A poster is seen on the wall at Ross Sheppard High School in Edmonton on Friday June 1, 2012 in support of suspended teacher Lynden Dorval.
Credits: PHOTO SUPPLIED
EDMONTON -- The Edmonton public school board will debate a motion to review the controversial "no-zero" grading policy Tuesday and suspended physics teacher Lynden Dorval expects the motion to pass.
The debate comes after Dorval was suspended from his post at Ross Sheppard High School when its grading policy demanded Dorval use comment evaluations like "unable to assess" when students failed to turn in work.
Dorval opted to continue giving students zeroes and was suspended for insubordination.
Dorval believes the widespread debate about the policy that was sparked by his suspension will lead to a critical, administrative review of the "ineffective" policy that he fought and may lose his job over it.
"It's certainly beginning to feel like my gesture of standing up to it was worthwhile. I'd feel better about it if it passes," said Dorval, reached at his home Sunday.
The motion, brought forward by Trustee Michael Janz, recommends the policy review committee review policies related to student assessment to ensure "clarity, consistency, and to ensure that students are held to high standards."
Janz said board trustees have been flooded with e-mails and letters about the "no-zero" policy which gained national media attention after Dorval's suspension. He hopes the decision reflects the board's goal of encouraging student achievement.
"Nobody actually wants to see kids get zeros, we want students to get straight-A's," Janz said.
"Part of the problem though is that grades aren't a motivator for every student so for the students who aren't motivated by grades, how do we make sure they're doing their best work? And that's where we're going to be having a conversation."
Only some schools have instituted a no-zero grading policy. The motion put forward states the board "believes in the importance of consistent practices throughout the District."
There's very little research supporting the policy, Dorval said, and looking at test scores from across the province that have implemented the no-zero policy, the results aren't good.
"Their diploma results are terrible so I think there's some evidence locally to suggest that this doesn't work at all," he said.
Regardless of the board's decision, Dorval said Tuesday's meeting won't have any impact on his suspension. He suspects he'll still be terminated come September.
"It's still up in the air. They can leave me suspended for as long as they want or move it up to termination or I could just get fed up, I guess, and apply for pension," Dorval said. "I doubt very much that the suspension will be overturned, but anything could happen."
Dorval said he was planning on registering to speak at Tuesday's 1 p.m. meeting, which will be held inside the McCauley Chambers at the Centre for Education.