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Reducing Zeros


I developed a strategy to reduce the number of zeros in my gradebook from students choosing not to do assignments. Every three weeks, I print progress reports for students to take home to parents to sign for extra credit. If the student has turned in all assignments for those three weeks, that student receives a coupon entitling him/her to drop a low homework grade or to skip a homework assignment. Students are still responsible for any material that may appear on a test. Coupons are only good during the quarter in which they are earned. Tests or other major assignments do not qualify, and I have the prerogative of labeling any assignment as exempt from coupons. This freebie allows students to forget to do an assignment or bring the assignment with them to class and allows the class to move forward with self-grading or continued teaching. I no longer have to wait on late work before giving other students immediate feedback on their work. With this system, students are rewarded for keeping up with their work, and zeros are rare. Students often marvel that I take the time to attach coupons to their progress reports. The strategy has helped so much with making students responsible for their learning.

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