Edmonton public school board could allow zeros again
Published Saturday, December 8, 2012 10:03AM EST
Last Updated Saturday, December 8, 2012 8:31PM EST
The “Hero of Zero” has left his mark.
Just months after teacher Lynden Dorval was fired from an Edmonton high school for handing out zeros to students who didn't complete their work, the Edmonton Public School Board is proposing making zeros once again part of their official policy.
According to a draft of the new policy, students across the whole school district will be able to receive marks from zero to 100. The policy will go to first reading at a school board meeting Tuesday, and the public will then be invited to offer their input on the plan.
If the policy passes, all schools in the board will be expected to follow the new rules.
Last fall, Dorval made national headlines when he was suspended from his job as a physics teacher at Ross Sheppard High School for defying a policy at his school that forbade teachers from giving students zeros for incomplete assignments.
School principal Ron Bradley explained that the school wanted teachers to instead give students “behavioural codes” -- such as an “NHI” for “not handed in” -- for incomplete work.
Dorval, 61, didn’t agree and argued that zeros better prepared students for the “real world” outside school. He said the zeros were not meant to be final grades; just indicators of the grades the students could receive if they didn’t complete assignments. He said zeros were strong motivators for students to get the work done.
Dorval, who became known as the “Hero of Zero,” was eventually fired from his job. He was later hired by an Edmonton private school, whose headmaster said Dorval would be free to hand out zeros.
The school board stayed silent through the controversy, because decisions on student evaluations were made on a school-by-school basis. The ensuing fuss compelled the board to accelerate a planned review of the policy.
Bradley suddenly announced in October he was stepping down from the job. He said he was taking a newly-created position within the school district.