Do I have the right to see my marked dissertation

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Davman
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Okay heres my story.

I had a good dissertation supervisor from a external University, but I ended up
being ill and I had to go the extenuating circumstances route which resulted in me being given a new supervisor from my own University. She give me next to no feedback and led me to believe that all was going well with my work.

To my surprise I found that she had given me a 47% mark on my dissertation. I sent it to my lecturer and he said he would have given me a 55 and he also described the supervison I recieved as cursory.

My question is this, do I have the right to see my marked dissertation, as well as the right to know who second marked it?

The reason for wanting to know who second marked it is that one of the lecturers was repremanded after giving everyone a low mark in a previous assignment.
Which I think had something to do with my class making a joint complaint against
one of the lecturers friends. This complaint resulted in her friend leaving the Unversity.

This was why I asked for an external supervisor in the first instance. Because I
was worried that I would be shafted because I belonged to the class that got a
lecturer the sack. Now all I want is to find out where I went wrong so that I can
make improvments when I do my MA dissertation, but so far she has
ignored all my emails requesting feedback.
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UWS
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(Original post by Davman)
Okay heres my story.

I had a good dissertation supervisor from a external University, but I ended up
being ill and I had to go the extenuating circumstances route which resulted in me being given a new supervisor from my own University. She give me next to no feedback and led me to believe that all was going well with my work.

To my surprise I found that she had given me a 47% mark on my dissertation. I sent it to my lecturer and he said he would have given me a 55 and he also described the supervison I recieved as cursory.

My question is this, do I have the right to see my marked dissertation, as well as the right to know who second marked it?

The reason for wanting to know who second marked it is that one of the lecturers was repremanded after giving everyone a low mark in a previous assignment.
Which I think had something to do with my class making a joint complaint against
one of the lecturers friends. This complaint resulted in her friend leaving the Unversity.

This was why I asked for an external supervisor in the first instance. Because I
was worried that I would be shafted because I belonged to the class that got a
lecturer the sack. Now all I want is to find out where I went wrong so that I can
make improvments when I do my MA dissertation, but so far she has
ignored all my emails requesting feedback.

I believe every university has their own rules surrounding the level of feedback you're able to receive. You should receive some sort of feedback for your dissertation though. I don't think there is one generic marking scheme for dissertations and a lot of it is down to judgments made by your supervisor and second marker, so even if you did get your dissertation back, it would be hard to tell how it was marked.

Am I right in assuming that you are now on your master's year? It could be too late to appeal anything in case of poor marking at this point if your dissertation was due in the summer. I wouldn't say you have the 'right' to view the dissertation because as i said, it depends on the university. But you should receive some sort of substantial feedback so try speaking to your course officer and tell them pretty much what you told us. If needed speak to your student union if you want to but it depends how important that feedback is to you.
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Klix88
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(Original post by Davman)
Okay heres my story.

I had a good dissertation supervisor from a external University, but I ended up
being ill and I had to go the extenuating circumstances route which resulted in me being given a new supervisor from my own University. She give me next to no feedback and led me to believe that all was going well with my work.

To my surprise I found that she had given me a 47% mark on my dissertation. I sent it to my lecturer and he said he would have given me a 55 and he also described the supervison I recieved as cursory.

My question is this, do I have the right to see my marked dissertation, as well as the right to know who second marked it?

The reason for wanting to know who second marked it is that one of the lecturers was repremanded after giving everyone a low mark in a previous assignment.
Which I think had something to do with my class making a joint complaint against
one of the lecturers friends. This complaint resulted in her friend leaving the Unversity.

This was why I asked for an external supervisor in the first instance. Because I
was worried that I would be shafted because I belonged to the class that got a
lecturer the sack. Now all I want is to find out where I went wrong so that I can
make improvments when I do my MA dissertation, but so far she has
ignored all my emails requesting feedback.
As UWS says, it depends on individual university regs - maybe even individual departments. My undergrad diss was returned with extremely detailed feedback from both first and second markers. My Masters diss was returned with just the percentage and I had to kick up a fuss to get the feedback. In the end, my diss supervisor was my first marker and was happy to send me his feedback outside "the system". Getting the second marker's feedback took a few weeks of negotiating with Admin and my course leader (and when it arrived, it was half a side of A4 and not much use).

I would say that you probably have no "right" as such to know who your second marker was. It probably wouldn't do you any good anyway, as at most unis, perceived bias is not grounds for an academic appeal (although my uni introduced it last year, so check where you are).

As a general observation, whilst significant to you, there's not a huge difference in marking terms between 47% and 55%. I did a postgrad course on uni teaching as a PhD researcher, and the marking exercises were a real eye-opener in terms of how differently the same piece of work can be percieved by different markers. I think it was unfair of your supervisor to quote you a percentage as his opinion - it's absolutely irrelevant in terms of marking procedures. You could send the diss to half a dozen academics and get half a dozen different marks, some lower than 47%, some higher. It means nothing at this point. You basically have a moderated mark - if there had been a big difference of opinon between first and second markers, they would have arrived at 47% through negotiation. I work in a staff office and have known first and second markers arguing between a First and a fail (the final written work was excellent but the underlying research method breached Health & Safety regs to the point where the uni could have been prosecuted). That's an extreme example, but it demonstrates how differently a piece of work can be viewed by different people. I think the 47% vs 55% is a red herring and a distraction. It's not something you could meaningfully pursue by way of an appeal. In any case, an 8% difference is unlikely to have influenced your final Masters grade unless you were really borderline. Assuming that your diss contributed one-third of your final grade, an 8% boost would only add 2.67% to your overall grade. Is it really worth the stress?

If you're intent on taking it further, my best advice would be to approach your Student Union. They will know their way round uni/department regs, they can tell you whether you are entitled to see your detailed feedback and they should be able to help you get it - if that's permitted.
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Estreth
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You need to make a subject access request. Legally all this need involve is asking the university in writing for the information you seek. In practice, since most organizations' compliance is sketchy at best, you should say specifically that you are making a 'subject access request under section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998'.

You won't get your actual dissertation script, because that is subject to an exemption under the Act. But you should get the examiners' comments on the basis of which your mark was arrived at. You might as well ask specifically for the identity of the second examiner but in my (legal) opinion they are not obliged to tell you this.

You need to supply the university with sufficient information for them to identify you when you make the request. If they don't give you the information within 40 calendar days, or tell you you can't have it, you should make a complaint to the Information Commissioner:
https://ico.org.uk/.
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Davman
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I was going to make a formal complaint, however I have decided against this as I want to complete a PGCE at the same University and I'm mindful of lecturers being friends. This is what happened when I joined a class only to find that they had made a joint complaint in their second year which resulted in a forced move of their lecturer. I then found myself in a room full of students who were very unpopular with the teaching staff.

I think the mark I recieved was payback for me being in that class. It meant I recieved a 2.2 when I would have got a 2.1 since TESOL was my best subject and I am sure that given some meaningful supervison I would have produced a decent dissertation in the 64-68% area. The fact that I am 51 years old means a 2.2 wont have the impact on me that it would on someone in their twenties. I now plan on gaining some teaching experience after which I hope a strong MA at a better university will wipe out my 2.2 honors degree.
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