[DWJ] coming in late

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Wed May 10 15:05:55 EDT 2006


with Bristol University marking system -- for the Department of English
only, for those studying for an Honours Degree, and four years out of date,
but I was having a clearout and found my Department of English
Undergraduate Handbook in a heap.  When this was introduced they *claimed*
that this was being done to bring the Department in line with the standard
throughout the country.  I can't answer for anywhere else, though.

Before I type out the actual figures, it ought to be pointed out that when
this system was inaugurated to replace the Alpha, Beta plus, Beta, Beta
minus and so on previous system, a ruling was clear and all the tutors
accepted it: no mark below 25 nor above 75 would ever be awarded (which led
the then Head of Department, who obDWJ was DWJ's husband John, to wonder
aloud why the blazes they didn't mark from 1-50 and not mess about with 50
marks that were never to be awarded).  This ruling held for about fifteen
years.  By the time I was reading for my degree, immediately after John
stopped being the Head of Department, some of the newer tutors had decided
to ignore that, and marks as high as 90 were awarded by them during the
time I was there -- but only to students who wrote essays quoting those
particular tutors' favoured texts and critics, used lots of buzz-words,
didn't by any chance express disagreement with what the tutor had said in
the tutorials, and in at least one case I read couldn't construct a
sentence in English any more than that particular tutor could (he can't).
This was a considerable handicap to those students who either didn't get on
with those particular tutors, or were not interested in the units they
taught and so didn't take those units as options in the second and third
years: those who took units taught by the more traditional tutors never got
a higher mark than 75, and this made it a great deal more difficult to get
a First, because the degree was awarded on an average of all the marks for
all the essays over the second and third years.  (And for anyone who is
going to say "oh but double-marking would make that impossible!", phooey to
you, you sweet naif, during the three years I was there nobody ever had a
double-marked essay moved from one class to another by the second marker.
That would have involved arbitration from another university, time, trouble
and bovver.  It might have happened if the first mark hadn't been written
on the essay before the second-marker saw it... but it was.)

Anyhow, the handbook says:

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The marking scheme is as follows:

Classes         Marks
1               70 and above
2.i             60-69
2.ii            50-59
3               45-49
Ordinary        40-44
Fail            39 and below

1]  The class of degree will normally be assessed taking into account
three criteria:
   [a] the arithmetical average of all Unit Assessment marks in Year 2
       and Year 3
   [b] a combination of the arithmetical average of all Unit Assessment
       marks in Year 2 and Year 3 and the overall number of Unit
       Assessment marks achieved in the particular class or above it
   [c] the overall number of Unit Assessment marks achieved in the
       particular Class or above it in Year 2 and Year 3.

2] To be considered for the Class indicated, a cnadidate should normally
satisfy one or more of the criteria specified.  (N.B. 1 Unit Assessment
mark is given for a unit carrying 30 Credit Points.)

Classes:

        1
1. [a] average of 70% or above
2. [b] average of 66% and 4 Unit Assessment marks of 1st Class
3. [c] 5 or more Unit Assessment marks of 1st Class

        2.i
1. [a] average of 60% or above
2. [b] average of 56% and 4 Unit Assessment marks of 2.i or above
3. [c] 5 or more Unit Assessment marks of 2.i or above

        2.ii
1. [a] average of 50% or above
2. [b] average of 48% and 4 Unit Assessment marks of 2.ii or above
3. [c] 5 or more Unit Assessment marks of 2.ii or above

        3
1. [a] average of 45% or above
2. [b] average of 43% and 4 Unit Assessment marks of 3rd Class or above
3. [c] 5 or more Unit Assessment marks of 3rd Class or above

        Ordinary
1. [a] average of 40% or above
2. [b] average of 38% and 7 Unit Assessment marks of Ordinary level
       or above

        Fail
1. [a] average of 39% or less and fewer than 7 Unit Assessment marks
       of Ordinary level or above
2. [b] 2 Unit Assessment marks of Fail level.

Candidates are considered for classification in the highest Class into
which they fall, with the exception of the FAIL category which takes
priority over all other criteria.

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So there you have it.

Minnow





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