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Marking "Zero" - Is It Necessary?



This is a real story from a student studying in Russia.


The highest score for most of the exams in Russia is 5.


If a student does not answer any question and returns the exam paper blank, with no question answered, would get 2 out of 5.


So this student, in his first days at the University of Moscow, did not know about this system, and was surprised and asked Dr. Theodor Medrev: "is this fair that a student did not answer any question and you give him2 out of 5? Why not give him a zero?"


"Isn't that right way?" Dr Medrev answered: "How can we give a Human Being a zero?"

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


How can we give a zero since he got up in this cold weather, and used public transport and arrived to the exam in time, and tried to solve questions, but unfortunately struggled?

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 enjoyments in life 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 has a brain, and he tried.


Well, this anecdote points us to be empathetic to the students and then weigh their knowledge. Can we all apply this to our daily life?

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