HST209 Marking Criteria
This is a guide to the criteria used by staff in assigning a mark to a piece of work. Broadly speaking, work is assessed on four criteria:
- Depth of research
- Quality of argument and analysis
- Range of knowledge
- Organization and presentation
To obtain a particular class of assessment a piece of work does not have to fulfil all the criteria listed for that class — judgements are formed on the basis of the predominant character of the work — but the guidelines help to show what examiners are looking for in their evaluations. Evidence of strength in some areas may compensate for weaknesses in others.
- First Class (70+)
A well argued and perceptive piece of work, showing independence of thought as well as an ability to locate a topic within the historiography in a nuanced manner; well written. Shows the capability to articulate and defend a clear thesis.
Outstanding work in all aspects that is thoroughly independent, original and insightful; suggests significant revisions to our understanding of the topic; writing that has attained the highest professional standards in the discipline.
Exceptional insight, weight and sophistication. Indicates an ability to undertake advanced historical study with imagination and tenacity. Highly accurate work, analytically rigorous.
High level of critical and thought, as well as some originality. Evidence of a capacity to pursue independent lines of enquiry and to conduct perceptive and scholarly research.
Shows a clear awareness of the salient points and an ability to discuss them analytically and incisively as well as with some creativity. Undoubted quality in the use of supporting evidence, but not sustained across the entire range. A mark in this range may reflect excellence in aspects of the assignment, but some technical or stylistic weaknesses.
- Upper Second Class (60-69)
Well argued and clearly focused, based on wide reading; well structured, revealing a clear logic; showing a breadth of knowledge but may lack creativity or incisiveness; weighing up and evaluating evidence, and identifying key issues, and, where relevant, appreciating the extent to which historiography is contested. Well written with few technical errors.
- Lower Second Class (50-59)
A competent delineation of a subject, using some supporting evidence but with a poorly developed argument, or tends towards the assertion of essentially derivative ideas. More descriptive than analytical, without the kind of critical reflection characteristic of answers in higher mark bands. Shows some understanding of strands in historiography where this is relevant. Based on limited reading and documentary work. Provides a reasonably structured account but with some signs of confusion; may contain errors of fact or interpretation. The writing lacks fluency and may be clumsy in places.
A mark in this range reflects a reasonable degree of competence and knowledge but an insufficiently developed argument, with one or more key points/sources/interpretations neglected.
A mark in this range indicates a superficial argument with little analytical awareness,, and little attempt to evaluate the status or significance of information. Reliant on only a small quantity of source material, deployed in an illustrative rather than an analytical manner.
- Third Class (45-49)
A thin piece of work which nevertheless demonstrates some knowledge of relevant material and an ability to marshal it. Inadequately informed; erroneous in matters of fact and interpretation; poorly organised. Poorly written. Careless presentation; absence of references. A mark in this range may denote a failure to address primary sources, and consequent reliance on secondary sources to produce a survey-type account; an absence of serious argument or of any attempt to shape the topic and identify questions and problems; superficiality.
- Pass without Honours (40-44)
Signs of some research but at an elementary level. For the most part confused and poorly expressed. A small element of analysis. Contains significant grammatical and spelling errors.
- Fail (0-39)
Work that displays little or no real understanding of the question. There is no coherent argument. The answer relies on a very limited amount of descriptive material, without any critical reflection of its significance.
Little evidence of independent research; insignificant or no argument. Contains little relevant information, is erroneous in matters of fact and interpretation, and poorly organised. Poorly written with numerous grammatical and spelling errors.
No meaningful response to the question. Contains no relevant information. Some attempt at analysis, but misconceived and/or incoherent, and has a weak structure.
No serious attempt to carry out the task assigned. No attempt at analysis. No structure at all. No understanding or knowledge of the topic. Only partial response.
A mark in this range suggests thoughtfulness, good use of evidence and the ability to develop a cogent and nuanced argument.
A mark in this range indicates proficiency, coherent and defensible arguments and adequate use of evidence but a rather mechanical performance.
Indicates work either not submitted or unworthy of marking.