Grading and marking assessment

Marking criteria help to ensure consistency, both between markers and even with the same marker as the criteria provide a clear indication of what assessors should be looking for. It is therefore essential that you stick to the marking criteria when marking each assessment, regardless of your personal opinion of the criteria. It is also helpful for students to be able to access the marking criteria so they know what you are looking for.

Grading assessment: 100-point scale

The University of Sheffield uses the 100-point scale for reporting marks across all subjects. Departments may use the full 100-point scale for the reporting of marks or a sub-set of fixed points.

Departments should mark on the scale they find most appropriate, including the 16-point scale if preferred, provided that (i) the marks are converted to the 100-point scale for reporting purposes using an agreed departmental conversion scale and (ii) there is a clear documentation on the use of marking and conversion scales in departmental student handbooks.

First Degrees

In respect of candidates commencing Level 1 or Level 2 of a programme of study in or after September 2000, the Examiners shall award in respect of each unit a grade expressed as a whole number on the following numerical scale:

70-100 work to a standard appropriate to Class I
60-69 work to a standard appropriate to Class II - Division 1
50-59 work to a standard appropriate to Class II - Division 2
45-49 work to a standard appropriate to Class III
40-44 work of a Pass standard
0-39 work in respect of which a candidate fails Work not submitted, or work submitted but deemed to be of no academic merit, or work submitted in respect of which credit is refused or denied may not normally be awarded a grade.

In respect of other candidates, reference should be made to Regulation 36 of the Regulations for First Degrees in the Calendar for 2005-06.

Taught Postgraduate Degrees

The Examiners will award in respect of each unit or other part of the programme of study a grade expressed as a whole number on the numerical scale set out in "First Degrees" above, provided that a grade of 50 will indicate work of a standard to pass (General Regulation 15 for Higher Degrees by Coursework).

Standardisation and moderation

It is essential that markers across a programme of study are consistent. Below is guidance on how to ensure consistency in assessment and marking.


Sample assessments are used to demonstrate what the criteria look like in practice and markers are required to mark to the standard assessments. This helps to ensure that all markers are using the criteria in the same way across the board.


Markers meet to discuss how they have approached assessments. Approaches include:

  • sampling (where a selection of assessments are looked at by a second assessor to ensure they are consistent. The selection usually includes assessments marked at the top, middle and bottom of the grade range)
  • blind/anonymous marking (where assessors don’t know which student’s work they are marking)
  • double blind marking (where two people mark the same assessment without seeing each other’s comments or grading, then meet to discuss).

Moderation is particularly important when an assignment is judged to be borderline between two grades, especially if the result may cause a student to fail that assessment.

Related links

Approaches to assessment

Principles of feedback

Using digitial technologies for assessment