As we move forward in the new century working to provide a 21st Century education for our students, its critical for educators to review and update our policies that hinder progress. Or simply make sense. One common practice found in school rules is the make up work policy when students are absent. Generally students have 3 days to turn in an absence excuse in order to gain permission to make up missed work/assignments. Policies state students are required to turn in a parent note or a professional excuse to excuse the absence within three days. If this policy is not followed, students will receive a zero grade for any assessments missed. The bottom line-students can receive a grade (zero) which in essence assesses nothing!
Administrators and teachers are both held accountable for student achievement in the state of Georgia. The new Georgia Teacher (TKES) and Leader (LKES) evaluation instruments require student achievement (50 and 70 percent respectively) be used as part of the overall evaluation score/rating. Student growth is calculated to determine this part of the score/rating. With this in mind, how does this policy or practice help school personnel know what a student knows or is able to do in reference to the standards the students are expected to learn? Assigning a zero grade for an assessment and/or work the student did not participate is definitely archaic at best. In my opinion, students should always be expected to complete all assignments and be assessed to determine if they mastered the standard/s. When students are absent, they should be expected to complete the work or take an equivalent assessment at a later date. Sometimes educators can be our own worst enemy!