Uni marks all over the place

Discussion in 'education & employment' started by Looby, Jun 27, 2018.

  1. Looby

    Looby Well-Known Member

    I’ve just got my final grade back for second year and I’m feeling really pissed off with myself. I scraped a first last year (which doesn’t count) and apart from one essay which I tanked I got firsts for everything.

    I wasn’t expecting that this year but my marks vary so much I don’t really know where I am or whether I’m on track or not. The lowest is 55 and highest 71. I know some of it is sour grapes because I really wasn’t expecting 2:2s this year and I can do better but a lot of people seem to be in the same position.

    I don’t know if I’ve missed something with certain assignments or if the marking is actually inconsistent. Some of it was really fucking harsh!

    Is this normal and do I need to just suck it up?
    I think this year counts for 30% so I can possibly pull it back but it makes me worry for 3rd year. I need to get a 2:1 in case I want to do a masters.
    Pickman's model likes this.
  2. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Starry Wisdom

    If you are particularly unhappy about a mark ask for it to be sent to the external examiner. In my albeit limited experience they will be happy to do this. I did this for some coursework for my librarianship degree and my mark rose to what I'd expected it would be.
    Lupa, Looby and kalidarkone like this.
  3. kalidarkone

    kalidarkone Bringing YOU round.....

    What are you studying? What Pickmans says. Have you read your feedback? Have you been given written feedback?
    Looby and Pickman's model like this.
  4. Looby

    Looby Well-Known Member

    I’m not sure if I am but I feel like the effort I put in and what I’m capable of isn’t reflected in some of the marks I got so I’m worried that I’m missing something.
  5. Looby

    Looby Well-Known Member

    Social work. Yeah, read all the feedback and some of it makes sense but some seems very harsh.

    I think I’m going to try and see my academic advisor, see what she says and go from there.

    I think I’m pissed off because I hoped for more and I’m very harsh on myself. For me, a 2:2 is a failure. I haven’t worked out my overall mark for the year yet, I’m too annoyed.
  6. Athos

    Athos Well-Known Member

    Upgraded to a 2:2 in your shusssshing module?
    A380 likes this.
  7. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Starry Wisdom

    Look in your course handbook where they may outline what constitutes a first class essay, what a 2.1 and what a 2.2. If you believe afterwards your work merits a higher grade talk to the course tutor and explain why. The difference may be explained by your footnotes, your bibliography and your use of sources. You won't lose anything by taking it up with them and they can outline how you might appeal the mark at your uni.
    Miss-Shelf and Looby like this.
  8. Looby

    Looby Well-Known Member

    Got anything constructive to contribute?
    Pickman's model likes this.
  9. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Starry Wisdom

    No, I had to design a website in xhtml with certain specified working features. My website had all these and my accompanying commentary was strong. The mark went from a 57 pass to a 64 merit.

    E2A there are no 2.2s in taught pg degrees
    Celyn likes this.
  10. Looby

    Looby Well-Known Member

    Will do, thanks.
    Pickman's model likes this.
  11. Athos

    Athos Well-Known Member

    This. If you really think you've been wrongly marked, you'll kick yourself if you're a coupe of marks short of what you want are the end of the course. Nothing to lose.
    Looby likes this.
  12. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Without music, life would be a mistake.

    This. Where students marks are really all over the place it's usually because they're not following the criteria. They may know their stuff but aren't demonstrating it the right way. It really is quite formulaic. Follow the formula.
    Looby and Pickman's model like this.
  13. chilango

    chilango Neither Westminster nor Brussels....

    Over the years my marks have tended to be mostly 1sts with a sprinkling of 2:1s at undergrad, but at the same time I managed z 3rd in one module which automatically disqualified me from the 1st I averaged :mad: and then in pistgrads largely merits and distinctions but again a recent module was only a pass. In my current masters I think there's 20% between my best and worst marks :mad:

    "Little things" like fucking up a reference (should've been APA, accidentally left as MLA or something) or missing a typo seem to really hit my grades.

    It's annoying, but goes with the territory IME.
    Looby and Pickman's model like this.
  14. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    Is 60 a 2:1? Sounds like you might have that, no?

    If not, you'll be very close, so all to play for next year.

    I understand why you're annoyed, but as others have said, find out what was the difference between your 71 and your 55, say, so that you have it clear in your head what you need to do next year to make sure you're comfortably into 2:1 territory at least.
    Looby likes this.
  15. Looby

    Looby Well-Known Member

    Yeah I think overall I’ll be a low to mid 2:1 which is fine but it’s not where I thought I’d be. I’ll lick my wounds and then get on with enjoying my summer.
  16. Looby

    Looby Well-Known Member

    The main different I can find at the moment is the assignments I write the night before seem to get far better marks than the ones I sweat for weeks over.
  17. Supine

    Supine Rough Like Badger

    Nowt wrong with a Desmond but it's a multi year battle to get a 2.1 or more so just keep going.
  18. Looby

    Looby Well-Known Member

    I have to beat Mr Looby’s 2:2 or I’ll have to divorce him if I don’t because I’ve told him I will for years.
    Yu_Gi_Oh and moose like this.
  19. Lupa

    Lupa Well-Known Member

    I'd second this.
    It happened me with a music essay. I worked my socks off and produced an excellent essay which was marked a B.
    I was just not happy and went to ask why it was not an A. As I had been getting As all along.
    It was sent to an external examiner and the grade moved to an A.
    Looby likes this.
  20. Supine

    Supine Rough Like Badger

    Well you certainly seem to have the motivation!
    Looby likes this.
  21. Miss-Shelf

    Miss-Shelf I've looked at life from both sides now

    Pick man's has good advice.
    Also, have a look at discrepancies between comments and the mark. Eg 55 but comments like very good etc. This can sometimes be enough to ask for a re-mark.
    Looby likes this.
  22. mrs quoad

    mrs quoad Well-Known Member

    Not really, tbh. Depends entirely on the dept.

    Do check - some allow appeals, others don’t. If you’ve been marked, (group) moderated, and externaled, then tough tits - your mark is your mark and the best that’ll come out of it is that your marker will be given a quiet word about not (over)emphasising the positives in 2:2s.

    My experience of ug marking is that it’s a mixture of art and science, and that this can lead to incomprehensible variability in students’ marks. There are ways of trying to ensure you hit a specific benchmark, but even then the wrong marker at 3am can lead to a haywire mark. Comments policies don’t necessarily help; eg we’re being pulled towards one- to two-sentence feedback, emphasising positives or one thing to work on.

    Over 3 years, IMO that does not amount to many opportunities to help students address complex problems with their writing (particularly when we’re also trying to teach them a whole new unintuitive way of writing).

    Idk. Case in point. I like creative submissions. I’ll generally look to give credit, and see where the required ground has been covered. I’ve seen instances where colleagues have punished approaches that are not join-the-dots essays. (To the extent where two markers with research backgrounds saw one paper as a high 2:1 or 1st; a third marker saw the same submission as a fail, because it was about the us and not the U.K. We saw this as outstanding evidence of independent research; the colleague saw it as a failure to meet the module’s learning outcomes. In which we’d forgotten to mention the U.K.)

    Another example - you can get a tick in the “90-100%” box in referencing (from me) by smashing referencing and citations, and including page numbers where appropriate. You can fail a submission I’m marking by having 0 references or citations. Contrastingly, I’m aware that some colleagues mostly highlight this box in line with the first four boxes they’ve highlighted, and will never (ever) expect page numbers. So, you know.

    There’s an extent to which looking at marking grids and aiming to hit every single point on the mark you’re aiming for can work. Even then, the wrong marker at 3am after a shitfest of mid-40 papers can go against you.

    Yeah. Idk. There are basics.

    Read a load. An absolute load. Structure your essays sensibly. Start well in advance. Define your terms. Justify your decisions (WHY are you focusing on this, this, and that? What links them, wrt the Q? Why these, and not other things?)

    But even then. Idk. I’m not sure I entirely trust academic marking enough to say that’ll always be enough to guarantee you x mark. I’ve had to explain away discrepancies to students that I’ve found hard to understand.
    Sunset Tree and Looby like this.
  23. Wilf

    Wilf Dances like a Christian

    TBH, if you are in the mid 60s, you are not far off a first. Most places have a scheme whereby if you average 68-70 and then get half of your credits for the year in the 70+ category, you get a first (don't take that as gospel, check your own institution's scheme). They may also have a system where you get it on your final year marks alone if they are better than the 30/70 split you mention.

    With it being Social Work I'm sure some of the things that are assessed vary from the traditional arts/soc science degree. But even so, some of the usual advice applies: as well as looking at learning outcomes and marking criteria, try and get plans and/or drafts in if staff will look at them. If nothing else it gives them a chance to say 'no, don't waste 500 words on that, isn't relevant to the question', but can help in other ways. The other thing is developing your 'voice' i.e. having your own line of argument, often showing some allegiance (or hostility) to a particular theoretical position. For me, when marking, that's often something that distinguishes competent '63 type things' which provide overviews, with firsts that make an argument.
    Looby likes this.
  24. Yu_Gi_Oh

    Yu_Gi_Oh 天天好心情

    You should have an academic services department attached to the library which can look over your papers. I got sick of getting 69 on a lot of my papers so I sent some over to the academic writing people and they gave me some suggestions for improving my introductions. Got firsts in my subsequent papers. They were really helpful and even offered to phone me so we could talk it through. :)
    Looby likes this.
  25. mrs quoad

    mrs quoad Well-Known Member

    I would never give a -9, on principle!
  26. Looby

    Looby Well-Known Member

    I didn’t find academic support particularly helpful when I went last year. Our advisor does great group sessions but when I went to see him after a dreadful essay he seemed dismissive and I was only in there 10 minutes. I think I’m going to book in with my academic advisor or the course lead at the beginning of term because I missed them before they went on leave.
    Yu_Gi_Oh likes this.
  27. Looby

    Looby Well-Known Member

    We get them all the time. My mate got 68 and 69 for almost every essay years 1 and 2. So frustrating!
  28. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    I can understand the thinking behind giving those marks tbh. It signifies a very good 2:1 basically, but lacking the thing they're looking for in a first - depending on the subject, something showing original thinking, perhaps.
    Sunset Tree likes this.
  29. Sunset Tree

    Sunset Tree Well-Known Member

    I got my worst ever grade for a class this year. I was convinced it was a solid if unspectacular essay. Well referenced, the structure made sense, hit all the key points. Got a terrible grade because my analysis was 'superficial', yet with no feedback on what would have made it less superficial.

    I swear my essay was solid and the marking was really harsh. But it had been externally marked and I didn't even bother appealing.
  30. Yu_Gi_Oh

    Yu_Gi_Oh 天天好心情

    Mine was because my tutor didn't like my introductions. Structure and organisation can let you down as much as unoriginal thinking.

    I hope you get some better support this year Looby xx

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