Panther Creek Scandal Causes Questions Over No-Zero Policy


At Panther Creek, a recent cheating scandal has highlighted a controversy that has existed in Wake County for a long time.

The controversy is over the “no-zero policy,” which states that a student can not receive a zero on an assignment because it is late. Is this good for grading, and should behavioral tendencies be factored into a student’s grade or not?

After the cheating scandal rocked Panther Creek High, the students were allowed to take alternate tests because of the policy.

A lot of the controversy about the “no-zero policy” is that some feel that students should be penalized for handing in work late, but others think that a student should be graded only on the amount of curriculum that they know.

The debate over the policy is also at Leesville, and even though we currently do not have a “no-zero policy,” it has been voiced by many that it should be considered.

What it really means by behavioral tendencies is that according to a “no-zero policy,” a student can only be graded on the quality of the work they hand in. It would not matter how late it is handed in, just that it is correct according to the rubric. If a student doesn’t hand in the work on time, they can not be penalized for it, and the teacher is responsible for giving them alternate assignments to show that they understand the curriculum.

An example is if a student were to miss an assignment, and they fail to make it up in the required amount of time, they would be given alternate assignments by the teacher until they complete one. The student would not be docked any points for it being late.

This came up at Panther Creek because even though the students were caught cheating on the exam, they could not be given zeroes for it, as some schools would do. Instead, they took alternate exams, and were only disciplined by the school following school policy.

Jo Ellen Newhouse, Leesville Assistant Principal of Instruction, when asked about the policy via email, did not know much of it at Leesville.

“To my knowledge no department has embraced it, but I am not sure – perhaps some individual PLT’s (teachers) have.”

Leesville’s policy at the moment can be found in the online Student Handbook. Although it varies by department, the policy is typically ten percentage points for each late day. Some departments say that the student can not lose more than 30 percentage points.

As Newhouse mentioned, different teachers have different ways of grading.

Senor Ross, a Spanish teacher at Leesville, thinks that because of his class he has to grade some students on behavior.

“Part of what I hope to do is make it not just about grades, but life skills as well.”

Ross continued: “If you don’t speak any Spanish in my class and don’t show any responsibility and initiative than the student is responsible for their grade.”

He also doesn’t think that he is specifically grading his students on behavior

“They grade themselves; it is helpful for the students to have a realistic impression of the effort they put into class.”

Despite being a controversial topic, Leesville appears as though it will maintain its lack of a No-Zero Policy, for the better.

Or the worse.


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