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Faculty of Languages and Cultures

UG Marking Guidelines

Coursework (including ISPs)

The guidelines below reflect the standards of work expected at undergraduate level. All assessed essays are marked by a Teaching Assistant (TA) or a full-time member of staff, and a sample is then moderated by another member of staff. Any essay may be made available to the external examiner(s). Please feel free to discuss your essay and how your grade was arrived at with the appropriate member of staff.

80+ (First Class)
A mark of 80+ will fulfil the following criteria:
  • shows clear evidence of wide and relevant reading and an engagement with the conceptual issues;
  • develops a sophisticated and intelligent argument;
  • shows a rigorous use and a confident understanding of relevant source materials;
  • achieves an appropriate balance between factual detail and key theoretical issues;
  • provides evidence of original thinking.
70-79 (First Class)
A mark in the range 70-79 will fulfil the following criteria:
  • engages closely with the question;
  • shows some evidence of wide and relevant reading and an engagement with the conceptual issues;
  • shows some sophistication of argument;
  • shows an intelligent use and a good understanding of relevant source materials.
60-69 (Upper Second Class – II(i))
A mark in the range 60-69 will fulfil the following criteria:
offers critical insights and shows evidence of critical thinking;
  • shows a good understanding of the major factual and/or theoretical issues, and addresses the relevant literature on the topic;
  • develops a focused and clear argument and articulates a sustained train of logical thought;
  • gives a clear exposition of models/diagrams, with derivation, where appropriate;
  • shows clear evidence of planning in the formulation of the written answer and includes a judicious choice of sources and methodology.
50-59 (Lower Second Class – II(ii))
A mark in the range 50-59 will fulfil the following criteria:
  • shows some understanding of relevant major theoretical and/or factual issues;
  • shows evidence of planning in the formulation of the written answer, makes selective use of appropriate sources, and demonstrates some knowledge of the literature;
  • shows, at various points if not throughout the entire text, examples of a clear train of thought or argument;
  • presents basic models / diagrams, where appropriate;
  • provides an appropriate conclusion to the textual argument(s).
40-49 (Third Class)
A mark in the range 40-49 will fulfil the following criteria:
  • shows some awareness and understanding of the factual and/or theoretical issues, but demonstrates limited ability to develop these;
  • provides clear evidence of misunderstandings;
  • shows some, albeit limited, evidence of planning in the formulation of the written answer, but also includes material or arguments which are irrelevant or unrelated to the question;
  • fails to develop a clear or coherent response to the question, but shows occasional knowledge or insight.
20-39 (Fail)
A Fail will be awarded in cases which:
  • fail to answer the question or develop an argument;
  • fail to demonstrate knowledge of the key issues or arguments;
  • contain clear conceptual or factual errors or misunderstandings;
  • are poorly organised and/or poorly written.
0-19 (Fail)
A Fail will be awarded in cases which:
  • fail to answer the question even in part;
  • show no knowledge of the question or topic;
  • contain blatant conceptual or factual errors;
  • are very poorly organised and/or very poorly written.

Unseen written examinations

80+ (First Class)
A mark of 80+ will fulfil the following criteria:
  • shows clear evidence of wide and relevant reading and an engagement with the conceptual issues;
  • develops a sophisticated and intelligent argument;
  • shows a rigorous use and a confident understanding of relevant source materials;
  • achieves an appropriate balance between factual detail and key theoretical issues;
  • provides evidence of original thinking;
  • shows outstanding ability of synthesis under exam pressure.
70-79 (First Class)
A mark in the range 70-79 will fulfil the following criteria:
  • engages closely with the question and its conceptual issues;
  • shows some evidence of independent reading;
  • shows some sophistication of argument;
  • shows an intelligent use and a good understanding of relevant source materials;
  • shows significant ability of synthesis under exam pressure.
60-69 (Upper Second Class – II(i))
A mark in the range 60-69 will fulfil the following criteria:
  • offers critical insights and shows evidence of critical thinking;
  • shows a good understanding of the major factual and/or theoretical issues relating to the question;
  • cites some relevant literature on the topic;
  • develops a focused and clear argument and articulates a sustained train of logical thought;
  • gives a clear exposition of models/diagrams, with derivation, where appropriate;
  • shows clear evidence of planning in the formulation of the written answer under exam pressure.
50-59 (Lower Second Class – II(ii))
A mark in the range 50-59 will fulfil the following criteria:
  • shows some understanding of relevant major theoretical and/or factual issues;
  • shows evidence of planning in the formulation of the written answer,
  • makes selective use of appropriate sources, and demonstrates some knowledge of the literature;
  • shows, at various points if not throughout the entire text, examples of a clear train of thought or argument;
  • presents basic models / diagrams, where appropriate;
  • provides an appropriate conclusion to the textual argument(s).
40-49 (Third Class)
A mark in the range 40-49 will fulfil the following criteria:
  • shows some awareness and understanding of the factual and/or theoretical issues, but demonstrates limited ability to develop these;
  • provides clear evidence of misunderstandings;
  • shows some, albeit limited, evidence of planning in the formulation of the written answer, but also includes material or arguments which are irrelevant or unrelated to the question.
  • fails to develop a clear or coherent response to the question, but shows occasional knowledge or insight;
  • produces an incomplete answer.
20-39 (Fail)
A Fail will be awarded in cases which:
  • fail to answer the question or develop an argument;
  • fail to demonstrate knowledge of the key issues or arguments;
  • contain clear conceptual or factual errors or misunderstandings;
  • are poorly organised and/or poorly written.
0-19 (Fail)
A Fail will be awarded in cases which:
  • fail to answer the question even in part;
  • show no knowledge of the question or topic;
  • contain blatant conceptual or factual errors;
  • are very poorly organised and/or very poorly written.