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Zeroes as placeholder grades

Sebastian+Ortiz+creating+the+shape+of+a+zero+with+his+arms.
Sebastian Ortiz creating the shape of a zero with his arms.

Sebastian Ortiz creating the shape of a zero with his arms.

Sebastian Ortiz creating the shape of a zero with his arms.

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A student’s grade drops twenty points, and the first thing that pops into each student’s mind is, “Oh no, did I get a bad grade on an assignment? Did I do something wrong?” When he or she finally checks his or her grades and realizes that it was a zero put into the grade book, it can be a little irritating and misleading for a student when he or she either knows they turned the assignment in or were simply absent from class the day before.

While most zeros are soon changed by teachers to the proper grade once the student makes up the assignment, it can still poorly affect the student. Some students may need a specific grade for progress reports in order to be allowed to compete in sports or UIL competitions. Other students need to maintain a grade that their parents approve of in order to not get in trouble, so having a zero in as a grade can poorly affect them which can be unfair when that is not their accurate grade. Because of this, a student at Westside High School, Ruby Lanman, stated that she also believes zeros as placeholder grades are “very misleading, confusing, and unfair for students.”

Although having a zero in as a grade for an assignment can be irritating for a student, it can also be a vexatious issue for teachers to have to deal with. As stated by a teacher at Westside High School, Kristy DeGroodt, zeros as placeholder grades cause “confusion among the student and the teacher,” especially since, “A zero is such a damaging number when you’re trying to calculate something.” Mrs. DeGroodt, and many other teachers, also believe that having to put zeros in for “missing” work is unfair and “can cause fear, anxiety, and panic for students” which “can be very psychologically damaging.”

Overall, teachers having to put zeros in as placeholder grades does not affect the students nor the teachers in a positive manner. Students are left with grades that do not properly reflect how they are actually performing in a class, and teachers are also forced to put inaccurate grades in the system that must then be changed later. Although having zeros as placeholder grades does not seem to be that beneficial for students nor teachers, maybe one day there will be an alternative to doing this. For now, sadly, students are unwillingly stuck having to deal with zeros popping up in the grade book every now and then.

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About the Writer
Gabriela Smith, Writer

Gabriela Smith is a senior at Westside High School who is now commencing in her first year on the Howler News staff. She is vice president of Beyond the Cover and a four-year member of Student Council. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and watching both movies and television shows.

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Zeroes as placeholder grades