Doug Reeves on Toxic Grading Practices

Dr. Reeves entertains while he enlightens. Classroom assessment is his main topic, and that includes sound grading practices. Here’s an excerpt from a conference earlier this year in Ontario.

Next, read page 20-21 (The Case Against the Zero by Doug Reeves) in Reeves on Zero, Etc. .  (Scroll waaaay down to the title.)

Oh, don’t forget to peruse pages 16-19 on grading in general!

4 thoughts on “Doug Reeves on Toxic Grading Practices

  1. Thanks Hugh for posting this video. I’ve also posted this on my blog and also found his website ( which I’ve bookmarked.

    You’re welcome! And thank you for the reminder about Reeves’s web site. I just listed him in my Resource links along with Ken O’Connor and Rick Stiggins. (I only list folks I have actually met and heard in seminars/workshops.) –Hugh

  2. This is actually pretty ironic… I have been looking for your blog (which I stumpled onto a year ago and then lost track of). The funny part is that I saw the Reeves video on Ms_Teacher’s blog… but, didn’t realize that she saw it here first.


    Thanks for the good word on commenting on my blog. I have really been swept up by “Grading for Learning” and I have never been so excited about the beginning of a school year before. Our school is embracing this idea of holding students accountable for all of the work and providing great support from beginning to end.

    I’ve added you to my RSS reader now. I won’t lose your blog again. 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by, David.

    Tomorrow I will share your school’s strategy for supporting homework with my supe.

    Last Wednesday morning I observed a training session on “broken grades” for new teachers in our district. All of our 120 new teachers received a copy of Ken’s A Repair Kit for Grading: 15 Fixes for Broken Grades. We’re putting the concepts out there as recommendations for serious consideration and conversation. New teacher training will include the grading component from this point on. We are definitely getting there!

    Looking forward to reading more of your stuff. –Hugh

  3. Hugh: I conduct a session after school, sporadiacally, and call it Harris Hall. I got this from my cooperating teacher while I was student teaching. This is for students who have zeros or low grades. They have to stay the entire time and can only make up two grades per session.

    It never dawned on me that I should assign Harris Hall! I was looking into ways to improve attendance because last year I had several students that would wait until the last minute to get those low grades up. Towards the end of the nine weeks I would have nearly 20-30 students wanting to make up work and I was pulled in too many directions at once. I may seriously look into assigning Harris Hall for those students that miss assignments to keep them from getting too far behind! Thanks for that post!!!

    You’re welcome, BrownSugar!

    I’ll be talking about what you are doing at the ETS/ATI Conference on Sound Grading Practices in December. My topic is how (and why) to proceed with standards-based grading when neither your team, nor the building, nor the district is on board yet.

    Ideally, your principal would conduct a “Harris Hall” a couple of times a week to support students. For some ideas, check Dave Fordee’s blog 40. He also commented above.

    Have a great year! I’d love to hear how it goes and what you accomplish with Harris Hall 2.0. 🙂 –Hugh

  4. Jennifer Dillard shares with us a comment to Dr. Douglas Reeves about his article and video on toxic grading practices… –Hugh

    Dr. Reeves, I absolutely loved the excerpt of your conference on toxic grading practices. Your stance on the ZERO is so true. I know many teachers that believe that a zero is the way to punish a student for their missing work when really the only consequence for missing work is completing the work.

    We, as teachers, have to stop connecting a punishment to missing work. If we are going to give a consequence for missing work it needs to make to the students motivation increase.

    I have started my masters work toward becoming a principal. Now that I am a student while teaching students I realize so much more the need for equal response in the classroom. Even in my masters work I have been given the option to fix mistakes on assignments to get a better grade, yet in the elementary school where I work, that practice is unheard of and frowned on.

    Dr. Reeves you have given me much food for thought to reformat the way I assess my students’ progress. –Jennifer Dillard

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