Marking Scheme

All universities and indeed, courses have different marking schemes so you need to refer to your institution's guidance for their own requirements. What follows is a general marking scheme which you may find useful to assist you in guessing your grade.

1st Class Standard

A 1st Class piece will display most, if not all, of the following characteristics:

  • special signs of excellence such as unusual clarity, excellence of presentation, originality of argument
  • comprehensive knowledge of the subject
  • excellent understanding of issues and debates
  • confidence in the selection and interpretation of materials/authority
  • logical and convincing development of an argument
  • written style appropriate to the level of the work
  • fluent and articulate expression
  • correct use of academic referencing
  • evidence of independent thought and judgment in answering the question

2:1 Standard

A 2:1 piece will display most, if not all, of the following characteristics:

  • a richer and more developed argument than a 2:2, with a clearly stated and well argued conclusion, showing the ability to range over appropriate areas of the subject matter with acuteness of analysis, intelligent challenges to the question set, and an abundance of appropriate authority or evidence intelligently applied
  • thorough knowledge of the subject; few if any minor factual errors
  • good understanding of issues and debates
  • ability to select and interpret appropriate material/authority
  • solid development of an argument
  • a written style appropriate to the level of the work
  • clear expression
  • correct use of academic referencing
  • a balanced and well considered answer to the question

2:2 Standard

A 2:2 piece will display most, if not all, of the following characteristics:

  • a considered argument marshalling some of the advantages and disadvantages, where appropriate, with well selected authority or evidence
  • adequate, although incomplete, knowledge of the subject; some factual errors
  • satisfactory understanding of issues and debates
  • reasonable, although flawed, ability to select and interpret appropriate material/authority
  • some flaws or gaps in the construction of an argument
  • a written style not entirely appropriate for study at the level of work
  • poor or unclear expression
  • incorrect use of academic referencing
  • a partial or incomplete answer to the question

3rd Standard

A piece in this grade band will display most, if not all, of the following characteristics:

  • some signs of use of relevant evidence to tackle the question, even though treatment may be one sided or scant
  • incomplete knowledge of the subject; some factual errors
  • some understanding of issues or debates
  • some difficulty with the selection and interpretation of appropriate material/authority
  • some flaws or gaps in the construction of an argument
  • a written style inappropriate for study at this level
  • expression that is not always clear or consistent
  • incorrect use of academic referencing
  • a partial or incomplete answer to the question

Fail - Usually below 39%

A piece in this grade band will display most, if not all, of the following characteristics:

  • irrelevant content, vagueness, error, general lack of understanding
  • limited knowledge of the subject
  • significant factual errors
  • little understanding or actual misunderstanding of the issues and debates
  • severe difficulty in selecting and interpreting material
  • illogical or incomplete development of argument
  • a written style entirely inappropriate for study at this level
  • confused, muddled or misleading, or incoherent expression
  • incorrect use or absence of academic referencing
  • too short

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