A zero for English is perfectly feasible, when it’s a composition.
The Raven has been asked to grade compositions by adults taking the TOEFL test which comprise one blank page with no words. The student froze, didn’t know where to start. Limited time and a difficult topic is all it takes to get a zero, so the result may be indicative of poor test-taking skills rather than language ability.
And for all we know, the English composition may have been the last task of fifty in a test that wasn’t broken up into sections.
To be unable to write a composition in your own language is unforgivable. But if the student made any effort at all then they should have got some kind of grade. Presumably these students just didn’t make any effort? Perhaps they sat there waiting for the bell to ring so they could go back o selling heroine on street corners or something?
Or perhaps, again, the composition was the last task of many and they ran out of time. Some slightly more informative reporting would be nice, especially from people who are lamenting others’ inability to communicate.