My uni won't give more than 80% Watch

toronto353
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So as other posters have said, it basically comes down to whether your piece is publishable or not. Now to be publishable, or of a publishable quality, you're really looking for an essay which presents an original argument, i.e. one that has not been presented before. Universities will differ on where the grade boundary comes in between a first and this publishable first (there is an actual boundary at the university I teach at, but it's not as official as say a first or a 2:1). Now this boundary is somewhere between 80 and 85% based on the university. You mention that your lecturers have given feedback such as 'this is a model answer'. Now it may well be the case that it is a model answer to get a first and can't be improved upon with regard to structure etc., but unless you're presenting some original idea that can be published in its own right, e.g. as a journal article, it won't get above 80 or 85% because it just doesn't meet that main criteria of being publishable I'm afraid. That's not to take anything away from your work which I'm sure is very good, but that's just the way it is. To give you some wider context, at the institution I teach at, a mark above 85% in coursework essays is extremely rare and I can only think of one instance where that has occurred (and it was moderated down).
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Whispers
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(Original post by gjd800)
It could well be you were unlucky with the marking, but I think it is more likely that the staff member couldn't be bothered (or maybe they just don't know!). There is always a couple of things that can bump up the mark, even if it is gramnatical/stylistic.

You might be right re first years but it's not something I have ever seen personally. That's not to say it doesn't happen!

In any case, you are doing v well and should not get too hung up on this (I know it is easier said than done, I was the same!).
Thank you so much! I appreciate it. I'm terrible for over-analysing feedback and trying to improve myself, often beating myself up. It doesn't help that this year I've had a module that's been awful and I'm going to do terribly in it, so I'm hoping my other grades bring up my overall mark
(Original post by toronto353)
So as other posters have said, it basically comes down to whether your piece is publishable or not. Now to be publishable, or of a publishable quality, you're really looking for an essay which presents an original argument, i.e. one that has not been presented before. Universities will differ on where the grade boundary comes in between a first and this publishable first (there is an actual boundary at the university I teach at, but it's not as official as say a first or a 2:1). Now this boundary is somewhere between 80 and 85% based on the university. You mention that your lecturers have given feedback such as 'this is a model answer'. Now it may well be the case that it is a model answer to get a first and can't be improved upon with regard to structure etc., but unless you're presenting some original idea that can be published in its own right, e.g. as a journal article, it won't get above 80 or 85% because it just doesn't meet that main criteria of being publishable I'm afraid. That's not to take anything away from your work which I'm sure is very good, but that's just the way it is. To give you some wider context, at the institution I teach at, a mark above 85% in coursework essays is extremely rare and I can only think of one instance where that has occurred (and it was moderated down).
That makes a lot of sense! Thank you for taking the time to explain it to me, I think I get it now. I couldn't figure out why if there was nothing wrong, it would mean 20%+ decrease in a mark, but now it's clear to me. I'm glad I asked because it's been starting to niggle at me now that my grades are coming in.
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toronto353
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(Original post by Whispers)
That makes a lot of sense! Thank you for taking the time to explain it to me, I think I get it now. I couldn't figure out why if there was nothing wrong, it would mean 20%+ decrease in a mark, but now it's clear to me. I'm glad I asked because it's been starting to niggle at me now that my grades are coming in.
I get that as it's so frustrating because you've done something that's been praised and you've been told you can't really improve on it, only to lose marks - it doesn't seem to make sense. However, if you do come up with some original idea, those higher marks can be unlocked and credit will be given. I'll also say that it's equally frustrating for us teachers and lecturers to have so many higher marks which we can only rarely use - we want to give credit where credit's due, but the system is such that it's difficult for us to do so. I often wonder whether the system they use in American Universities of using the full scale up to 100 would be better....
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Paralove
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Is it a genuine percentage though, or more like a mark? At my university (Cambridge) the highest mark you could ever possibly get was an 85 (at least on my course) and the numbers were not a percentage. Sister is at Southampton, similar thing there. UK uni grades are not reflective of percentages per se, as far as I've ever been aware.
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toronto353
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(Original post by Paralove)
Is it a genuine percentage though, or more like a mark? At my university (Cambridge) the highest mark you could ever possibly get was an 85 (at least on my course) and the numbers were not a percentage. Sister is at Southampton, similar thing there. UK uni grades are not reflective of percentages per se, as far as I've ever been aware.
They tend to be reflective of percentages, it's just that the very top marks are essentially locked away and reserved only for pieces which are publishable and contain original content. Because that's so rare for undergraduates, it means that the top mark really is either 80 or 85% depending on the university.
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It is not, in any sense, 'fair enough' that professors won't give more than 80%. That is ridiculous. Of course it only happens in the non-scientific disciplines where examiners can abuse the subjective nature of the subject. If someone gets 80 by performing 'X' better than someone who gets 70, then anyone who performs X better than the 80 student should get 90. And if you're gonna give someone 80, you better have a very clear reason why they lost an entire 20% from the full credit. NOT tell them 'oh it's great, you should be grateful' and have no suggestions how to improve when you just docked them a fifth of the marks.
(Original post by Notoriety)
100% reserved for God, 90% for His angels, 80% for professors and 70% for students.

I think this is a vanity thread designed to tell us you're on 80s. If you genuinely want to know how to do better, ask to meet up and discuss it with the leading academics at your uni. Ask to get involved with your academics' research projects as well, so you get some higher-level insight.
For degrees like maths, 90%-100% are completely realistic, so I assume you're only talking about humanities and such (or just joking).
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DrSocSciences
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Humanities, Masters Long Study, 83%. I was told to publish.
Last edited by DrSocSciences; 2 weeks ago
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ageshallnot
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I know of an 88% in a social science MSc dissertation at Birmingham, so it's not a universal policy.
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nicnivina2818
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1st year is so that student stay in and the uni get money in future years and you don't quit if you don't get school/ college like grades so you get marks ranging from 10% to 99% no one gets 100% as it is ultra rare and less than 5% this means you are not right for uni so you drop out and their qualification standards is great, in the 2nd yr the qualification governing body e.g. imeche for mech eng checks your work and asks for a long letter reason and the lecturer or module leader and course leader and internal examiner and student academic adviser and the exam committee has to talk to so many people about why it is below 30% or above 80% so you get grades like this which don't raise the alarm and people don't pester the lecturer be happy with what you got it is not like you got a low grade a bird in hand is better than 2 in a bush think about all the struggling students wanting 40s to pass and stay on at least you dont have that pressure so be happy and grateful.
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OddOnes
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There was one lecturer at my undergraduate uni who had the view of "what's the point in having marks that can go up to 100 if you're never going to use it". People on my course (Geography) generally scored highly. I got 75. A couple got 80, the highest 85. The Criminology and Sociology students in the same module didn't do as well, even failed, which many put down to that they weren't as clever as us

Most other 80s were very rare. Very few even got a 70 in first and second year. I only got above 70 once until third year when I scored them fairly consistently. I managed to get an 80 in a Biology module, I just happened to do everything they wanted to high quality.
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Jewelzela
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I'm assuming you're a humanities student and not a STEM one! I too struggle with this (I'm at Cardiff just finishing my third year) essentially it stems from the fact that to get 90% your work would be considered publishable with little to no editing. Consider the assignments you got 80% on in first year, were the multiple choice, or maybe language modules, or assessments where there was only one answer? Humanities is subjective, and whilst they might say 'there is nothing else that you could do' it's because they're saying that as a second year undergradute, you are going beyond expectations, but these are not at the level of a working academic because you simply don't have the skills and knowledge.
This really frustrated me (still does a bit to be honest), but you have to accept that if you just keep reading and learning, by third year you will be getting higher marks. Also a first is a first, it doesn't matter if you get 90% or 70.5%, you get the same classification, so just be happy with the firsts you do get.
Its difficult to transition thinking from the A-Level mindset where 70% is only a B, because at uni 70% is essentially an A*
(Original post by Whispers)
Hey everyone!
I'm just wondering if your universities have a similar policy to this? I've just finished second year of university, and in first year I received a few grades in the 80s, which was great - however this year a couple of lecturers have mentioned that they don't give anyone above 80% (which clearly wasn't true last year).
One lecturer even said that they don't give above 80% because the exam boards get on their case to justify it etc.

This is all fair enough, and I get that anything above 70% is a first and amazing and you should be happy or whatever, but recently I've had two assessments come back at 72% and 77% and in the feedback they've said "this is a model assessment" and "there's nothing you could have done differently to improve this assessment." So why on earth do my grades not reflect that?

It's quite frustrating. Of course I am over the moon to be given firsts for these assessments, but it's still a little annoying.

Is it just my university that has this weird policy? Have you experienced similar things where the feedback is "your work is great and cannot be improved" but for it to not be reflected? Share your thoughts.
I'm assumin
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shehnaaz
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(Original post by Emilysarahxox)
I’m at Cardiff and they do exactly the same with all my coursework. They keep all my grades in 70’s even the bad ones too! Really frustrating when my coursework is above 70. My course mates will get the same grades as me even though they copied wiki an hour before it’s due 😡
So UNFAIR omg I feel your anger aaarrrrgghhhh
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gjd800
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(Original post by Emilysarahxox)
I’m at Cardiff and they do exactly the same with all my coursework. They keep all my grades in 70’s even the bad ones too! Really frustrating when my coursework is above 70. My course mates will get the same grades as me even though they copied wiki an hour before it’s due 😡
If that is true then your marking, moderation, and external examining leaves a lot to be desired
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Themysticalegg
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What's the highest you've ever given for an assignment?
(Original post by gjd800)
80+ is touching publishable quality. I've given about 3 in 4 years.
Last edited by Themysticalegg; 2 weeks ago
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Themysticalegg
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Yep even my s**** ones I've got 65+ when I had no clue. I even got 87 once in a written assignment and it was hardly groundbreaking...
(Original post by gjd800)
If that is true then your marking, moderation, and external examining leaves a lot to be desired
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gjd800
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(Original post by Themysticalegg)
What's the highest you've ever given for an assignment?
Maybe 85.
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Themysticalegg
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Do all your courseworks get moderated or a select few? And I assume they are moderated by a different university?
(Original post by gjd800)
Maybe 85.
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gjd800
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(Original post by Themysticalegg)
Do all your courseworks get moderated or a select few? And I assume they are moderated by a different university?
All high firsts, all borderlines (*9/*0/*1 etc), all fails. Percentages of the rest. Moderated internally then ratified by an external.
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gjd800
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I add that this changes by department and by institution, but in my experience, not by very much (at least in my discipline).
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Themysticalegg
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Sounds a good system, from what one of my lecturers told me they do random sampling moderation internally and externally.
(Original post by gjd800)
All high firsts, all borderlines (*9/*0/*1 etc), all fails. Percentages of the rest. Moderated internally then ratified by an external.
(Original post by gjd800)
I add that this changes by department and by institution, but in my experience, not by very much (at least in my discipline).
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