business if they did absolutely nothing.
    It is high time that today's students/work force learn that to be paid you need to work.
    We all can't belong to the privileged class now can we?

    I totally support this teacher and say shame shame to the board for such a stand.
    No wonder it is hard to find quality workers and products when this type of entitlement attitude exists.

  • Lisa - 8 years ago

    Bravo!! Zero's should be given out! What a sad message that's being sent out... something for nothing.... it's painting an unrealistic picture for those students. What happens when they get a job? Will they expect to get paid for work that they've never done? What about those students that DO their assignments? Their homework? Why should they even bother trying when they can 'coast' through class, not bother...and not fail? Think of the message that those students are getting? How unfair for them to hard...and EARN their grades.

  • Khadija - 8 years ago

    Im currently a high school student in Edmonton, and I don't like this no zero policy at all . How are the Students in high school supposed to learn how to hand in assignments if u don't give them a zero . I honestly dont like this rule at all , the board needs to take these comments into consideration. HOPEFULLY FOR 2012-2013 school year this won't be an issue, zeros should be awarded :) There wasnt a reason to suspend a high school teacher at Ross sheppard , he wasnt following the procedures for the no zero policy , which was a good thing . 2 weeks left for High school students and the board suspends a teacher . What has the world come too ? That wasn't a good aproach. Hopefully the board will take these comments into consideration. .

  • Jane - 8 years ago

    To are a prime example of the lack of education...your comment "if the shoe fits...where(sic) it.....the correct word is WEAR. Kids do not learn the basics anymore...all the goody two shoes out there who think your ego will suffer if we do not coddle the kids these day....need to shake their heads. It is crap!!! I truly hope I do not live to be really will be a world full of adults who cannot read or write....the basics for survival!! In fact, they cannot even tell time unless it is a digital that is sad!!! To the kids who at least do their assignments, keep it up, you will go far in life as long as you don't expect something for nothing....the real world does not work like that.

  • Trish - 8 years ago

    I am an honours student, working toward a professional designation. I am gainfully employed, a parent of two, and have so far been awarded four scholarships in my program of study. As a teenager in high school, the lowest grade appearing on my transcript was a 13%. It was an appropriate grade, and accurately reflected my effort and the marks that I had received as a result. It was not harsh. I earned that grade, simply by absolutely refusing to try. I didn't apply myself, and I had to take an extra year of high school in order to graduate. This did not damage my self esteem. From this, I learned what not to do. And I applaud the teacher who gave me that grade, for teaching me that minimal effort receives minimal result. No other lesson is realistic.

  • mother of a previously lazy child - 8 years ago

    I am thankful for my zero giving junior / senior high school. They have allowed me to help push my daughter to become more responsible about her schoolwork and life in general.
    She would "forget" to bring home homework, or lie and say that she got it done at school. But she could never hide from those zeros on the interim reports.
    Without those reports, I would have been in the dark until the end of the term when the school would have called me in to "ask my permission" to hold her back a grade.
    A simple assignment such as turning in a signed course outline gained her many a zero in junior high. It also allowed me to "show her the math" and explain how something as simple as turning in the course outline I had signed would gain her an easy grade.
    I can now happily say that she is on track for graduation, and is working hard to achieve the marks she needs for grants and scholarships for university.
    Losing a grant or scholarship to a student who went to a no zero policy school would be a very sad turn of events.
    I'm sure educators are trying to help students with their self esteem, but this is not the answer... think of all the ways this can backfire. Acceptance to post secondary education for those that didn't actually earn the grade they received, disappointment for those students when they are finally penalized for missed assignments, grant and scholarship awards being given to student who didn't actually meet the requirements, a workforce without the basic education needed. Where would it end? It would end with an adult who was even more troubled with difficulties in maintaining a meaningful and financially rewarding job. An adult filled with self doubt, fighting for a way to improve their lot in life.
    Why not prevent all that suffering by teaching them rewards and consequences when they are in school.

  • sheri - 8 years ago

    I feel that any student that doesnt complete an assignment deserves a zero! 100% agree with this teacher and think all other teachers should follow his example. He's teaching these kids valuable life skills that will be very necessary once they get out of school. Do you think if you are at work and don't do the work that your boss will pay you anyhow??? Heck no!!! If he doesn't fire you, you could get suspended, but definitely NOT get paid for it! The zero policy is ridiculous. Even my 15 year old grade 10 daughter says so. What about the good kids (like my daughter) that do all the work ontime, put in the extra effort to make sure they do it right? why should the kids that wait till the end of the year to hand in the work get the same marks??? why should they get the credit??? what does that say to the kids who do the work all the time? It tells them that they shouldn't care about it if they can get the same grade anyhow!!! Get rid of the silly zero policy and bring back the grading system the this one courageous teacher!

  • Elaine - 8 years ago

    A spokesperson for the EPSB superintendent of schools stated on CBC radio that the superintendent only acts in the best interests of students. In this case, I don't think so. Surely, it is not in the best interests of the hard-working students in Mr. Dorvals' classes who face diploma exams or final exams to be without their capable and committed teacher for the final course unit and exam review. In a misguided attempt to foster self-esteem schools are, in fact, producing young narcissists unable to defer self-gratification for the sake of achieving success either in school or the workplace. This is not in the best interests of students or society.

    Reinstate this teacher, rescind this policy, recognize what tax-payers want from their education system.

  • Davis - 8 years ago

    This guy was my best teacher. I am a successfull engineer with an education from NAIT AND the UofA and really good at my job because he taught me that if I dont do the work I dont get the mark and dont learn a darn thing. I am proud of him for standing by this.

  • Leslie - 8 years ago

    If the shoe fits - where it! If you don't do the work, you don't deserve a mark! A zero is a zero is a zero! Good for the Teacher who stood his ground, shame on the School System for suspending the teacher for doing his job, the student should be suspended for not completing his work. What is wrong with this world when a teacher can't give credit where credit is due! To the student, you are in high school - grow up! Your parents should be ashamed of you and ashamed of the school system to which their student resides!
    I wonder how many other subjects you haven't turned in work for? Should the school system let you graduate with zero's? No, you need 100 credits and a passing mark, not a zero! Good luck to you in the future hopefully you'll work for an employer who looks the other way like the school system has done and penalizes your boss not you! Good Luck with that!

  • Skyler - 8 years ago

    While I agree with this Teacher's re-working of the no-zero policy (give them until the end of the year to make it up, if not they get a zero). There is something to be said about the fact that his suspension (while unfortunate) is legitimate in the fact that he went against the rules that his employer set out.

    I would also like to mention that I have noticed a general theme of adults and parents assuming a lack of motivation and a sense of entitlement in today's young adults. While this may be true for some, I feel that people need to also realize that there are many problems facing today's youth that were not issues when our parents were our age. Inflation of house prices has made it harder and harder for students to move out of their parent's houses on their own. And the increases of tuition make it harder and harder for students to get a post-secondary education, something which is necessary to get almost every decent job that may not have been necessary in our parents times or our grand-parents times. Obviously every generation has had to face their own trials and tribulations, but not all of today's youth is as self entitled and lazy as many would have you believe. Many students that I know work their butts off trying to do the best that they can, but considering how much is expected of them many often find issues trying to balance everything. Having a job, completeing the expected 1-2 hours per night per subject for all of their classes (that's an extra 4-8 hours per night on top of a school day) and trying to do some community service as well in order to gain better standings in the competition for scholarships is a lot to handle. There aren't enough hours in a day. So while I agree that the assignments that aren't done deserve a zero, I do understand being lenient towards when these things are completed.

    And those saying it doesn't prepare them for real life? I would like to ask you how many of you have to balance 4 completely different subject matters every day, along with the and extra 4-8 hours of work expected to be done at home? And then consider those students who have volunteering commitments or a job where they actually get PAID on top of that? Sure being an adult is hard, but don't assume all the stressed out students of today are only that way because their parents, the school board, or some other organization has coddled them their whole life. They have their own difficult problems to deal with. And frankly some of the hardest working students I know are the ones who are the most stressed out and frustruated with the system that doesn't always do what it needs to do

  • Patricia - 8 years ago

    I am a teacher and I give zero to students that cheat on exams. I also give zero when they skip an exam. It's not fair to the students that wrote the exam and the student who skips, hounds then for questions that were on the test so they can get a better mark.

  • Laurene Park - 8 years ago

    They know upfront what the exectations are - no assignment turned in equal zero. He made himself available for them to come to him and ask to do the assignment. Students who do comply with requirements are rewarded by the deserved grade. Why should the ones who shun responsibility for doing the assignment not be penalized. They can skip knowing it doesn't matter my final mark is based on the other assignments. What is the purpose here? Ross Shepherd principal and EPS Superintendent Edgar Schmidt are the ones that should be fired.

  • Sue - 8 years ago

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  • Sue - 8 years ago

    Shame on the school board. Our kids are not learning anything when there is no consequences for their actions. Reality check is what our kids need. If they do not do the work, then give them a big fat ZERO cause that is how much work they put into it. Reality.

  • Holly - 8 years ago

    The issue is that of school budget. Schools receive the full amount of funding from each student only if they pass. There is a push at the high school I teach at from administration to pass students who are failing so that the school can receive the funding. I believe that passing these students not only sends them the wrong message, but it does not set them up for success in their classes for next semester. When education, like healthcare, is run as a business, there will inevitably be problems.

  • Dee - 8 years ago

    Do the math (at least it was the last time I went to school) 0 = 0

  • Renee - 8 years ago

    Congratulations to Mr. Dorval for standing up for his students education. If one does not show up for work - they get a zero on their pay cheque, and ultimately an escort out the door. What the education system is sorely lacking is the ability to prepare the student for the "real world". It appears at times that we molly coddle students through the system until graduation. We become the enablers to these young people by continually bailing them out of situations that they are ultimately responsible for. In the end they suffer greater losses through unemployment and job turnover than if they would have simply learned at the beginning of their education that they alone are responsible for their education. I think that Mr. Dorval's bravery should be lauded and the superintendent should maybe get his walking papers. A letter of support by myself for Mr. Dorval will be sent to EPS this date asking them to re-instate him immediately. Good work Mr. Dorval - you are truly what education is all about -

  • Richard Y - 8 years ago

    In the real world if you don't show up for work you a get a ZERO...

  • Cory - 8 years ago

    We need to get a petition going. Flood the principal and school board with concerned emails. This no-zero policy has to go and Mr Dorval needs his job back. It is hard to find serious teachers who value education now a days.

  • Amanda - 8 years ago

    The teacher gave the students until the END OF THE TERM to complete assignments! to me that is more than enough of a second and third chance. Common people! why the heck would we push students through who don't care about their education , what kind of citizens will that turn out!

  • grd - 8 years ago

    The mark reflects the quality and substance of the work produced in the time allotted. Nothing produced, no mark. As for those commenting that this is merely the concern of an administration and its employee, "you wouldn't know a diamond if you held it in your hand". This discussion is about accountability, not doctrine.

  • Sam - 8 years ago

    I agree with the majority who claim that the no-zeroes policy is simply balderdash. It is a corruption of the educational system, and I am appalled that a teacher was suspended for actions that even two decades ago would have been called a slack and joke of the educational system. The fact that his policy of waiting until the end of the term before assigning a zero was considered too harsh and crushing is a debilitating example of the collapse of the Edmonton public educational system. In one of my most recent classes, the majority of the 40+ students, between their 3rd and 5th years stated that they planned to leave the province as soon as they could. That they had no intention of staying. Something is wrong with the system if the educated are leaving in search of wiser pastures. Perhaps this can be traced back to the core resentment of the higher students when their irresponsible and careless peers "acheive" the same marks as them.

  • StandUpForEducation - 8 years ago

    My child attends this school that Dorval taught at for the last three years. After attending the convocation ceremonies of Ross Sheppard High School last Wednesday, I really began to wonder how seriously this school takes my child’s education! I am relieved to see a man finally standing up for what is right.
    At convocation last week, students made beautiful speeches, giving thanks to the school for preparing them for the “real world” and the challenges that lie ahead. But really how much truth is behind that? When there are teachers being dismissed for giving students the marks they deserve? No work done deserves no credit.
    In this “real world” that those girls referred to in their speeches last Wednesday night, nobody is going to shelter you from the consequences at the next stop, be it post secondary or the workforce. I’m sorry if the administration refuses to accept this, but in the real world if I refuse to do work, food isn’t going to spontaneously appear on the table at dinnertime. There are consequences for laziness in life, and in no way is concealing that fact in high school preparing students for success in their future endeavors. I suppose at this point we really begin to ask ourselves, is graduation anything to be proud of when lots of those students are probably walking the stage at commencement only because the teachers aren’t allowed to give zeros to the students who refuse to do work?
    It is clear that the administration at this school does not give academic achievement the proper attention that deserves if it is to rightfully call itself an academic institution. Attending the convocation ceremony last week, I found myself explaining to many upset parents the confusion regarding the issue as to why the school no longer gave any recognition to students for academic achievement at their ceremonies, unlike any other years at this school there were no cords given to students to recognize honors or honors with distinction or full international baccalaureate students. Call me pretentious, but after 12 years of nurturing my child at this ceremony that is meant to recognize the “end of the journey” of my child’s success in public education, I’d hope she’d get some recognition. I’m sure many would agree with me when I say it’s not the cords itself that the kids or parents really care about, instead it is reassuring to know that the school does acknowledge the appreciation they have for their hardworking students.
    I had known long before convocation night about this issue regarding the cords incident at my child’s school. My child had informed me earlier about the petitions that were signed by hundreds of students demanding cords on convocation night to recognize achievement. Honestly, a cord is worth how much in material cost? A dollar maybe? It’s a small cost to the school, yet it means the world to the students. The leading protestors even attempted to come to an agreement with the Administration by suggesting that the MC’s could verbally articulate honor’s status and IB as they walked across the stage. But No! Even such a cost free task was instantly shot down by the Admin, because apparently it would make those that don’t have a list of achievements to follow their name feel bad. Welcome to the real world, fact is we are what we make of ourselves, people who are willing to put in the extra mile will have more perks in life, this is the real world. Why do educational facilities continue to pretend that it is otherwise?
    I have two younger children, unless this school can show me tremendous reform and re-evaluate their priorities, my children will not be going to this school. As cruel as reality may seem, it is what it is and I want my kids to grow up knowing it does exist.

  • Dana - 8 years ago

    This is insanity! 0 work = 0%. That is what I was taught in school. I smell a law suite coming on! Teacher vs. Alberta Education. GO Teacher GO

  • Inspirednotretired - 8 years ago

    I have been following the comments on the No Zero Policy outcome. Could we possibly have a town hall meeting or a series of them to make public education more public? Judging by the number of outraged commentators here, might this not be a logical direction to take? Let's not base opinions on misinformation and assumptions. Marshall McLuhan once said dialogue is the answer to conflict. A prescient view, and more needed than ever. Let us proceed with calm discussion in pursuit of purposeful solutions. The problem here does not only lie in the matter, but also in the manner. I do know of what I speak. I am also an experienced teacher...35
    years of teaching have given me this perspective. Let's have the conversation.

  • john d - 8 years ago

    This issue is not about zeros. Mr. Dorval was suspended for insubordination and defiance. A No-Zero Policy is not a free pass for students. In fact, the direct opposite - no zeros means students must complete all assignments. There are students, many of them, will take the zero if presented with the option. No zeros is about high expectations for kids. In my classroom every student must complete every major assessment. If they miss an assessment there needs to be a system to hold the student accountable. At Ross Shep they had a system to support Mr.Dorval so that he would not have to apply the zero. It is clear from his suspension letter that he did not pursue administrative support to hold his students accountable. Unfortunately, Mr. Dorval is being praised for his stand on this issue. Instead he should be questioned why he was willing to accept zeros from any of his students and why was unwilling to work with colleagues in a professional and respectful way.

  • Robert - 8 years ago

    The school board's "more complex issues" is nothing more than an attempt to quash public opinion while they try to establish the dumbing down of the education system. In truth, the school board needs to be fired and this teacher applauded. In what other sector of life??? do we reward zero effort. How does this prepare young people for life? What is in the brains of the administrators, except perhaps empty space, that would find any logic in a policy so logically illogical...

    There are zero long term benefits to this, oh, except of course to raise the ratings of the schools because the marking gets done on a curve.

    Not students first, not teachers first, not school board first, the only right thing is Character first.

  • Joe - 8 years ago

    EPSB - reinstate this teacher immediately. We seem to invent new ideas in the teaching profession - this is just another ridiculous idea that in 5 years when all of our world wide test schools continue to slide, we will realize that this was a colossal mistake. No zeroes is ridiculous and funny thing is VERY few parents like the idea, yet they are key stakeholders. If you have a conversation with teens, the majority also think it is dumb. As do most teachers......

  • Joanne - 8 years ago

    This policy explains why a large number of students at MacEwan University can barely spell their own name. And why teenagers in their first jobs can't believe they're getting fired because they don't do any work. They seem to think all you have to do is show up (usually late), stand around texting on their cellphone, and then get paid. No assignment = full marks, No work=full paycheque.

    This stupid policy in no way does these children any favours. It's just setting them up for big disappointment down the road. It's time to stop coddling these kids and make them responsible for their actions. Just like real life. And isn't that what school is supposed to be preparing kids for? Real life.

    We in the post secondary education field have noticed that the students entering their first year are much less mature than their counterparts 10+ years ago. A large number of them are woefully unprepared for the post secondary experience and seem to rely on Mommy and Daddy to come in and solve their problems for them. Library fine - have Mommy call and yell at the staff that their little darling couldn't possibly have been late returning books. Class full because junior waited until the last minute to register - have Daddy come down and berate the registrar office staff for not squeezing in little junior.

    This policy should cause every Ross Shep student to be embarrassed to admit they attend school there. And I'd be embarrassed to admit I taught there.

  • Lan - 8 years ago

    As a teacher, my job is to assess a student's learning based on the curricular outcomes in the program of studies. If I have nothing to assess, I cannot give a grade. Just because a student does not hand in an assignment does not imply that they know 0% of the material. There are ways to get students to complete assignments, by having them give up lunch hours and time after school in order to finish assignments or write tests. Phone calls can be made home to let parents know their students have incomplete assignments etc.

    There is no way that a student would get 100% on one assignment and never do another assignment and pass the class. 1 assignment is not enough to assess a student's learning, they would get a "cannot assess" as a final grade and would not pass the class. That is a myth about no zero policies.

    Using a zero as a punishment is not what assessment is for. A student's grades measure their achievement in the concepts covered in the curriculum. Nowhere in the curriculum is there an outcome such as "student will complete assignments on time".

    If you want accountability, parents should be working with teachers in order to get those assignments in to be assessed, a zero means nothing and does't accurately measure a student's learning.

  • Another Former Teacher - 8 years ago

    Parent47, and anyone else who may be questioning the validity of this article, please consider the comments written by those of us who have been in this district and/or in districts with similar policy. This is not a witch-hunt against EPSB, or a biased dialogue. It is the truth that has finally surfaced and is, unfortunately, the tip of the extraordinary dysfunction and break-down within this system. I love teaching. I am passionate about it, and have certainly made a difference in my classrooms. But I have left because I will not compromise my ethics to serve a mandate rather than the children, their academic well-being, and their future successes.

  • Russell - 8 years ago

    I'm a grade 12 student at Sturgeon Composite High School and i find it very unfair that we get zeros for uncompleted assignments and they dont. If someone chooses to do say one assignment all year and gets 100%, they go into the diploma with a 100. How is that fair to the rest of us when applying for university if their marks are rated on what they actually do? I wonder how successful those students are when they go to post secondary and have to do every assignment. High school is supposed to be preperation for post secondary, and if you dont do a test in post secondary, what grade do you think youll be given? That will be another huge change those students will have to go through and will probably leave most of those students behind.

  • Another Former Teacher - 8 years ago

    When people question why I quit this district, I will refer them to this article. I, too, was at odds with this policy. This was one of the points I considered before a leave and my subsequent resignation. I find it misguided and frustrating when the "self esteem" argument is brought up. Is it not better to challenge a student to better him/herself earlier on in life, than years into adulthood when someone finally tells them they aren't cutting it, they get fired, or cannot find a job because no one will hire someone without work ethic, skills and accountability? We are not creating a creative, self-motivated, critical thinking group of young people when we give chance after chance with no consequence for their lack of follow through. It isn't a "bad" thing to fail in school, or in life for that matter. But it IS a failure to push children along grade by grade when they lack the skills, work ethic and prior knowledge needed to be successful in the next grade. Bravo to this teacher! I hope many more will follow his example. After all, they can't suspend the whole district.

  • Name withheld to protect the school - 8 years ago

    What are the consequences then, as a parent I cannot inspire my child to do his school work and turn off the game systems by hanging over his head being held back a grade, now he can get away with not doing assignments and still get a mark. WHAT! I am thankful for the teachers at my son's school who still give zeros for work not handed in.... he has the chance to do the work, but he will get a zero if he does not do it. I will not name the school for fear that they will stop this practice. BRING BACK REAL WORLD CONSEQUENCES!!

  • TimeManagementGuru - 8 years ago

    As a semi-recent University Grad one would think 0 work = 0 marks, and no extensions unless really, really needed. Definitely was that way in high school for me from both teachers and parents! I've always thought that a lot of the things recently introduced in schools were really not helping with that type of attitude - and it scares me to think about what it might mean once those people enter / leave university and keep thinking that way. It isn't confined to schools then, but has already started to spill over into work and higher learning. Scary to think of what other consequences of this continuing trend might be.

    I would like to draw attention to the assumption many seem to be making - that as soon as students hit University or the work force, nobody will cut them any slack. I agree with that to a point - I don't see the workforce changing anytime soon thankfully. But a very unfortunate side effect of the feeling of entitlement in the vast majority of students leaving high school is that it actually can - and has - impacted the way university is delivered, and will continue to do so for as long as we continue to encourage that kind of thinking in many of the students entering first year.

    Even over 5 years at University I noticed a change in attitude from both students and profs - University professors were actually, to some degree, chasing students and letting them get away with stuff high school students might have done. I know of university students who thought that simply showing up and sitting in lectures deserved a B for effort alone - I think there was even an article on that several years back in the Journal.

    I know personally some people who made it through - even graduated with a degree - and still lived in an airy fairy world where deadlines were for other people. The person in question had, for 3 years running, managed to get an extension on a final, 50% of mark, project. She assumed that deadlines did not apply, and was never told otherwise, even at University, to fix it. Run out of time / not good enough time management skills? Oh, I'll just ask nicely for an extension. (A poor reason to need one) I don't know how she did it, and it kind of pissed me off to learn about it, seeing as I worked very hard to meet deadlines, even with 300+ hours of work related to school/grad in the last 2 months before I handed in my 50% final project projects, and on one other memorable occasion, planning a funeral at the same time as a major deadline. Ug. Worst deadline of my life.

    On the flip side - I actually got a job right out of school, had a lot of success in the past few years in the area I wanted to work in, and outside of work. I'm not sure if she ever did get a job, and I believe is still in the parent's basement last I heard.

    I wonder if she ever did learn about deadlines?

  • Maurice - 8 years ago

    Bravo! Administration makes the no zero rule and then wants teachers to achieve high standards. This teacher had explained his standards and stuck to them. Were the teachers consulted about the new policy? Probably not. 35 years experience, I think this teacher knew what he was doing. Instead of thanking him, they will probably boot him. Shame on the board!

  • Tim - 8 years ago

    Honestly, life doesn't always give second chances. If you miss handing in your assignment, it should be mark as such, 0%, as nothing was presented that comformed to the requirements of the assignment.

    Good on the teacher that upheld his standards. To the parents and students that complain about the teacher - If you don't learn now, you will never learn. If you miss work now, what will you be like once you hit the workforce. It is people like you that ruin my daily worklife when I gotta pick up the slack for those that miss doing the work.

  • Shelley - 8 years ago

    This article angers me! But even more is the fact that the kids who responded on here thinks its right to suspend the teacher and that they are being treated badly! Serious! It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure what's wrong with THIS picture. And I always wondered why its so hard to find good help! Question answered!

  • FormerTeacher - 8 years ago

    To the student Adam,

    Your poor writing skills do nothing to further your argument. You should re-read your comment with a red pen and circle every mistake you made. Your poor skills won't bode well for you when you leave high school and enter the workforce.

  • jen - 8 years ago

    To Adam, I am concerned with your assumption that your teacher should not be required to "think", and shudder to think that you will soon be in the working world, if not already. You know who does not care about your self esteem? Your boss. Also, please tell me you are not comparing wearing a hat in school to a school policy that is deterimental to the outcome of its students.

    Do you know how one gets self esteem? They earn it, by working hard and seeing results of that hard work.

    To Dick, look to the above comment if you want, "self steam". Your own comments prove that the lack of actual grading is having a detrimental impact on our students education.

  • Mindy - 8 years ago

    Shame on the school! What is that teaching kids? How on earth are they going to survive university, or even their future workplaces? Don't do your job, but don't worry, you won't be fired and there won't be any consequences. Shame on them.

  • Lee - 8 years ago

    This is the problem with our school system..... when they were in elementary they dont get a chance to fail the system keeps progressing them along in there grades so they dont learn that they need to start and finish a project. Kids dont fail anymore they we give them kudos for sometimes doing nothing. As parents we dont have the support from our school teachers or supporters. In the catholic school system every subject and internal projects and plans should be teached at all schools, and ditto for the public system. One school teachs one thing in elementary than in junior high its not followed and then high school well thats just another can of worms. And there should only be schools no learning centres either.... THERE ARE TO MANY OPTIONS FOR THES KIDS....

  • Felicia - 8 years ago

    This teacher is one to be admired. What favor are we doing to the younger generation by allowing this to happen? "wahhh that's not fair" "okay let's just take away this teachers job so the kiddies feel better"
    This does nothing but coddle our already spoiled and entitled generation of youth. This is about respect, authority and knowledge. The board has taken that away from not one but all teachers. That's what this educator is trying to enforce, and rightfully so. They should be behind them not against them.

  • sp - 8 years ago

    What a jole ross shep is! My kids won't be going there!

  • Tracy - 8 years ago

    The parents of the students that responded should be embarassed. Obviously their children
    are in high school and have not learned the value of hard work and discipline. Any of the 20 year olds we have working (temporarily) for our company cannot compose a proper sentence and think that any time is texting time. Going to be hard earning a living with that sense of entitlement!!

  • KerrieMomof4 - 8 years ago

    I am a mom of 4 kids 2 of which have special needs. My oldest daughter who is going into grade 10 just came home and informed me the other day about a horrible teacher who hands out zero's for not handing in assignments and my daughter was very quick to say how this is wrong and not allowed. I asked her what should the teacher mark and grade when there is nothing in front of her. I was upset that not only does my daughter think it's unfair but she was so quick to label the teacher as "bad" My second child will be entering grade 7 next year and is coded and has a IPP can be very stubborn and hard to handle and getting him to do homework is a challenge but he does it because he wants a good grade.If he knew they were not allowed to give Zero's i am betting he would opt out of a lot of assignments!

  • Lynda - 8 years ago

    As a parent of two graduates, I fully support the teacher . What are we teaching our children in life? What is the point in assignments if students know that they can't receive a 0? When they go on for further education, the colleges and universities aren't going to care if they do the work and there they surely will receive a "0"! Good for the teacher for upholding his strong work ethic and morals and believing in reward for a job well done. Maybe we need to return to some basic teaching and work habits and parents need to support teachers in this aspect.

  • Dianna Cardinal - 8 years ago

    Teacher is right -- no work - no mark. Why is the government watering down our eduction system? Are they trying to turn Canada into a 3rd world country!

  • Elaine - 8 years ago

    Yes the students should get marked with a "0", they shouldn't get extra time to do the assignment unless there is/was a very, very good reason for not getting it done on time. In the work place and living in gerneral we all have deadlines, if we don't meet them we pay the consequences.
    We complain about not having high standards in teaching and education, this is way we don't. We finally find a teacher that is actually teaching and he is punished, go figure!!!!

  • Barbara - 8 years ago

    This teacher deserves a medal! Talk about coddling! Ridiculous! This is all about whining students and parents! No wonder I cannot find employees who can actually read and write!

    Time to take responsibility!


  • Athena - 8 years ago

    Absolutely they should get a 0. High school is supposed to prepare you for College/University and give you life skills. In university if you don't hand in assignments, you get a 0. If you are working a job in the real world and fail to do the job asked of you, guess what? You don't get a raise, you get fired! Coddling students will only further their sense of entitlement and not help them to develop a healthy work ethic!

  • Debb Peters - 8 years ago

    My teachers use to do this all the time, when I was in school... no work done... no mark.
    think about it, how does one get a 100% if the teacher has nothing to look at???
    Everyone would get good grades if they used a marking system like this... " no paperwork but get a grade anyway".

  • Cody - 8 years ago

    No Work done = No Mark on the assignment = 0% Plain and simple!! To address an earlier comment "PMU" is just another way of saying 0% on the assignment and just another way to coddle todays teenagers! Also the parents of these children really need to stop and think about their parenting skills, the purpose of the 0% is not to teach these kids responsibilty, it's the parents job, and if after the first or second 0% they are not clueing in they seriously need to get thier damn heads checked. This teacher is in the right and was wrongfully dismissed. I tip my hat to you sir job well done!

  • robertlovespi - 8 years ago

    Wait, what? I was always under the assumption when I was in school that an incomplete assignment was always a zero grade. This teacher gave students until the end of the year to complete outstanding assignments or face a mark of zero and the school suspended him? Hello? The teacher was doing his job. Shame on Ross Shepard High School.

    Curious as to what mark the school would suggest the teacher give the students.

  • John Pedersen - 8 years ago

    To Adam, the student at the high school in question:
    Your self-esteem wouldn't be lowered if you did the assignment, and really this is about getting the work done - not about self-esteem. In the working world -- which school is supposed to partially-prepare you for -- your boss doesn't care about your self-esteem, your boss wants you to get the work done. And if you don't, there are consequences.

    As for John who stated they shouldn't get a zero:
    Report cards have a deadline. If there is no work to show for an assignment, then what would you like to give them as a grade? And then how would you explain that grade to those other students who made a sincere effort to get the work done -- all the work done?

    I honestly have to question those -- especially those in school board leadership responsibile for this decision on this teacher -- what the uncommon brilliance really is.

  • G.E. Ranger - 8 years ago

    I think the principal of Ross shepard High School should receive medical help with his backbone problem.

  • Debbie - 8 years ago

    Everyone knows that 'life' happens but at some point you have to fit everything in. There is no reason that a student can't get everthing in by the end of the year. This is pure laziness. We need more teachers taking a stand like this!

  • Cheryl Eddy - 8 years ago

    If you read the article, the students still can complete the assignment for marks. These marks should still be penalized for being late, but they do have the chance. What else can he do??? As a former teacher, I was constantly telling parents (and some of these readers and commenters obviously need to hear it) that I cannot MAKE anybody do anything - it is up to them - especially at this level! go for the big zero, teachers, then perhaps we will get less bitching from business about the terrible work habits of the "workers" we were supposed to "train".

  • Douglas - 8 years ago

    It is likely all about money and the way we fund public schools. Schools get paid by the government for student credits achieved. I believe if the course completion mark falls above a low number, the school can't claim it as a credit to be paid by Alta Ed. You make the funding contingent on marks, then policies come out of the woodwork to make sure the marks achieved, brings maximum cash. Follow the money trail.

  • Dennis - 8 years ago

    Do zero...get zero....what other mark should you get? You don't work, you still get paid?

  • formerstudent - 8 years ago

    Highschool studnets are no longer kids. They need to understand what a deadline means and understand that in real life, if you dont do something by the time you have to, you usually do get a result thats equal to a zero on an assignments. Why are we spoiling our children? they are the future carriers of civilization. How can we train them not to have deadlines?

  • Jackie - 8 years ago

    Reinstate this teacher immediately. How ridiculous can our education system be? When I was a student, if I could sneak by doing nothing and still pass, I'd NEVER have done any homework.

  • formerstudent - 8 years ago

    Dear Teacher,

    You did the right thing. Dont be sad your suspended. Thank you for taking the effort of showing our students that with no hardwork, you cant get a good result.
    What is our education system sinking too? suspending this teacher is shameful.

  • Adam Stein - 8 years ago

    I am a concern student whom goes to the school where this teacher was suspended from. This teacher is almost "rogue" because he isn't listening to the rules. Teachers at my school often lecture kids about wearing hats. But lowering student's self esteem by giving them a zero is quite unnecessary. He should DO his job, not what he THINKS he should do.

  • Dick - 8 years ago

    Kids should always have an extended chance do finish extended homework. It's a teachers job to mark the work, it shouldn't matter whether or not it is done on the due date. I think teachers should give kids another chance, or extend it. Maybe the no zero policy for kids will be a good thing. High school students seeing zeros will lower their motivation, and self steam.

  • Marco - 8 years ago

    I think they shouldn't get a zero if they failed to do the assignment. The schoolboard were the people whom suspended the teacher. If the teacher did it within reason he/she would have not been suspended. For all the parents and other teachers thinking that this is wrong most likely don't know the full story. I highly doubt the Edmonton Public School Board would bring negative attention to one of their employees. The teacher was obviously breaking school rules. If a kid was suspended for breaking rules would 95% of people still say they shouldn't have been.

  • Rose - 8 years ago

    I am a teacher. What are you teaching kids about real life and responsibility? A zero is the correct term for doing nothing. These are not children. These are young adults that are old enough to understand the consequences of their actions. Give this caring teacher his job back. Seems to me he is the only one with enough backbone to prepare these young adults for real life. As a mother of 3 and grandmother of 6, I expect teachers and administrators to do what they are paid to do.
    Parents, do yourselves a favour and demand that the Board takes a good hard look at their policies. Do not let a few squeaky wheels change the intent of education. (The majority of parents expect that their childen receive the correct grade.) Nothing done means 0. That explains itself.

  • Up4Ed - 8 years ago

    The "No Zero" policy is not about the student, it is about the funding. No minimum 30%, no funding from AB Ed" . AB Ed needs to address this policy. But suspension of the teacher...ludicrous!!

  • Samantha - 8 years ago

    If you choose not to do an assignment then you deserve a zero. That's how it is in university and in real life. It's that simple. We need to stop treating teenagers like babies. It's time they grew up.

  • Jessa - 8 years ago

    While I understand the concern about learning to make deadlines, I think we need to take a closer look at the real issue here.

    A teacher's job is to teach curriculum, and grade assignments based on how well a student demonstrates understanding of said curriculum. As an educator, I know that no where in the curriculum does it say "student hands in assignments on time and learns to be responsible." By giving students a zero, that is what the teacher is grading, NOT the curriculum that he is hired to teach.

    A better solution would be for the teacher to demand that the students complete the work (which he is doing), and if they don't, give the student a "PMU." This stands for "Performance Mark Undetermined." This sends a stronger message to the student than a zero ever will. Essentially, it is a way of giving no mark when performance cannot be assessed.

    Responsibility can be taught in many ways. School assignments are only one way. How does getting a zero teach a kid to be responsible? These are not the intrinsically motivated kids or kids motivated by grades we're talking about anyway. Demanding that they complete the assignment and holding them responsible is a much better way.

  • Coreen - 8 years ago

    If they did SOME of the assignment then there is material to be graded, but not even starting or attempting an assignment merits a zero grade. But as a mature university student I see so many first year university students not realizing that they now have to do the work that's put in front of them. Nor do they understand how much work THEY have to do on their own time. They come from a family and school environment that allowed them to do very little effort and get good marks, or they learned that it was okay to try and try again, and failure wasn't an option. They get into a university setting and they are failing and they emotionally take a hit from it, or they shrug it off and take the class again.
    The children and teens that are coming up in today's society are only going to get it harder. With parents out there that shelter their children, and give their children everything they want without allowing their kids to learn failure or that you need to work hard to achieve goals won't be able to handle a competitive environment.

    And parents need to stop blaming the problems of their children on the school. Ultimately it is the parent's responsibility to teach their child since a child will look up to their parents and family before they will an instructor. Teachers work hard to help the next generation succeed and to come out ahead, and in many cases they fight against the parents, not the children.

  • Craig - 8 years ago

    I am simply appalled at the fact that a teacher is "doing his job" and being suspended because of it. Students should receive a zero on any assignment not turned in. Even late they should be docked marks for each day it is received late.

    Hell when I was in school if it wasn't in on time, some teachers didn't accept it period and you would get a zero.

    Boo Ross Shep is right. This is disgusting. Pull your head out of your ass school board. It's no wonder the kids of today have a sense of entitlement when you baby them.


  • Andrea - 8 years ago

    It's amazing to me how we keep failing to prepare students for the real world. If this was an elementary child I could understand that they need to finish the work. By the time you're in high school you know what a deadline is. Perhaps we should ask Ross Shep if it would be ok for their teachers to not complete report cards on time- perhaps give them the summer to complete them?As if!! Teach them a lesson now- a deadline is a deadline!There is always summer school for those slackers who couldn't be bothered to care. Let's not feed this entitled attitude any more! Shameful! I say this as an educator and as a parent.

  • Jenn - 8 years ago

    If everyone else completes the assignment on time, and hands it in, why should the slackers receive a free-pass? If the assignment is incomplete, and not submitted on time, the result SHOULD be a zero.

    You're not doing the students any favours by babying them and letting them submit late assignments, to be graded. University professors, and future employers won't tolerate that kind of behaviour, and that should be extended to high school as well.

    Boo, Ross Shep.

  • John Winslow - 8 years ago

    How can you be assessed a grade higher than 0 if there is no material to grade. This politically correct method of coddling children doesn't do them any good. In the real world, when you don't produce, you don't get paid. Teach them the reality of life.

    I almost want to go back and sue the Lakehead School Board for making me EARN my grades and advances in high school. What a rip off that I was required to work that hard when kids today get it all for nothing.

  • John - 8 years ago

    They shouldn't get a zero. They should be made to do the assignment and then graded accordingly.

  • Colin - 8 years ago

    What other grade could they possibly receive?

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