Middle school students in Greenville County, South Carolina will no longer receive a zero grade when they fail to turn in assignment, cheat or plagiarize their work, FOX Carolina reports.
In place of a zero, students will receive a 61, which is still a failing grade.
“Sometimes grades are hooked to behavior and we don’t want that, we want authentic assessment of what the student knows,” says Danna Rohleder, Board Trustee, in defense of the policy.
The Greenville County School Board believes that a zero is “too destructive” and that this new policy will allow students a fair chance to bounce back from a low grade.
Some parents do not share the beliefs of the school board.
“The child doesn’t deserve a 60,” Greenville Co. parent Laurie Knapp told FOX Carolina. “They need to be prompted to get their grades up, and like I said be held accountable.”
The school board maintains that being held accountable does not have to involve receiving a zero grade, claiming that studies show students are more motivated in school when not faced with the possibility of receiving a zero.
“The idea that we’re not putting zeroes in the grade book or not putting grades below 61 has been really a positive thing for children,” says Principal Karen Knapp of Sevier Middle School, which is already implementing the policy.
The board clarifies that student who do plagiarize or cheat will be met with disciplinary action, but that action will not involve receiving a zero.
“61 saves them,” said Rohleder. “It doesn’t fail them, it saves them.”