Global politics

Department of Politics and International Relations

Guide to Grading of Assessments

In every course taught by the Department you will be asked to submit written work as part of the assessment of your performance.  In grading these written assessment tasks, which may include essays, discussion papers, examination papers, and in-class tests, the instructor will use the following criteria to determine your grade:

1.             Argument

                Relevance: How well does the essay answer the question asked?

Quality of the Argument: Does the essay provide a logical, consistent and sustained argument?

2.             Critical Analysis

Critical Analysis versus Description: Does the essay provide a critical analysis of the subject matter, or is it merely descriptive?

Competing Perspectives: Does the essay show understanding of competing perspectives?

Level of Analysis: Does the essay weigh competing perspectives logically, rigorously and fairly?

Originality and Creativity: Does the essay show original and creative thought?

2.             Knowledge and Understanding

                Use of sources: Does the essay demonstrate wide reading of appropriate sources?

Accurate Knowledge: Is accurate knowledge of the subject matter demonstrated?

Level of Knowledge: What level of knowledge of the subject does the essay demonstrate – broad or in-depth knowledge?

Understanding of relevant theory: Does the essay show an understanding of relevant theoretical concepts and how they may be applied?

Evidence of Understanding: Does the essay overly paraphrase the works of other authors, or does it show a good attempt to explain ideas and concepts in the writer’s own words.

3.             Evidence/Resources

Relevance of Evidence: Does the essay use relevant supporting evidence? Does it use relevant empirical and theoretical examples?

Argument supported by evidence: Are the conclusions drawn supported by the evidence provided?

                Quality of Evidence: Are the sources academic or scholarly?

4.             Structure and Organisation

Logic and Consistency: Is the argument presented in a structured in a logical and consistent way?

                Clarity of Purpose: Is the purpose of each paragraph or sub-section clear?

Signposting: Are linking sentences and sign-posting used at appropriate points in the essay?

                Introduction and Conclusion: Does the essay use the introduction and conclusion effectively?     

                Word Length: Does the essay keep to the required word length?

5.             Style & Presentation

Grammar and Expression: Does the essay use correct English grammar and expression?

                Clarity of Expression: Is the meaning of the expressions used clearly understood?

                Errors: Are there many typographical errors present?

                Creativity of Expression: Is the essay written creatively or with some flair?

5.             Referencing

Fair use of sources: Are sources used acknowledged? Is there evidence of plagiarism?

                Correct academic referencing: Are referencing styles or systems correctly used?                       

Criterion< 50% Fail51-64% Pass65-74% Credit75-84% Distinction85% + High Distinction
ArgumentDoes not answer the question asked and/or provides an inadequate answer in terms of relevance, logic and consistency.  Some argument presented, but with weaknesses in relation to relevance, logic, consistency, coherence and sustainability. Puts forward a competent argument which clearly answers the question asked – logical, consistent, coherent and sustained throughout the essay.  Some attempt to use relevant theoretical concepts.Strong argument in terms of complexity, logic, consistency and coherence that clearly addresses the question and which makes good use of relevant theoretical concepts.  Argument which is highly complex, logical, consist, and engaging.  Shows a strong development of conceptual/theoretical points.
Critical AnalysisNo real attempt at critical analysis of opposing viewpoints. Highly descriptive.     Analysis at a largely descriptive level.  Does makes some attempts at critical analysis of opposing viewpoints but with deficiencies in terms of logic, rigor and fairness.Good analysis of opposing views – logical, consistent and fair evaluation of opposing arguments.  Attempts to provide some original and creative contribution to debate.  Strong critical analysis, well evaluated in terms of logic, rigor and fairness.  Attempts to get behind the evidence via engagement with underlying assumptions.  Develops an original and creative contribution to debate. Sharp and insightful critical analysis, excellent interrogation of underlying assumptions and contested concepts. Highly original and creative contribution to debate. 
Knowledge & UnderstandingContent based on shallow reading, demonstrates poor understanding of topic, substantial inaccuracies in knowledge.  May paraphrase to an unacceptable level.  Work demonstrating a largely broad and descriptive knowledge of the relevant subject matter but with overall accuracy.  Tendency to over-paraphrase in parts. Highly competent work showing a deep and accurate understanding of relevant theories, concepts.  Makes a good attempt to explain using own words.  Evidence of relatively wide reading.  Also attempts to apply theoretical knowledge.Superior work showing in-depth and highly accurate knowledge of relevant subject matter. Evidence of wide reading and understanding of theoretical concepts and a good attempt to apply this knowledge. Exceptional in-depth knowledge of the relevant subject matter. Provides a clear and complex explanation of theories and concepts using own understanding with a sophisticated attempt to apply this knowledge. Evidence of very wide reading and insightful interpretation of evidence.
Evidence/ ResourcesEvidence used is largely irrelevant, arguments not supported by evidence, use of non-academic sources to an unacceptable level.  Evidence used is relevant to the question asked, on the whole, and provides support for the arguments made, but with some weaknesses.   Some use of relevant examples.  Use of scholarly sources most of the time.Arguments supported by solid range of relevant academic/scholarly sources.  Good use of relevant examples.Use of a wide range of highly relevant academic sources.  Insightful use of relevant examples.  Evidence clearly supports the arguments presented.Use of a very wide range of highly relevant academic sources which clearly support the arguments presented.  Insightful and creative use of relevant examples. 
Structure/ OrganisationInconsistent and illogical essay structure, purpose of large sections is unclear. Poor use of sign-posting making the argument very difficult to follow.  Ineffective use of introduction and conclusion.  May be over or under the required word length.  Essay structure is generally logical and consistent but with some weaknesses with coherence and clarity.  Attempt made to use introduction and conclusion to structure ideas raised but with deficiencies.  May be over or under required word length. Majority of the essay organised with logic and coherence, evidence of linkages/signposting of arguments.  Good use of introduction and conclusion as structuring tools.  Keeps within required word length. Logical, coherent and consistent essay structure throughout, supportive of main arguments presented.  Purpose of paragraphs/subsections clear through good use of signposting.  Developed use of introduction and conclusion to structure argument made. Keeps within required word-length. Highly logical and consistent structure throughout which strongly supports the arguments presented.  Content highly purposeful with excellent use of sign-posting.  Excellent use of introduction and conclusion as structuring tools. Keeps within the required word length.
Style & PresentationSerious problems with grammar and expression making the argument very difficult or impossible to be understood.     Correct English grammar and expression used on the whole.  Meaning of expressions used is generally clear, but with some minor problems.  Low level of spelling and typographical errors.  Correct English Grammar and expression throughout.  Meaning of language used clear.  Rare spelling and typographical errors. Correct use of English grammar and expression.  Language used is clearly understandable, with evidence of creativity and flair.   Correct use of English grammar, clear expression, shows high level of  creativity and flair in the use of language.
ReferencingSignificant levels of incorrect academic referencing and/or plagiarism.Fair use of sources, most of the time.  Correct use of referencing styles in general, but with some small errors.Fair use of sources throughout, referencing styles used correctly with rare errors. Fair use of sources, no evidence of plagiarism, correct use of referencing styles throughout. Fair use of sources with no evidence of plagiarism, correct use of referencing styles throughout. 

Department of Politics and International Relations

Assessment Feedback Guide

Assessment Task:

Name of Student: 

CriterionFailPassCreditDistinctionHigh Distinction
Critical Analysis     
Knowledge & Understanding       
Evidence/ Resources     
Structure/ Organisation     
Style & Presentation       

Additional Comments:


Late Penalty (if any):                                                            Marker:                    

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