By AZIZI AHMAD
IN Malaysia, no one gets zero in their assessment. Educators should not be too rigid in giving marks to candidates.
Once a candidate attended the assessment centre, they write their name and myKad number then marks should be given. But what if, the candidate didn’t turn up during the stated date?
This kind of grading policy is quite controversial grading policy and is rising in popularity across the country.
Believe it or not, educators at times are warned to set the lowest possible grade for any assignment or test at 50 per cent, even when students turn in no work at all.
Many educational institutions have adopted similar approaches in recent years, meaning, all students have the chance to succeed.
The grading policy is scores in favour of assessments focused on students’ skills, competencies, and work samples.
Most teachers prefer ‘grades’ that reflect actual learning. Grades are an indicator of a complete task though some would say that it is an actual proficiency of content standards.
‘Pity the students’ are a common statement by some educators but we must realize that it allows students to do minimal work and still pass, and doesn’t teach students the real-life consequences of not meeting their responsibilities.
We are actually allowing some numbers of incompetent candidates to fill-up job markets slacking survival abilities.
There’s no doubt that grading systems may be tough and educators are pitiless, but it’s the candidates who choose not to perform.
Many educators would give students their second chance but students must work for it.
It will depend on the type of educator who either favour or not.
Some educators who know and understand their students (like learning disabilities, linguistic ability or working a job to support their families) understand the impact of students’ abilities to succeed academically.
If a student misses a major assignment or assessment due to a home-life situation and receives a zero, that’s much more difficult to come back from academically than a 50.
Some educators assume that giving very low grades or maybe zeros, in some cases well inform students that they need to work harder.
Instead of working harder, the vast majority of students who get an F tend to withdraw, try less, and come to school less because they’re taking an F for what it actually stands for failure.
In years of history of grading spanning, grades increase anxiety and decrease the interest in learning for students who struggle.
While teachers who spoke in prefer of zeros diagnosed that the grade can dampen enthusiasm for learning, they advised that no-zero methods had a comparable impact with plausible long-term consequences for students.
A no-zero grading standard lets in college students who haven’t mastered the content to slip by, and then pass on to more and more harder subjects, the next grade level, or even to university totally unprepared, putting college students in a hole they would possibly by no means climb out of. We should not boost a candidate’s grade when they clearly don’t know the subject and lack determination.
“If they aren’t geared up for the next grade, let them fail. It isn’t a punishment. On the contrary. It is a help. It is making sure a baby will be profitable by way of not simply passing them alongside earlier than they are ready.”
In working life, “If your boss gives you a deadline and you miss it, what happens?” At some point, our job as educators has to be to prepare them for the real world.”
Giving students productive feedback requires nuance as children are different.
In most cases, some educators in schools with a no-zero policy give a slightly higher grade to students who put in the effort.
Teachers with more flexibility say they give slightly lower scores to students who don’t try at all.
Others put students’ original scores on their papers, but mark 50 per cent in their grade book so students and their caregivers know the grade that reflects their actual understanding.
Educators can also give remarks that allow communication to students and parents so as to distinguish where the student needs improvement.
Examples are “NM stands for non-mastery. AB for absent. NHI for not handed in regarding homework assignments. DNA stands did not attempt.”
Grading is more about the feedback provided and expectations set by the teacher to contextualize the grade.
Consider this when your students handed their dateline assignment. If they hand you a lousy assignment, do you give them ‘F’ and write down ‘do better next time’.
Or do you write, ‘come to my room when you are free and you can re-do your assignment’?
AZIZI Ahmad merupakan seorang pendidik kanan di Institut Perguruan Guru Kampus Bahasa Antarabangsa (IPGKBA), Kuala Lumpur. Beliau yang berkelulusan Sarjana Muda Sains (Brunel University, United Kingdom) dan Sarjana Pendidikan (UTM, Skudai) mempunyai pengalaman kerja selama lebih 30 tahun.