EPSB’s new assessment policy a ‘tarted up’ version of no-zero approach: Lynden Dorval

WATCH ABOVE: Quinn Ohler tells us about Lynden Dorval’s concerns.

EDMONTON — A former Edmonton Public School Board teacher fired in May 2012 for handing out zeros, is speaking about the district’s new assessment policy.

Lynden Dorval says it still makes it extremely difficult for teachers to hand out zeros to students who don’t complete their work, despite the school board passing a policy in 2013 saying teachers should be the ones to make decisions on assessment.

“This new policy is, in my view, a tarted up version of the no-zero policy. It does not allow teachers to give zeros initially for work not done,” Dorval said after appearing before the school board on Tuesday.

“The teachers have to go through five intervention steps, which — in my opinion — could take up to two months.”

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“They have to give the student multiple chances, then they have to document that. They have to come up with a strategy of getting the work done. They have to try it again. If that doesn’t succeed, they have to call the parent or guardian and come up with another strategy to get the work done. And then finally — after all that fails — only then are they allowed to give a zero.”

READ MORE: Alberta appeal board says EPSB was unfair in suspending and firing Dorval

After he was fired, Dorval was hired by a private school in Edmonton, where the headmaster said he would be free to hand out zeros. He has since retired but hasn’t given up his crusade to make sure the school board eliminates any trace of a no-zero policy. He is hoping school trustees will intervene to change the new standards for evaluation.

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However, the school board says the policy, implemented on August 18, is one that many teachers were doing before it came into effect. And 5,000 teachers were “instrumental” in creating it, according to EPSB director of communications Lisa Austin.

READ MORE: Alberta teachers vote against blanket policies on zeros

“Their professional judgement is the fingerprint all over this regulation,” Austin said. “Many of these steps are steps many and most of our teachers are doing across the district.”

Dorval says that in addition to increasing teachers’ workloads, this policy prevents students from seeing the immediate consequence a zero can have on their mark.

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