As I cruise the edublogosphere, including such holy sites as Teacher Magazine’s blog, and the ASCD blog, I feel frustrated when I see the discussions turn to the use of zeros in grading.
Actually, to call TM’s blog and ASCD’s blog “blogs” is probably misleading. They are more like forums where the house “blog” writer throws out a piece of meat and the discussion [dogfight] is on.
Yesterday I tried to participate in the ASCD discussion on zeros, and to save myself a few keystrokes, I referred folks to posts about zeros on this blog, RepairKit. Big mistake. The TypePad filter decided I was a spammer because I included several URLs to direct people here. Well, I can’t argue with that, I guess. It is what it is. I just wonder if the blogmeister actually did look at the post as promised in the kindly explanation that hinted I was probably a traffic seeker and therefore not welcome.
But I digress…
Back to Teachers Who Read: I have concluded that most teachers don’t do much wide reading for professional development outside of what is assigned to them on paid time. Why? I don’t know. There are a million excuses. I just know that most don’t read because they keep pushing the same tired, unsupportable reasons to use zeros to punish kids.
My point is this: I can find nothing, nothing at all, in our professional literature that supports the use of zeros in grading, especially mean averaging. But I do find a lot of writing by authors such as Marzano, Guskey, Wiggins, O’Connor, Stiggins, and a host of others, about what is wrong with using zeros.
There’s no evidence out there in our last thirty-five years of research that use of zeros can be, in the wildest stretch of the imagination, a “best practice.” So if there’s no evidence, why do teachers in overwhelming numbers use a destructive grading practice?
Because they don’t read in their field. They don’t keep up with the best professional development literature. And they cannot be considered “professionals” if they don’t keep up with progress in education. They are so sure they are right, but have no foundation for their convictions. Can you imagine if your doctor, lawyer, or accountant (folks we consider “professionals”) failed to keep up in their respective fields? They’d be inviting a malpractice suit, wouldn’t they?
Bottom line: There is nothing out there, aside from uninformed clucking, to support the use of zeros. I find that ironic, don’t you? Zero support for zeros.
No wonder we teachers need unions.
PS: I cross-posted this, without the URLs, at the ASCD “blog” .