madeingermany
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Hi all,
I'm just wondering if it would be worth appealing a recent grade received on an essay.

For some background - I'm on a distance learning MA International Relations course. We have the taught module and a 5,000-word essay due at the end.

There are two assignments during the module - one in week 6 (submitting essay question and bibliography) and one in week 9 (short essay plan).

For this module I completed both assignments, the first of which received positive feedback from one of the three lecturers ("very interesting", "good work", etc.), while the second was not so good from a different lecturer (suggesting I was "re-inventing the wheel").

The final essay received a grade lower than I'd hoped, and was marked by the second lecturer, stating I had not followed "clear guidance".

My appeal would be that there was not clear guidance - that the assignments should have been marked by the same person to maintain consistency, or that the final essay should have been marked by a third party.

This grade does not have a big impact on my final result, it's more a matter of principle. But I just wanted to hear some thoughts on the situation.

Thanks!
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gjd800
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The argument that your assessment be marked by the same person will fail, simply because any qualified person with expertise in the subject matter and access to a mark scheme should in principle be able to mark your work - indeed, this is how universities tend to operate. Similarly, the third party argument will likely fail because you have already dismantled it by asking for the same person to do the grading. Asking that it be one or the other doesn't really make much difference - the mark scheme is the same, it will have been moderated by another member of staff.

Usually you can only appeal on procedural grounds, and it seems from what you have said that procedure has been followed. Maybe speak to a course rep re your options about making the claim that there is no guidance.
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madeingermany
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(Original post by gjd800)
The argument that your assessment be marked by the same person will fail, simply because any qualified person with expertise in the subject matter and access to a mark scheme should in principle be able to mark your work - indeed, this is how universities tend to operate. Similarly, the third party argument will likely fail because you have already dismantled it by asking for the same person to do the grading. Asking that it be one or the other doesn't really make much difference - the mark scheme is the same, it will have been moderated by another member of staff.

Usually you can only appeal on procedural grounds, and it seems from what you have said that procedure has been followed. Maybe speak to a course rep re your options about making the claim that there is no guidance.
Thank you for your reply, and I agree that an appeal is likely to fail on those grounds.

I guess what I was getting at was if the feedback and grade for the essay was based on assignment 2 ("didn't follow clear guidance") then where does assignment 1 fit in?

Surely both sets of 'guidance' should be taken into account if it all, and if not, then a third party marker would be better placed to judge the essay.

Obviously, this is more a rant because the marking process is subjective and the lower grade is not that big a deal
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gjd800
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(Original post by madeingermany)
Thank you for your reply, and I agree that an appeal is likely to fail on those grounds.

I guess what I was getting at was if the feedback and grade for the essay was based on assignment 2 ("didn't follow clear guidance" then where does assignment 1 fit in?

Surely both sets of 'guidance' should be taken into account if it all, and if not, then a third party marker would be better placed to judge the essay.

Obviously, this is more a rant because the marking process is subjective and the lower grade is not that big a deal
Well, an essay plan (A2) is materially different to a question and a bibliography (A1), dealing with the practicalities of structure and content rather than with the relative abstraction of an overall question to be addressed and identification of literature by which to address it.

If your essay plan (A2) received negative feedback and you did not amend it to approach the essay in a different way, then that will impact the grade rather than the groundwork done by giving a question and relevant literature (A1).

Am I misunderstanding you on something? It seems straightforward to me.
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madeingermany
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(Original post by gjd800)
Well, an essay plan (A2) is materially different to a question and a bibliography (A1), dealing with the practicalities of structure and content rather than with the relative abstraction of an overall question to be addressed and identification of literature by which to address it.

If your essay plan (A2) received negative feedback and you did not amend it to approach the essay in a different way, then that will impact the grade rather than the groundwork done by giving a question and relevant literature (A1).

Am I misunderstanding you on something? It seems straightforward to me.
Sorry, to be clear the criticism was on the essay question, which did not change between A1 and A2.

Obviously, criticism on structure/content is fine to deal with and amend the final essay to reflect that.
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gjd800
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(Original post by madeingermany)
Sorry, to be clear the criticism was on the essay question, which did not change between A1 and A2.

Obviously, criticism on structure/content is fine to deal with and amend the final essay to reflect that.
Right, I think I'm starting to follow now - so the poor(er) feedback related the the question itself rather than how you approached it?

As I understand it, Assignment 1 is the submitting of a question and relevant literature, and Assignment 2 is the essay plan, The essay was written and criticised for what? You said that the feedback was based on Assignment 2, but I'm confused as to how.
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