Marking Scheme

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All courses and projects will be marked on the University of Edinburgh’s common postgraduate marking scheme, as laid out in the Code of Practice.

The marking scale is in accordance with the University’s Extended Common Marking Scheme (CMS4), see
www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/student-administration/exams/regulations/common-marking-scheme for full details of CMS4.

*Assessment of the dissertation component: In those programmes where a diploma may be awarded for the taught component only, a failed dissertation may be put aside and the diploma awarded. (MSc Sound Design is such a programme.)

The standard of work required to achieve these grades is as laid out below.

Note that you may be used to a different marking system in your previous institution, especially if this was overseas. Here we expect to use the full range of marks, and marks in the 70% to 100% range are not as common here as in some systems. Standards are checked by the external examination process, and staff are involved in external examining in programmes in other universities, which ensures parity with other UK institutions.

A1 (90+) Excellent

Requirements are as for A2, but with all or almost all aspects of the work being of exemplary standard. Normal expectations will have been substantially exceeded and there will be clear evidence of originality. Work at this level may be considered to be publishable in a scholarly or academic conference, or similar context.

A2 (80-89) Excellent

Requirements are as for A3, with the addition that most aspects of the work will be of exemplary quality, normal expectations of the brief or task having been clearly exceeded. There may be evidence of originality in thought, conception or execution.

A3 (70-79) Excellent

Design work

Requirements are as for a B, with the addition that the design is of excellent quality, in terms of concept, resolution and level of integration. It is well justified and there are no obvious gaps in the presentation, whatever means are used. The approach taken may entail some risk but the work has been successful in terms made clear in its presentation. In the case of team work there may be evidence of team leadership. The work may be excellent in its totality, or there may be some aspect of the work that is exemplary. This aspect should be well communicated and be important in terms of the project brief. Where there is evidence that the student has exceeded the time and effort normally required for the project then this time and effort is evident in the quality of the work.

Written work

The Structure will demonstrate a close, critical engagement with the question and demonstrate a strong grasp of its wider implications. The piece of work will have a clear argument and factual material will be used in an analytical, rather than descriptive way, to further that argument. The Language and Expression will be appropriate to the task and demonstrate a clear understanding of the appropriate scholarly apparatus. It will aid the development of the argument through its fluency and clear evidence of independent thought. A piece of work at this level will have a strong base in a Range of Knowledge that is both broad and deep. It will demonstrate a clear understanding of the complexity of the subject, an ability to argue at both the general and particular level and to evaluate information and make discriminating use of it.

In general, the work will meet the requirements of the assignment brief in a way that is exemplary through its thoroughness and/or it may exceed the expectations of the brief in certain respects. The work may be excellent in its totality, or there may be some aspect of the work that is exemplary. The approach taken and the argument followed may entail some risk but this has been successful in terms made clear in the work. Where the work entails the collection and collation of data, this will be handled with appropriate rigour and be very well integrated into the argumentation. In the case of team work, there may be evidence of team leadership. Where there is evidence that the student has exceeded the time and effort normally required for the task, this will be evident in the quality of the work.

B (60-69) Very Good

Design work

The project meets the requirements of the project brief or challenges them in a way that is creative and well argued. The design is of high quality with good justification for the decisions made. Where a student is given scope for defining the problem tackled, then the problem presents a high degree of challenge appropriate to the level of the course. The presentation is complete, though there may be gaps that could be resolved with minor modification. There is evidence of consistency of application in developing the design from the early stages of the design. Where group work is involved then there is evidence of full engagement in the work of the team. Where the project emphasises the production of a complete design then the work shows an ability to resolve the design at an appropriate level.

Written work

The Structure will demonstrate a serious attempt at critical engagement with the question and demonstrate an appreciation of its wider implications. The piece of work will have a clear argument and will employ relevant factual material. This may be used mainly analytically, although with less critical engagement than A-grade work. The Language and Expression will be accurate and show an understanding of the appropriate scholarly apparatus. It will aid the development of the argument through its clarity and make a serious attempt to develop independent thought. A piece of work at this level will be based on a Range of Knowledge that is extensive, even though it may be uneven. It will demonstrate an understanding of the complexity of the subject, and will show evidence of an ability to argue at both the general and particular level.

In general, the work will meet the requirements of the assignment task and will approach them in a way that is creative and well argued. The level of ambition will be high, both in the student’s approach to work set by a tutor and where a student is given scope for defining the topic. Where the work entails the collection and collation of data, the work will be handled with appropriate rigour and be well integrated into the argumentation. Where group work is involved, there will be evidence of full engagement in the work of the team.

C (50-59) Good; satisfactory for Masters

Design work

The design is good. Where a student is given scope for defining the task then the work falls short of achieving those ambitions in the execution of the design, or, conversely the ambitions of the task are met, but they are relatively modest. The work may be competent but not be completely resolved in its design or presentation. There is evidence that the work could reach the B grade given more time and effort.

Written work

The Structure will demonstrate some understanding of the question set but may show only moderate awareness of its wider implications. The piece of work will have a point of view but the arguments may be stated rather than developed and factual material, although relevant, may be used more descriptively than analytically. The Language and Expression will be sufficiently accurate and relevant to demonstrate a reasonable grasp of the topic but may lack fluency. The scholarly apparatus will be sufficient but may be incomplete or idiosyncratic. The argumentation may be derivative with little evidence of independent thought. The Range of Knowledge will be sound, although there may be some inaccuracies. It will have been assimilated uncritically and there may be a reliance on information and argumentation already presented in the lectures.

In general, the work will meet most of the requirements of the assignment task. Where a student is given scope for defining the topic, it will present an appropriate degree of challenge for the level of the course. Where the work entails the collection and collation of data, this will be handled with appropriate rigour but may not be very well integrated with the argumentation. Where group work is involved, there will be evidence of involvement in the work of the team.

D (40-49) Satisfactory for Diploma but inadequate for Masters

Design work

(i) The work is competent but not good, suggesting that it could not reach the B level without major re-working; or (ii) the work is not sufficiently complete in its design or presentation. In the case of (ii) there is evidence that the work could attain the C level with major re-development.

Written work

The Structure may demonstrate little understanding of the question set and may tend to stray from the topic The argument may be undeveloped and haphazard and the factual material may be used descriptively rather than analytically. The Language and Expression will generally be grammatical but may lack fluency and sophistication. The scholarly apparatus may be deficient. There may be little evidence of an understanding of the complex nature of the inquiry and the answer may show no intentional originality of approach. The Range of Knowledge may be adequate but may contain errors. It will be broadly relevant to the question but may be used in a descriptive and uncritical way.

In general, work will be competent but not good. Where a student is given scope for defining the topic, it will present a degree of challenge appropriate to the level of the course. Where the work entails the collection and collation of data, this will be handled with appropriate rigour, but may be poorly integrated with the argumentation. Where group work is involved, there may be some evidence of involvement in the work of the team.

E (35-39) Marginal Fail

Design work

(i) The work may be insufficiently complete to assess its quality adequately or (ii) the work may be judged to be of poor quality whatever the level of completeness. In the case of (i) it would be expected that the work could be brought up to the D level with more time and effort.

Written work

The Structure may be weak, showing little understanding of the question and no understanding of its wider implications. It may tend towards random presentation of facts and opinions. The Language and Expression may present a significant number of basic errors in spelling and grammar and may have deficiencies in the scholarly apparatus. It may fail to present any evidence of coherent, independent thought. The Range of Knowledge may be inadequate, with major errors, and of doubtful relevance to the question.
In general, the work may be poor in most, if not all areas. It may also, or alternatively, be incomplete.

F (25-34) Clear Fail

Design Work

The work is not of sufficient quality or at a level of completeness that it could be redeemed to a D without re-starting the project.

Written work

The work may be seriously deficient in most, if not all areas. It may also, or alternatively, be incomplete.

G/H (below 25) Bad Fail

The work, of whatever kind, is extremely poor, incomplete or absent. It is deficient in most or all significant respects.