(Zero) Motivator or Motivation Killer

As our school posted grades for the third quarter discussion around the water cooler turned to, how do we get students to turn in work?  Our staff seemed to be divided over the use of the zero.  One camp stating that it is a motivator and provides students with accountability to complete their homework.  The opposing view was that it kills motivation for students and often makes them feel overwhelmed in school and then the student just quits all  together.  It is interesting the many different sides of grading and how people react to a simple letter.  Our staff left divided on what to do about the current situation.  One side would like to see standard based grading and removal of the traditional grading system and others felt that the current system worked and that the zero was a necessary evil.  Like learning I think that one size does not fit all but how does a school differentiate their grading system and still maintain their learning targets and objectives?  Not to mention how do you send out grades or assessment to parents with multiple systems?  I found this to be a very interesting subject that I can not really see any true solution.  So I post it here in hopes one of you would have some great insight or thoughts on this topic.  Thank you in advance for your input.

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