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Exams/degree classification

Marking of Assignments

We undertake to return written work to you, with appropriate comments, within three working weeks of the date of submission.

It is important that you have a clear understanding how the marking process operates in this unit.

In relation to modules at all levels having more than one lecturer, each lecturer normally marks the question(s) relating to the topics that he/she lectured on. The examination and the overall module mark are agreed with the module co-ordinator before the internal moderator and External Examiner become involved with the process. It is the role of the internal moderator to perform a sample check of the marking process. The anonymous marks are decoded only after a final mark has been agreed.

In addition to seeing a “run of the marks” (i.e., marks ranging over all classifications), the External Examiner (see below for a discussion of the role of the External Examiner) is shown all cases where the final mark is “marginal” (for example, marks of 35-39; 49; 59; 69).  Where continuous assessment is part of the final mark, the External Examiner is shown the student’s examination paper and the essay/project work.

The External Examiner’s decisions are final.  No marks can be changed after the Board of Examiners’ meetings in January and June.  All confirmed degree averages and classifications are final.

Marking schemes

The unit uses conceptual equivalent marks for the theoretical element of assessment for modules at Levels 2 and 3.  Each essay / project, assignment or whatever is involved in course assessment, receives a conceptual equivalent mark agreed by the examiners.  Likewise, individual essay questions on examination scripts receive a conceptual equivalence score.  These scores are then weighted appropriately (e.g., 50%; 20%; 10%) and added together to achieve the final mark for the module. 

When marking the quantitative elements of subjects the whole range of marks is applied.  Marks are awarded for method as well as accuracy of computation.  The evaluation of results is marked according to the conceptual equivalent principles.  The final mark for each module is unlikely to be one of the conceptual equivalent scores (but it could be).  It is this mark which is used (along with eleven other module marks) to determine your degree classification.

Conceptual Equivalent Point Scores



Mark %

High/Excellent First

Definite First

Low First

Outstanding answer which shows considerable independence of thought and critical judgement. Shows an excellent grasp of all the issues involved, originality and evidence of wide reading and knowledge beyond course content.




High 2.1

Definite/Solid 2.1

Low/Clear 2.1

Comprehensive awareness of the issues. Well argued answer with evidence of independent thought. A good understanding of course material and evidence of reading and knowledge beyond course content.




High 2.2

Definite/Solid 2.2

Low/Clear 2.2

Answer reasonably argued, showing awareness of the main issues. A satisfactory understanding of course material but little reference to outside reading.




High Third

Definite Third

Low Third

Adequate answer with weak to fair understanding of course material. No outside material presented. Arguments not strong.

Adequate answer but weak in material and understanding of course content. Omissions and inaccuracies.




Marginal Fail

Recognises the aim of the question and has material to answer, but generally inaccurate and limited in understanding of the material.


Weak Fail

Some recognition of the meaning of the question but little understanding. Knowledge vague, skimpy and inaccurate.


Poor Fail

Few points relevant to the question; the bulk of the answer is either irrelevant or a misunderstanding of the material.


Nothing of Merit

Minimal or no material of value to the question asked. No recognition of the question.



Degree Classification

The new degree classification scheme is designed for application throughout the University.  All modules in our unit are single modules (i.e. no modules are weighted).  This means that the final mark is multiplied by 10. From 2004/05 second and third year modules will have further weights of 40% and 60% respectively i.e. 1.6 and 2.4.

The main rule for classification is based on your aggregate score:

Aggregate score Class:


Mark scale used in the University:


First Class


14,400 – 16,799

Second Class, First Division


12,000 – 14,399

Second Class, Second Division


  9,600 – 11,999

Third Class


  Below 9,600


Below 40

The secondary rule for classification is based on a predominance rule whereby candidates can be awarded a degree classification providing they have at least half (usually 6) of their module marks in that class or above and that their aggregate score is within 720 of the above limits i.e. 37, 47, 57 and 67 in the respective classifications. Students enrolled on their courses before 2004/05 will have their degree classifications calculated using both the existing and new systems to ensure that they are not disadvantaged by the change. If the two systems produce a different result then the higher classification will be awarded.