Zeroes on assignments, lost points for tardy work and having only one chance to perform on classroom tests are practices of the past at Nashville public schools, according to district officials.
Instead, the district wants teachers to focus more on students understanding the subject and do away with issuing academic penalties, said Meredith Libbey, a spokeswoman for Metro Nashville Public Schools.
“We want students to master the material. If they get a zero, it’s almost impossible to recover,” she said. “It’s still possible to fail. We still give exams. We still hold students accountable.”
The lowest “F” grade a high school student can now earn is a 50 percent, whereas last year students could potentially score as low as a zero. Behavior will not be factored into classroom grades, but instead be measured on a “College and Career Readiness Rubric” scoring students on a scale from one to four on attendance, presentation, communication, interpersonal effectiveness, quality and commitment and ethics.
Students at all levels will also be given “additional opportunities to show mastery of standards, thus extra credit will not be assigned,” according to the new grading procedures amended last month.
Teachers in kindergarten through fourth grade are also required to give students multiple opportunities to perform on assignments and no longer issue grades of “zero” for missing work or dock points for late assignments.
The practices mirror new grading policies tested out on middle schoolers last year in an effort to focus more on students understanding the subject matter than losing grade points.
The changes were approved by the district’s Executive Leadership Team. The group OK’d the changes in July upon the recommendation of Chief Academic Officer Jay Steele, following a unanimous request by high school principals, according to Libbey.