Why I Stopped Giving Zeros

By Mary Beth Townsend

On finals day, one of my students flew down the hall to tell my assistant principal that he had passed my psychology class with a C. He was a student who really struggled with how to “do school.” Because he had been convinced that he would fail from the beginning, his excitement over passing my class at the end of the school year was palpable. This transformation was due to one simple change to my grading practices: I stopped giving zeros for missing work as part of a larger commitment to adopting equitable grading practices.


As part of a larger focus on equity, leaders in my district have started the process of evaluating grading practices. Two years ago, as part of serving on my high school’s leadership team, we read Joe Feldman’s book Grading for Equity. Last year, with the support of the administration, I took a hard look at my grading practices. That experience transformed my thinking about how and what I grade. 

A Smart Student Work Scanner for Teachers

By Monica Burns for Class Tech Tips

As a classroom teacher, I remember when I figured out how to scan a document with my iPhone. It was a game changer for keeping papers organized and creating digital versions of all the documents I carried around during the school day. The idea of a student work scanner – a tool to help you give quicker feedback to students – can take this timesaving, organizational practice to the next level.

This year on the blog, I’ve shared lots of timesaving tips for teachers. And today, I have an exciting app to share with you. It’s called GRADED+, and this app is now available on iOS and Android. GRADED+ can help you keep track of the handwritten feedback you give students by connecting papers to your digital world.

In today’s blog post, we’ll take a look at everything GRADED+ can do. And you’ll see how it can impact your workflow and formative assessment routines this school year.

Smart Student Work Scanner

When I first connected with the team behind GRADED+, I was excited to see it in action. The idea of streamlining the way you gather and organize formative assessment data certainly grabbed my attention. Their goal is to center the conversation on student work around more frequent, teacher-assigned formative assessments instead of emphasizing standardized testing.

How does GRADED+ work? This app is essentially a smart student work scanner for teachers. Using the camera on your smartphone, the GRADED+ app automatically finds the handwritten grade you put on a student’s work. All you have to do is circle the number grade on the paper, and the app will scan the page and grab the number and the student’s unique Google Classroom email when you snap a photo. The image recognition software built into the GRADED+ app uses machine learning to automatically capture handwritten student names, IDs, and teacher scores. 

Beyond the Bubble

By Stanford History Education Group

Beyond the Bubble unlocks the vast digital archive of the Library of Congress to create History Assessments of Thinking (HATs). Explore over 130 easy-to-use assessments that measure students’ historical thinking rather than recall of facts. There are 10 “flagship” assessments, each marked with a ribbon. Flagship assessments (e.g., The First Thanksgiving) have extended features, including annotated sample student responses and “Going Deeper” videos that provide insights into the assessments and ideas for how to use them. The rest of the assessments are “alternative version” assessments (e.g., Napoleon’s Retreat).