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    Does anyone know how degree classifications are awarded? Is it done by the universities themselves, or are they marked externally (i.e. by some specialist body)? If the marking is internal (or even perhaps if it is external) does this mean that it is easier to get firsts and seconds at certain universities than it is in others even in the same subject due to varying standards?
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    A really good thread, i want answer to this question too but felt really silly to ask lol.
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    The marking is internal, but double or triple marked by different tutors, and a grade agreed between them. A sample of the papers/essays are then sent, after being awarded a grade internally, to other universities for external marking, to make sure standards are being maintained and that appropriate grades are awarded for equivalent work across all institutions.
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    Its internal and they set the grade boundaries, although most (if not all?) have external moderators to make sure there's some kind of consistency within the uni...

    I'm finding it a hell of a lot harder to get very good grades at Leeds than I did at Sussex, and I've seen the work of a girl I know who goes to a uni I won't name, she graduated with a 2.1 and I honestly think if I handed work of that standard in, I'd struggle to get a 2.2.
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    ^ What creak said (though I'm not sure my uni sends stuff for external marking, so I dunno if that's true for all/most unis). If it's an arts course where there is a practical element (e.g. a music recital/play, etc.), some unis will get in external examiners for those
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    (Original post by creak)
    The marking is internal, but double or triple marked by different tutors, and a grade agreed between them. A sample of the papers/essays are then sent, after being awarded a grade internally, to other universities for external marking, to make sure standards are being maintained and that appropriate grades are awarded for equivalent work across all institutions.
    Yup - that's probably the best way of describing how it's done. It happens at every university for every subject and especially in the third year.

    (Original post by plibbers)
    If the marking is internal (or even perhaps if it is external) does this mean that it is easier to get firsts and seconds at certain universities than it is in others even in the same subject due to varying standards?
    The above aka external moderation sees to it that this hopefully doesn't happen. Externals can come from any other university, the top names don't stick together for example. If you look at Oxford's examiner reports for History (they're online), you'll see that externals come from Hull, Notts and Essex. Cambridge got pulled up one year for marking too harshly so it can be highlighted.

    Actual marks wise - it all depends on the subject for a start as some are just so subjective. There's no right or wrong answer in History or English for example. Regarding actual degree classifications, it depends on how the university itself awards the degree. Not every uni uses 70+ as the benchmark for a first for example. Some unis you have to average 70+ for both your second and third years to get a first overall. Not to mentioning the weighting of each year and possibly individual modules.

    This is also influenced by the external moderation as I know for my uni, ALL the first class & third class dissertations are sent to be externally moderated. A sample of 2:1s and 2:2s are sent. Examiners can if they want to highlight when something's been over graded or under graded and thus technically every mark is then changed accordingly.
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    Thanks to everyone who has replied, you've certainly cleared up this issue for me. I do wonder, however, if discrepancies exist nonetheless.
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    To be honest, things can vary between tutors too. Not so much in standard - a poor piece of work will get universally panned, but different tutors will expect and reward different things.
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    in some subjects that lead to professional recognition, the assessors are assessed by additional external bodies to help enhance consistency. so, for teaching courses, ofsted assess the grading of trainee teachers by university staff, school based mentors and tutors. sometimes, graded classroom-based activities involve observation by ofsted AND the university tutor AND the normal teacher of the class the trainee is based in, all at the same time. the external examiner assesses the work in addition to all of this too.
 
 
 
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