Montgomery County high school scraps 'No Zero' policy after FOX 5 report

A Montgomery County school has been forced to scrap a policy that prohibited teachers from giving students zeroes even if they didn’t do any work.

FOX 5 first reported Wednesday on the policy instated this school year at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac. 

RELATED: 'No Zero' policy at Maryland school draws scrutiny

On Thursday, the principal noticed staff and parents that the “well-intentioned” plan was not in line with Montgomery County Public School’s grading policy.

“...the implementation of a “no zero” policy is not in compliance with the MCPS grading and reporting policy which states that teachers may assign zeros if it is determined that a student does no work on a task/assessment or did not attempt to meet the basic requirements of the task/assessment,” reads the letter from Churchill Principal Brandice Heckert.

An MCPS spokesman said the district was not aware Churchill High had created its own policy until FOX 5 inquired about it. We asked if other schools may also have the policy in place, but spokesman Derek Turner said MCPS has not found that to be the case. 

Montgomery County‘s policy is one that’s been adopted in school districts across the country, though not without controversy. It says that if a middle or high school student takes a test and gets every answer wrong, the grade is not a zero, it’s a 50 percent. MCPS policy says a zero can be given if a student does no work or doesn’t attempt to meet basic requirements.

In the letter Thursday, Principal Heckert wrote, “Our intention in moving away from giving zeros was grounded in our efforts to ensure that we have a collective understanding of providing all students with multiple opportunities to assess their learning and understanding of concepts.”