Marking Criteria for Seminar Presentations

Guidance applies to students studying at Level 1, 2 and 4

The criteria below give an indication of how module tutors grade presentations in non-language (‘option’ or ‘content’) modules in the Department of Modern Languages. The criteria are cumulative (a higher grade implies the possession of the skills described at lower grades, as well as the absence of deficiencies described at lower grades). At the same time, the grade profiles are necessarily general and typical: a candidate need not fit all aspects of a profile to fall into that grade band and there may be elements that do not apply to every presentation task set. The lecturer will make clear, in writing, if s/he is using significant additional criteria to judge the presentation (for instance if the ability to take questions from the audience is part of the assessment) or if s/he has particular expectations with respect to the use of visual aids. In the context of these criteria, ‘visual aids’ includes handouts, slides, DVD/video clips, OHP transparencies and Powerpoint slides. Powerpoint, OHP, slide and DVD/video facilities are not available in all teaching rooms, so students cannot expect to be able to use them for all assessed presentations, but can expect to have access to the same facilities as other students on the module. Students will not lose marks for failing to use technical facilities where none are available.

In the context of these criteria, ‘text in the language of study’ means any writing in the language of study that is prescribed or recommended for the module, and includes works of literature, history and cultural history, linguistic examples and film dialogue. All film modules, and parts of modules in which film or other visual media are studied, require students to demonstrate skills in the analysis of images: this is assumed in references to ‘analysis’ below.

Your presentation may include discussion leading from the topic you have presented. This may be prompted by questions from the tutor, or from other students. Alternatively, you may be asked to lead discussion yourself: you can expect to be told in advance if this is the case. The mark awarded for your presentation includes your handling of this discussion, as indicated in the grade bands below.

At all grades basic presentation skills are expected: marks will be deducted for poor audibility, hurried delivery and a lack of ability to address the audience.

High 1st 90+%

Outstanding in all respects. A sophisticated and rigorous analysis, engaging critically with all aspects of the topic, is presented in a lucid and imaginative manner to the audience. Demonstrates original thinking and exceptional ability in analysing text in the language of study. Shows strong evidence of wide-ranging preparatory research and broad background knowledge. Any visual aids are produced to a professional standard and used effectively; oral expression and interaction with the audience show considerable flair. In a group presentation all contributions are of first-class standard; transitions between the contributions are seamless. The handling of follow-up questions corresponds to professional academic standards.

Good 1st 80-89%

Many features of outstanding quality; excellent overall. A rigorous analysis which engages critically with all aspects of the topic. Shows strong evidence of wide-ranging preparatory research and broad background knowledge. Confident ability to analyse text in the language of study in some depth; independent analysis backed up by well chosen examples. Excellent oral expression. Answers to follow-up questions are used to develop lines of argument further and contribute substantially to discussion of the topic at hand. Work which would be judged as excellent or very good at the next highest level of study.

Low first 70-79%

Excellent or very good in most respects: the lecturer need add little or nothing to what has been said. A well-structured, consistently analytical presentation which engages critically with all aspects of the topic. Shows strong evidence of wide-ranging preparatory research and broad background knowledge. The presenter keeps an appropriate balance between analysis and example and is able to reinforce key points without labouring them. Examples in the language of study are analysed independently. Excellent oral expression including an extensive critical vocabulary. In a group presentation all members contribute equally and each contribution builds on the previous one in a clear and logical fashion; though not all members of the group need achieve this intellectual level individually, there is evidence of intellectual leadership from the most gifted student(s). Answers to follow-up questions reveal a good range and depth of knowledge beyond that covered in the presentation and show confidence in discussion of abstract ideas.

2:1 60-69%

Competent discussion of the topic, clearly organized analysis, showing evidence of a good overall knowledge of the topic. The presenter highlights key points appropriately and keeps to the allotted time. Competent analysis of text in the target language. Generally a good standard of expression with a sound critical vocabulary; careful time-keeping. Visual aids are used to orient the audience but not as a script. Able to draw on appropriate knowledge to answer follow-up questions; answers are presented clearly. Work at the higher end of the range engages with most if not all aspects of the topic and draws on preparatory research for some independent analysis. At the lower end of the range, work may keep to a more routine set of ideas, and may not address all aspects of the topic. In group presentations there is evidence that the group has met to discuss the topic and is presenting the results of that discussion, in an order previously agreed.

2:2 50-59%

Satisfactory overall, showing a fair knowledge of the topic, a reasonable standard of expression and a knowledge of basic critical terms. However, the presenter may demonstrate poor time-keeping, use visual aids as a script and seek confirmation from the lecturer rather than presenting his/her ideas to the group as a whole. For the benefit of the rest of the group, the lecturer is obliged to fill in the gaps in what has been said. Work at the top of the range shows more effort and ability to identify key points. Tendency towards narrative/description with little, if any analysis, particularly at the lower end of the range, where work is likely to contain material which is irrelevant. There may be evidence, particularly at the lower end of the range, of an over-reliance on secondary and/or English-language sources. Where examples in the language of study are presented, the analysis is fairly superficial and/or there is some misunderstanding of the original. Some hesitation in answering follow-up questions and/or gives incomplete or partly irrelevant answers, but nevertheless able to offer some appropriate information or views. In group presentations there is little evidence that the group has met to discuss the topic, some members of the group may contribute more than others and the group may have failed to arrange in advance a clear and logical running order for the contributions; nevertheless individual contributions of a higher quality may raise the mark above 59.

3rd 40-49%

Takes a very basic approach to the topic, using broadly appropriate material but lacking focus. The presentation is largely unstructured, and some points are irrelevant to the topic. Knowledge of the topic is limited or very limited, and, particularly at the lower end of the range, there may be evidence of basic misunderstanding or misinterpretation, including misunderstanding of the language of study. The lecturer is obliged to clarify and elaborate on the presentation for the benefit of the rest of the group. The presenter avoids as far as possible presenting material in the language of study. The presenter may read from a script, making little attempt to address his ideas to the group; s/he may express herself poorly or too colloquially. There is no evidence that the candidate possesses a critical vocabulary appropriate to the discipline. The presenter has provided no visual aids, or the visual aids contain serious errors. Brief and sketchy answers to follow-up questions, while offering some basic information/opinions, reveal considerable gaps in knowledge and understanding. In a group presentation, most of the work is done by one or two students and the individual contributions do not add up to a coherent whole; nevertheless individual contributions of a higher quality may raise the mark above 49.

Fail 26-39%

Inadequate, but some limited evidence of relevant knowledge and an attempt to address the topic. The presentation is unstructured and contains basic misunderstandings or misinterpretation. Without subsequent input from the lecturer the student audience will learn nothing of substance. There is no evidence of reading in the language of study and understanding of the language is evidently limited. Poor standard of expression and poor presentation skills Unable to offer relevant information or opinion in answer to follow-up questions. In a group presentation there is no evidence of co-operation, the individual contributions are fragmented and fail to cover the topic, and some members make no contribution; nevertheless individual contributions of a higher quality may raise the mark above 39.

Lowest fail 0-25%

Only the barest attempt, or no attempt to address the topic and explain it to an audience. Fails to demonstrate any appropriate knowledge. Unable to answer follow-up questions.