Marking Criteria

This information is intended to provide you with clear goals in your written work and warnings of what you should avoid.

Criteria for marking essays

Upper First Class (80%+)

Exceptional quality, penetrating analysis using explicit methodologies, knowledge based on independent reading and high-level synthesis, creative and original thinking, independent use and evaluation of evidence, cogent and original criticism of others, cogent and original argumentation, excellent structure; every paragraph counts, English style shows flair, personality and eloquence, no significant flaws in presentation, footnotes and bibliography of a highly professional standard.

First Class (70%+)

Comprehensive and effective answer to the question, analytical, aware of methodology, conceptually sound, wide-ranging knowledge and understanding, flair and originality of thought, excellent use and evaluation of evidence, extensive and well digested reading, effective criticism of other arguments, cogent relevant argument, well organised structure, clear writing and accurate English style, professional presentation, footnotes and bibliography of a professional, scholarly standard.

Upper Second Class (60-69%)

Thorough answer covering all or most aspects of the question, good knowledge and understanding; some errors of emphasis but not of fact, good use of evidence, wide reading, generally well digested, critical awareness of different viewpoints, sound argument with evidence of analysis and reasoning, satisfactory structure, generally clear writing and acceptable style, good presentation, footnotes and bibliography of a good standard.

Lower Second Class (50-59%)

Adequate answer to the question, covers main aspects, adequate knowledge and understanding; errors balanced by sound work, some use of evidence, fair amount of reading, some awareness of different viewpoints, adequate and generally relevant argument, generally coherent structure, adequate English style, moderate presentation, typical weaknesses: over-reliant on one or two authorities; some irrelevance; some incoherence; more description than analysis, footnotes and bibliography of an adequate standard.

Third Class (40-49%)

Failure to address important aspects of the question, limited knowledge with serious errors and/or omissions, descriptive not analytical, little use of evidence, limited reading; heavy reliance on lecture notes, weak structure and argument, irrelevance, poor style and presentation, footnotes and bibliography of an inadequate standard.

Fail (39%-)

Failure to understand question, major errors, little knowledge or reading, incoherence, extensive irrelevance, footnotes and bibliography missing or of a grossly inadequate standard.

Criteria for marking oral presentations

Upper First Class (80%+)

The presentation will demonstrate some, though not necessarily all, of the following:
An individual and particularly effective approach to the material or topic, an intellectually stimulating experience for the other students in the seminar which provokes lively discussion, particular subtlety of argument or interpretation of primary sources, exceptional presentation skills, including good use of a clear and informative handout, very effective communication of the subject matter and argument to the student audience.

First Class (70%+)

The presentation has all or most of these features:
It conveys the content of the topic set effectively and accurately, referring to a good range of primary and (where appropriate) secondary sources, highlighting key issues and special difficulties raised by the evidence; it forms an incisive and coherent argument, framed by a concise introduction and conclusion; the points are clearly set out and communicated well, with good pacing; the presentation is wholly audible and easy to follow; the handout is well-prepared and supports the presentation; any other visual aids used (e.g. white-board/OHP) are used effectively; there is good eye-contact with the audience (students as well as teacher) and the presentation is given in a natural, interesting way and not just read out as a text; There is direct, thoughtful, and informed response to questions following the presentation.

Upper Second Class (60-69%)

A presentation which sets out most of the relevant points and issues, makes reference to most of the appropriate sources and the difficulties they raise. It forms a reasonably coherent argument, with an introduction and conclusion. The points are mostly clear and well-communicated, and the presentation is audible and quite well paced. The handout is a useful support for the presentation. There is a reasonable level of eye-contact with audience; the presentation is given in a fairly natural way. The response to questions after the presentation is generally direct and informed.

Lower Second Class (50-59%)

A presentation which sets out some of the relevant points and issues and refers to some of the sources and difficulties raised. There is some coherence in the argument and structure of points made; the overall drift is clear. Some points are clearly made; the presentation is audible. The handout contains some material relevant to the presentation. There is some attempt to maintain eye-contact with audience, to present the presentation naturally and to respond directly to questions.

Third Class (40-49%)

The presentation has some positive features but at least some of these weaknesses:
It makes only a few of the relevant points, and refers to a small number of the relevant sources and the difficulties they raise. The argument of the presentation is not very coherent; the main drift is not clear. The points are not clearly set out, the presentation is not very audible. The handout is not adequate to support the presentation. There is little attempt at eye-contact with audience or at natural presentation; the response to question is vague or limited.

Fail (39%-)

The presentation has some of the following weaknesses:
It brings out hardly any of the relevant points and issues and refers to hardly any relevant sources or the difficulties they raise. The argument of the presentation is vague or confused. The points made are not clear or clearly linked. The presentation is inaudible and hard to follow. There is no handout. There are no other visual aids. There is little or no eye-contact or other signs of attempt to communicate the topic to the audience. There is no significant attempt to answer questions.