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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

50 is the new 0

Is 50 is the new 0?, writes Kate Stoltzfus on Education Week Teacher. Schools in Maryland and Virginia are implementing “no zero” policies to make it harder for students to fail, reports the Washington Post. Often, the minimum grade is 50.

In Fairfax County (Virginia) Public Schools, “students will be allowed to turn in work late and they’ll be allowed to retake tests if their first score is less than 80 percent,” reported WTOP last year.


In addition, a  “no zero” policy will boost the grades of students who make “reasonable attempts to complete work.”

“Some middle schools in South Carolina implemented a no-zero policy even when students cheat, reports Daily Caller.

Making 50 the minimum grade lowers the drop-out rate  and keeps struggling students from giving up, argue advocates. Students are evaluated on learning, rather than behavior.

However, some teachers hate the idea. Say “no” to no-zero grading, argued teacher Gina Caneva in Catalyst Chicago.

When her high school made 50 the minimum grade, attendance at tutoring sessions plummeted. The F students had become D students. “Since few students were truly failing, hardly anyone thought they needed to work hard to improve,” wrote Caneva. The school’s rating rose because more students were on track for graduation, but students’ test scores remained low.

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