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‘No-zero’ program may negatively impact students E-mail
Thursday, 22 August 2013 10:28

By Susan Maier of Liberal


I read with interest the article “Zero Tolerance for Zeroes” in the Leader & Times’ Tuesday edition.

My husband and I raised three children in the Liberal school district. Our oldest graduated from Emporia State University in 2011, our middle child graduated from Emporia State University in 2012 and our youngest child is a senior at Washburn University.

My concern about this new “no-zero” pilot program is that it will not prepare students for college.

I can assure you that college students are never allowed to retake tests because their score was below a 70 percent. They are not allowed to retake the test as many times as needed until they demonstrate proficiency.

Whatever their test score is the day of the exam is the grade their professor posts. If they fail to turn in assignments, their grade is “zero.” In fact, the only second chance college students receive if they do not turn in assignments or pass the class exams is to enroll in the same class the following semester and pay tuition for that class again.

To save time and money is what motivated my children to do what was expected of them in class the first time.

For those students who pursue interests other than college after high school, I believe this program will also be detrimental to them.

Most employers do not allow you to do a task over and over and over again until you demonstrate proficiency. Time is money for business owners. If you are not proficient at the job they are asking you to do, they will fire you and hire someone who is proficient.

As far as the example of taking out a loan at the bank and not paying it back and the bank pursuing you until you pay back the money, the end result can possibly be either a lawsuit filed against you, repossession of collateral or foreclosure of your home and a bad credit rating.

In other words, very negative consequences.

What I fear this pilot program will produce are negative consequences.

I believe it will instill in individuals character qualities of laziness, procrastination, irresponsibility and complacency. How can it not cultivate an attitude of, “Why study today for the test tomorrow? I can take it as many times as needed in order to pass.”

Where will the time be taken from a teacher’s day to give the make-up or do-over tests? Or will they be required to put in more hours after school to do it?

It seems to me this program lowers expectations and will, in turn, produce low standards.

I believe it is human nature to perform at the level that is expected of us. When the bar is set low, we tend to put forth minimum effort because we know we can get by with it.

But, when the bar is set high, we usually will step up and do what is required in order to be successful.

The overall results of this program will no doubt increase the ‘perception’ of the district’s success by raising test scores, but you’re not preparing the students for the realities of entry into college or the work force.

I would encourage U.S.D. 480 to reconsider implementing this program, as I believe it will negatively impact students for the next phase of their life after high school.

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About The High Plains Daily Leader

The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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