Zeros can demotivate good students

Zeros can demotivate good students

A very interesting story I came across on Facebook. Sources are unknown. It beautifully explains how students can be motivated and demotivated.

In Russia you cannot give a zero to a student even if he did not answer any question keeping in mind he is a good student. He needs to be rewarded for his hard work and the effort of appearing for the test.

The story

A student studying in Russia narrates that the highest score for most of the exams in Russia is 5. If a student does not answer any question and returns back his exam paper blank, with no question answered, he gets 2 out of 5.

Initially, I did not know about this system and I was surprised and asked Dr. Theodor Medraev: “Is this fair that a student did not answer any question and you give him 2 out of 5? Why not give him a zero? Isn’t that the right way?”

Teacher’s Answer:

“How can we give a Human Being a zero?

How can we give a zero to someone who was getting up at 7 am to attend all the lectures?

How can we give him a zero since he got up in this cold weather, and used public transport and reached to do the exam in time, and tried to solve the questions?

How can we give him a zero for the nights he used to study and spent his money on pens and notebooks and bought a computer for studying?

How can we give him a zero when he left all other lifestyles and pursued his studies?

Here, my son, we do not give a zero to a student just because he did not know the answer. We at least try to respect the fact that this is a Human Being, and he is having a brain, and he tried.
Because this result which we give, is not just for the questions in the exam paper, it is also about showing appreciation and respect to the fact that this is a Human Being and deserves to have a score.”

Truly I cried and did not know how to respond.
There I knew my value as a Human Being.

Zeros can actually decrease motivation in students, and can quickly destroy them and make them stop caring about their studies altogether.
Once a zero score has been put in the grade book, they need no longer care about that subject and they may assume that there’s nothing they can do about it.


Many students become disheartened and loose all hope once they get a zero especially in a higher class. Some make it an ego problem and a lot of negativity take over their personality.
I personally feel counselors are extremely crucial in today’s competitive world of education.

If a student is continuously failing tests and/or is absent from class or mentally absent in class, the teacher must make it a point to take his case to the school/college counselor to find out what the problem is. What do you think as a student/parent/teacher? Do you support or negate these views? Please share your opinion.