Horrible marking in Master's dissertation (55%) // Good Feedback?

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Max Miller
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#1
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I just received my provisional grade and I don't understand the world anymore. In my opinion, the content of the evaluation does not correspond to the grade. My average mark in the modules was around 70-80 points.

I had a very low Turnitin Score.

Feedback:

INTRODUCTION
Quality of background scene-setting to case study/organization/problem/dissertation:
The opening chapter provides a substantial, interesting and very informative introduction to the general background business context as well as detailed coverage of the relevant technical concepts and terminology surrounding ***TOPIC***. A very good foundation for the dissertation.
Inclusion of a formal dissertation aim: Clearly articulated.
Inclusion of a formal set of dissertation objectives and research questions:
Both aspects are well documented and described.

LITERATURE REVIEW
Scope and quality of sources used: Copious excellent sources used.
Depth and quality of analysis and discussion: This was a very substantial second chapter that provided a deep-dive into current levels of penetration of ***TOPIC*** in the target organizations, along with a detailed discussion of related issues such
as staffing, technological and financial inputs to future expansion and take-up of
***TOPIC***. A detailed and fascinating read, supported by a very impressive suite
of tables, diagrams and graphs of various formats. Great research, well explained.
Quality of Harvard Referencing: A very impressive, substantial and well-presented set of final sources.

METHODOLOGY
Discussion of methodology and development processes:
There is some valuable initial discussion of the various research methods and philosophies available to a researcher, including the strengths, weaknesses and particular features of each.
The discussion then moves onto the practicalities of primary and secondary data collection. A very interesting chapter.

DISCUSSION
A good analysis of a range of enabling technologies including ***TOPIC1***,***TOPIC2***.
As with previous chapters, this is a strong blend of research, discussion and analysis, supplemented with
high-quality diagrams, charts and diagrams.

CONCLUSIONS & RECOMMENDATIONS
A solid final chapter that encompasses a good evaluation of the work undertaken, alongside many valid comments on
emerging problems and future work.

TOTAL GRADE: 55%



I have now approached my supervisor and am of course going through all the instances to challenge this. Nevertheless, I wanted to ask, what do you think? Or am I suffering from delusions and just imagining that I have been treated unfairly?
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Max Miller
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I got feedback from my Supervisor:

I fully sympathize with your disappointment - I was disappointed - so let me give you some background.

Without giving specifics, my grade was substantially higher than the final one awarded BUT the second marker
disagreed and awarded a much lower grade. Because of the substantial difference in our grades, a third, independent
(very senior) marker was called in to give a third, adjudicating opinion.

That third grade was also much lower than my original one.

The end result is that I managed to negotiate your mark back up by a few marks - to give the final grade of 55%

Your work was marked independently by three separate staff and it went through the full marking quality-control process.


What should I do?
I don't think a complaint will change anything.
This is all so terrible for me, and buries the idea of doing a PhD afterwards.
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Mr Wednesday
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(Original post by Max Miller)
What should I do?
I don't think a complaint will change anything.
This is all so terrible for me, and buries the idea of doing a PhD afterwards.
TBH I think the university has already gone as far as its going to go here. The "process" was worked through, the thesis was independently 1st and 2nd marked and as there was a gap between them marks, independently 3rd marked. That's pretty rock solid in terms of how things are supposed to work and I can't see them going for a 4th marker - which may well not help anyway. Best to use the supportive project supervisor as a reference, they can give their individual assessment of your work that way if you apply for another course. That can go a long way in an application.
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Catherine1973
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It’s annoying but I think all you can do is ask for the feedback to be updated to include the other comments, so you know what areas were the issue, fir future reference. Then you can judge if the comments and this marks were fair.

I don’t think the mark will change but the feedback should be updated, else it is pointless
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axxxxxa
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(Original post by Max Miller)
I just received my provisional grade and I don't understand the world anymore. In my opinion, the content of the evaluation does not correspond to the grade. My average mark in the modules was around 70-80 points.

I had a very low Turnitin Score.

Feedback:

INTRODUCTION
Quality of background scene-setting to case study/organization/problem/dissertation:
The opening chapter provides a substantial, interesting and very informative introduction to the general background business context as well as detailed coverage of the relevant technical concepts and terminology surrounding ***TOPIC***. A very good foundation for the dissertation.
Inclusion of a formal dissertation aim: Clearly articulated.
Inclusion of a formal set of dissertation objectives and research questions:
Both aspects are well documented and described.

LITERATURE REVIEW
Scope and quality of sources used: Copious excellent sources used.
Depth and quality of analysis and discussion: This was a very substantial second chapter that provided a deep-dive into current levels of penetration of ***TOPIC*** in the target organizations, along with a detailed discussion of related issues such
as staffing, technological and financial inputs to future expansion and take-up of
***TOPIC***. A detailed and fascinating read, supported by a very impressive suite
of tables, diagrams and graphs of various formats. Great research, well explained.
Quality of Harvard Referencing: A very impressive, substantial and well-presented set of final sources.

METHODOLOGY
Discussion of methodology and development processes:
There is some valuable initial discussion of the various research methods and philosophies available to a researcher, including the strengths, weaknesses and particular features of each.
The discussion then moves onto the practicalities of primary and secondary data collection. A very interesting chapter.

DISCUSSION
A good analysis of a range of enabling technologies including ***TOPIC1***,***TOPIC2***.
As with previous chapters, this is a strong blend of research, discussion and analysis, supplemented with
high-quality diagrams, charts and diagrams.

CONCLUSIONS & RECOMMENDATIONS
A solid final chapter that encompasses a good evaluation of the work undertaken, alongside many valid comments on
emerging problems and future work.

TOTAL GRADE: 55%



I have now approached my supervisor and am of course going through all the instances to challenge this. Nevertheless, I wanted to ask, what do you think? Or am I suffering from delusions and just imagining that I have been treated unfairly?
From the feedback in your first post, it definitely sounds like you deserve more than a 55%, at least a high 2:1. However, it's hard to judge as there was no feedback provided from the second and third examiner. The problem is usually that examiners would mark from their own perspective on the topic and what they think should be in the thesis or how it should be written (happens very often at my uni). I appreciate that it is terribly frustrating and unfair but it happens a lot at many universities.

Most of the time, even if you challenge it and you have support from others (e.g. your tutor or supervisor), departments are reluctant to change the mark. I would, however, go all out to challenge it as far as possible. You're not imagining it; you have a right to say something and act. As previously suggested, it would be helpful if you can obtain the feedback from the other 2 supervisors so you can make a fair judgement.

Please don't let it bring your hopes down in doing a PhD; a PhD is more than just about writing a thesis. It's about executing the work, planning and many other things. Of course, I understand that it would impact your overall grade/ transcript/ etc. but don't give up just yet. Rooting for you!
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chaotic1328
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(Original post by axxxxxa)
Most of the time, even if you challenge it and you have support from others (e.g. your tutor or supervisor), departments are reluctant to change the mark. I would, however, go all out to challenge it as far as possible. You're not imagining it; you have a right to say something and act. As previously suggested, it would be helpful if you can obtain the feedback from the other 2 supervisors so you can make a fair judgement.
It is usually not possible to challenge marks on grounds of academic judgement, only on procedural issues. It seems that the university has followed full due process here, so I am not sure the OP has any grounds to challenge the final marks.
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axxxxxa
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(Original post by chaotic1328)
It is usually not possible to challenge marks on grounds of academic judgement, only on procedural issues. It seems that the university has followed full due process here, so I am not sure the OP has any grounds to challenge the final marks.
Yes that's absolutely true. But I'd rather try than sit around and do nothing. I mean, I've done that before (and friends did that too) and even though they didn't change the marks at least it's like "Oh well, at least I tried". It's up to the person though on how much they want to take it forward!
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