Putting in zeros serves as a powerful reminder

Zeros are temporary, not permanent

Adam Gips

With distance learning, many teachers can’t decide if they should put in zeros for missing assignments. To remind students and prioritize accountability, teachers should put them in.

Distance learning puts students at a disadvantage with informal schedules. During asynchronous periods, teachers expect students to finish work but cannot check student progress because of the virtual environment. Putting zeros in for missing assignments reminds the teachers which students are completing assignments — helping students discipline themselves and responsibility.

While putting in zeros may stress students out, it can serve as a reminder to complete an assignment. If students aren’t aware of missing work, the unit assignments can pile up. Students can prioritize assignments and projects because they can see their impact on their grades. The zeros don’t have to be a stressor; they can refresh students’ memories and account for missing work.

Implementing zeros for missing work can serve as a mode of communication. Many students don’t communicate with their teachers; some teachers reach out through email or Schoology to check in with students, but many students forget or don’t respond. A zero is a powerful tool; it can effectively remind and communicate with a struggling student.

Putting in zeros directly after due dates gives students valuable time. If a teacher waits until the unit is done, the typical leeway for missing work, a student may forget and have a zero permanently. Filling in zeros beforehand is temporary, not something ingrained in a transcript. Students can easily replace a zero once they finish their assignment.

Teachers putting in zeros after the due date checks in with students and accounts for their distance learning progress. It also serves as a reminder and communication tool between students and teachers. Zeros don’t have to stress students; they are provisional. Students can change that zero anytime the assignment is turned in — it is that simple.