Here is a solution. If a student does not complete an assignment, inform the student “WHY” it is important he/she completes it. Teachers must also realize, the reason of “You must know this for the exam”, actually devalues the importance of students learning “this”. If that is the ONLY reason why a student is completing the assignment, maybe you need to rethink the assignment itself.
Assuming now there is an actual reason why a certain assignment is being completed, we want our students to learn resilience. When a student fails to complete a certain assignment, teachers should be taking this time to teach resilience. Giving them a 0 gets them off the hook, while sitting down with them, talking about the importance of the task and having them complete it allows for the true learning objective to be attained.
Teachers need to make sure students complete all required tasks given to them. I would even go as far as saying that teachers need to make sure these tasks are also completed at an acceptable standard. Not only should the students who not complete the task be required to do it, but also the students who complete the task at a level where understanding is not demonstrated.
Students are going to hate this, and most likely end up saying “Just give me a 0”. If we teach students that if your best is not shown then you will complete it again, we are teaching students to always show their best. Once resilience is taught your students, you will stop needing the number 0 as a grade.