Dissertation unfairly marked

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Chan1995
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It was marked by 2 people - one being my supervisor and another who is an outsider (so from another department) but I'm not allowed to know who they are. My grade was significantly lower than what I thought it would be. The second marker wrote feedback like asking me to define very simple words, but then in the same sentence asking for less detail. I spoke to my supervisor and he said there was a big disagreement in my mark and if it were just him marking it I would have got a considerably higher mark. They assured me that this would happen during my masters and that the person who marks it will actually be a researcher and not somebody that doesn't have a clue about my degree subject. It is very strange that I would get this mark (59%) as I'm near enough a straight A student, when I submitted my dissertation draft I got a lot of good feedback and addressed every single point of improvement. For example, my method section feedback asked me to add more detail into certain parts, but my final grade feedback said that it read more like a "procedure" preview. This is funny, because I actually added subheadings such as "materials" "participants" and a separate section for "procedure". I was also told I shouldn't have included so much detail by the second marker.

Can I do anything about this?

I'm trying to find out if it was a specific person who marked it from another department as they really dislike me - surely if it is then this would be grounds for an appeal?
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University of Portsmouth Student Rep
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(Original post by Chan1995)
It was marked by 2 people - one being my supervisor and another who is an outsider (so from another department) but I'm not allowed to know who they are. My grade was significantly lower than what I thought it would be. The second marker wrote feedback like asking me to define very simple words, but then in the same sentence asking for less detail. I spoke to my supervisor and he said there was a big disagreement in my mark and if it were just him marking it I would have got a considerably higher mark. They assured me that this would happen during my masters and that the person who marks it will actually be a researcher and not somebody that doesn't have a clue about my degree subject. It is very strange that I would get this mark (59%) as I'm near enough a straight A student, when I submitted my dissertation draft I got a lot of good feedback and addressed every single point of improvement. For example, my method section feedback asked me to add more detail into certain parts, but my final grade feedback said that it read more like a "procedure" preview. This is funny, because I actually added subheadings such as "materials" "participants" and a separate section for "procedure". I was also told I shouldn't have included so much detail by the second marker.

Can I do anything about this?

I'm trying to find out if it was a specific person who marked it from another department as they really dislike me - surely if it is then this would be grounds for an appeal?
Hi! Chan1995

I would keep all this evidence that your supervisor said about you getting a higher grade and the disagreement about your mark. This would be necessary for you to appeal. An appeal sounds like the best thing to do in your case. After it might be marked again but by someone different.
I would ask your tutor or supervisor about what procedure you need to follow for an appeal and whether you definitely have grounds for an appeal.

I hope this helps!
Best wishes
Chloe - Official Student Rep
Last edited by University of Portsmouth Student Rep; 1 week ago
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PhoenixFortune
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(Original post by Chan1995)
It was marked by 2 people - one being my supervisor and another who is an outsider (so from another department) but I'm not allowed to know who they are. My grade was significantly lower than what I thought it would be. The second marker wrote feedback like asking me to define very simple words, but then in the same sentence asking for less detail. I spoke to my supervisor and he said there was a big disagreement in my mark and if it were just him marking it I would have got a considerably higher mark. They assured me that this would happen during my masters and that the person who marks it will actually be a researcher and not somebody that doesn't have a clue about my degree subject. It is very strange that I would get this mark (59%) as I'm near enough a straight A student, when I submitted my dissertation draft I got a lot of good feedback and addressed every single point of improvement. For example, my method section feedback asked me to add more detail into certain parts, but my final grade feedback said that it read more like a "procedure" preview. This is funny, because I actually added subheadings such as "materials" "participants" and a separate section for "procedure". I was also told I shouldn't have included so much detail by the second marker.

Can I do anything about this?

I'm trying to find out if it was a specific person who marked it from another department as they really dislike me - surely if it is then this would be grounds for an appeal?
Not agreeing with the academic judgement is not grounds for appeal, nor is a personal dislike by you or your marker - how would you prove this dislike? Everything is subjective, so it can't really be brought forward. Take a look at your student regulations, as I'm sure grounds for appeal are covered in there. You could discuss this with your student union and personal tutor, but they may not be able to do much.
Last edited by PhoenixFortune; 1 week ago
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Chan1995
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(Original post by P***nixFortune)
Not agreeing with the academic judgement is not grounds for appeal, nor is a personal dislike by you or your marker - how would you prove this dislike? Everything is subjective, so it can't really be brought forward. Take a look at your student regulations, as I'm sure grounds for appeal are covered in there. You could discuss this with your student union and personal tutor, but they may not be able to do much.
Hi there,

My university grounds for appeal includes "unfair treatment or discrimination, out with the exercise of academic judgement (this could be evidence of bias or prejudice of an assessor). Basically in first year I submitted an essay about newsworthiness (what makes people want to read news articles). I wrote about the McCann case and how the newspapers have used sex to sell the story. I wrote this as it was mentioned in a book recommended by the lecturer. Well, I ended up getting a low mark on this essay and one of the comments was that "there was no proof that there was a sexual nature to the case". I thought "well yes... but I am writing about what the news conspiracy are, that aren't necessarily true, and I obtained this knowledge from a chapter of a book you recommended". I met with this lecturer and they admitted that they knew the MCcann family and this affected the marking of my work as they were biased. On the next assignment, they gave everyone in my group an A and I got a C. I was marked down for my references and everyone received an A for theirs - but I wrote everyone's references for them. She laughed when I brought this up. Basically she admitted to giving me a lower mark because she was biased and blamed the other low mark on my group mark as an administrative error. I appealed this and nothing came out of it - this lasted 6 months and was very stressful.

2 years later I am wondering if she is the one who marked my dissertation and if she is, I will mention the previous appeal, the biased marking and argue that she is doing it again.

It is not me that dislikes her, it is her that dislikes me because I wrote about the MCcann family in a bad way.

I know how it goes at university - they're as corrupt as they come regarding university marks and protecting staff. Even with clear evidence of prejudice, it will be a very hard battle to win. However, I am not letting someone destroy my future (I NEED a 2:1 for the career I've worked towards for the past 10 years) so I will fight for it.
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Chan1995
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(Original post by University of Portsmouth Student Rep)
Hi! Chan1995

I would keep all this evidence that your supervisor said about you getting a higher grade and the disagreement about your mark. This would be necessary for you to appeal. An appeal sounds like the best thing to do in your case. After it might be marked again but by someone different.
I would ask your tutor or supervisor about what procedure you need to follow for an appeal and whether you definitely have grounds for an appeal.

I hope this helps!
Best wishes
Chloe - Official Student Rep
Thank you Chloe!

Yes I am hoping that it can be marked by someone else I will update when things move forward.
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Reality Check
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(Original post by Chan1995)
It was marked by 2 people - one being my supervisor and another who is an outsider (so from another department) but I'm not allowed to know who they are. My grade was significantly lower than what I thought it would be. The second marker wrote feedback like asking me to define very simple words, but then in the same sentence asking for less detail. I spoke to my supervisor and he said there was a big disagreement in my mark and if it were just him marking it I would have got a considerably higher mark. They assured me that this would happen during my masters and that the person who marks it will actually be a researcher and not somebody that doesn't have a clue about my degree subject. It is very strange that I would get this mark (59%) as I'm near enough a straight A student, when I submitted my dissertation draft I got a lot of good feedback and addressed every single point of improvement. For example, my method section feedback asked me to add more detail into certain parts, but my final grade feedback said that it read more like a "procedure" preview. This is funny, because I actually added subheadings such as "materials" "participants" and a separate section for "procedure". I was also told I shouldn't have included so much detail by the second marker.

Can I do anything about this?

I'm trying to find out if it was a specific person who marked it from another department as they really dislike me - surely if it is then this would be grounds for an appeal?
It wasn't advisable for your supervisor to have commented on the marking process like this, and a disagreement between the first and second marker.

The short answer is 'no'. This is a clear case of academic judgement, and that's not up for discussion. That's how academia works - it's not a negotiation, where you make a 'case' for a higher mark. Chucking in an ad hominem about this 'specific person who really dislikes you' weakens your argument further.

You've already received detailed feedback. Clearly your work wasn't as good as you thought it was - this happens. Try harder next time.
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Chan1995
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(Original post by Reality Check)
It wasn't advisable for your supervisor to have commented on the marking process like this, and a disagreement between the first and second marker.

The short answer is 'no'. This is a clear case of academic judgement, and that's not up for discussion. That's how academia works - it's not a negotiation, where you make a 'case' for a higher mark. Chucking in an ad hominem about this 'specific person who really dislikes you' weakens your argument further.

You've already received detailed feedback. Clearly your work wasn't as good as you thought it was - this happens. Try harder next time.

threeportdrift - for our box marked 'entitlement'.
I received detailed feedback from someone who doesn't know what a dyad is.... that says it all.

Moreover, an expert in the field who has many many publications in highly respected journals stated that my mark should have been considerably higher. I know which person I would listen to. Which one would you listen to Reality Check?

I was advised not to change my method of writing by this expert so no, I will not "try harder" next time - I will try as hard as I did on this dissertation I.e. my best, and next year I will receive the high mark that I deserve as the second marker will be different.

In the real world, if someone dislikes you, they're going to make your life hard if you work for them. That's just how it goes - but maybe you'll realise that when you're a bit older! Universities are no different.

Oh and you can make a case for a higher mark if it affects your degree classification and that's written in your language (plain black and white writing).

I'll update it when things move forward anyways. Thanks for your input
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Reality Check
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(Original post by Chan1995)
I know how it goes at university - they're as corrupt as they come regarding university marks and protecting staff. Even with clear evidence of prejudice, it will be a very hard battle to win. However, I am not letting someone destroy my future (I NEED a 2:1 for the career I've worked towards for the past 10 years) so I will fight for it.
This tells any reader all they need to know.

(Original post by Chan1995)
In the real world, if someone dislikes you, they're going to make your life hard if you work for them. That's just how it goes - but maybe you'll realise that when you're a bit older! Universities are no different.
You're my best friend now, Chan :laugh:
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Chironn
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Actually, I had something similar happen to me on an assignment in my second year. I studied biomedical sciences and had an assignment in which I felt very confident in my work, to the extent that I actually sat down and started helping some of my peers who were struggling. I got 50% on this, and was shocked, especially after finding out that people that I had helped got 2:1s. It made no sense to me at all, so I emailed the module leader about this to appeal the decision. The lecturer re-read my assignment and decided they'd actually marked it incorrectly- despite this being their module (they're familiar with the topic). I definitely recommend an appeal, especially if you believe that your work is at a higher standard and your supervisor agrees as well.

In my case, I knew who my grader was, so I actually went and sat down with her. I asked her questions about why she came to the initial conclusion, and she must've realized that she'd made a mistake. I guess finding out who marked your assignment is the best course of action, so you can discuss the marking
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(Original post by Chan1995)
I received detailed feedback from someone who doesn't know what a dyad is.... that says it all.

Moreover, an expert in the field who has many many publications in highly respected journals stated that my mark should have been considerably higher. I know which person I would listen to. Which one would you listen to Reality Check?

I was advised not to change my method of writing by this expert so no, I will not "try harder" next time - I will try as hard as I did on this dissertation I.e. my best, and next year I will receive the high mark that I deserve as the second marker will be different.

In the real world, if someone dislikes you, they're going to make your life hard if you work for them. That's just how it goes - but maybe you'll realise that when you're a bit older! Universities are no different.

Oh and you can make a case for a higher mark if it affects your degree classification and that's written in your language (plain black and white writing).

I'll update it when things move forward anyways. Thanks for your input
I completely understand how you're feeling rn, and I really encourage you to appeal. Especially considering the circumstances you've explained
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FutureMissMRCS
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I had someone mark my lab reports this year and they repeatedly kept giving me low marks and kept complaining to the module leader- and they said for my last assignment they're going to get 2 additional people to check over my work- and what did I see- with previously only being given a 64% at the highest by that lab reporter marker- to my mark skyrocketing to a 78% for my last lab report after those 2 additional people checked my work on top of that and the fact I complained at least 4 times- and I didn't do anything different really in that last lab report. The guy just had it in for me for some reason. And I know the low marks he gave me previously- weren't right because I had my friends look over my coursework and they thought it was fine and they got higher marks than me. And I usually get around ~70% for coursework.
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Chan1995
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(Original post by Reality Check)
This tells any reader all they need to know.


You're my best friend now, Chan :laugh:
We should meet for a coffee some time
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by Chan1995)
In the real world, if someone dislikes you, they're going to make your life hard if you work for them. That's just how it goes - but maybe you'll realise that when you're a bit older!
Reality Check. Better brush up on your 'messaging from beyond the grave' skills!
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Reality Check
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
Reality Check. Better brush up on your 'messaging from beyond the grave' skills!
:shakecane:
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Chan1995
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(Original post by FutureMissMRCS)
I had someone mark my lab reports this year and they repeatedly kept giving me low marks and kept complaining to the module leader- and they said for my last assignment they're going to get 2 additional people to check over my work- and what did I see- with previously only being given a 64% at the highest by that lab reporter marker- to my mark skyrocketing to a 78% for my last lab report after those 2 additional people checked my work on top of that and the fact I complained at least 4 times- and I didn't do anything different really in that last lab report. The guy just had it in for me for some reason. And I know the low marks he gave me previously- weren't right because I had my friends look over my coursework and they thought it was fine and they got higher marks than me. And I usually get around ~70% for coursework.
I'm really sorry you went through this - it can have horrible effects on your confidence! However, I bet you felt very vindicated at the end when you got that 78%
As students, we tend to forget that the people marking our work are just regular humans like ourselves - I mean, you could look like someone who broke their heart and they'll hate you without even realising why! Essay marks will always be subjective, unless they find a way for computers to mark our work, and sometimes this can work against us.

Thanks for your reply anyways, it's comforting to know that I'm not alone with this.
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Chan1995
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
Reality Check. Better brush up on your 'messaging from beyond the grave' skills!
:console:It's never too late to learn!
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Mr Wednesday
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(Original post by Chan1995)
I received detailed feedback from someone who doesn't know what a dyad is.... that says it all.
So a key thing required in a quality dissertation is a clear appreciation of your audience, who they are, what they know and what they might not. That means you need things like a clear definition of basic terminology, even if its “standard” for an expert in the field. It’s a pretty classic error to write aiming only at your supervisor, not “the other guy”, when the rubric sets out that the assessment will be by a panel or multiple markers. You need to balance “impress the expert” with “inform the new reader, tell them why they should care about the work”.
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Chan1995
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(Original post by Mr Wednesday)
So a key thing required in a quality dissertation is a clear appreciation of your audience, who they are, what they know and what they might not. That means you need things like a clear definition of basic terminology, even if its “standard” for an expert in the field. It’s a pretty classic error to write aiming only at your supervisor, not “the other guy”, when the rubric sets out that the assessment will be by a panel or multiple markers. You need to balance “impress the expert” with “inform the new reader, tell them why they should care about the work”.
Completely agree with this
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FutureMissMRCS
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(Original post by Chan1995)
I'm really sorry you went through this - it can have horrible effects on your confidence! However, I bet you felt very vindicated at the end when you got that 78%
As students, we tend to forget that the people marking our work are just regular humans like ourselves - I mean, you could look like someone who broke their heart and they'll hate you without even realising why! Essay marks will always be subjective, unless they find a way for computers to mark our work, and sometimes this can work against us.

Thanks for your reply anyways, it's comforting to know that I'm not alone with this.
I hope you get your mark appealed and get the mark you deserve. It sounds like you put a lot of work in. That whole Madeline Mccann thing sounds really unfair, I would have complained to your course leader. I just wonder what uni is this for.
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PhoenixFortune
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(Original post by Chan1995)
Hi there,

My university grounds for appeal includes "unfair treatment or discrimination, out with the exercise of academic judgement (this could be evidence of bias or prejudice of an assessor). Basically in first year I submitted an essay about newsworthiness (what makes people want to read news articles). I wrote about the McCann case and how the newspapers have used sex to sell the story. I wrote this as it was mentioned in a book recommended by the lecturer. Well, I ended up getting a low mark on this essay and one of the comments was that "there was no proof that there was a sexual nature to the case". I thought "well yes... but I am writing about what the news conspiracy are, that aren't necessarily true, and I obtained this knowledge from a chapter of a book you recommended". I met with this lecturer and they admitted that they knew the MCcann family and this affected the marking of my work as they were biased. On the next assignment, they gave everyone in my group an A and I got a C. I was marked down for my references and everyone received an A for theirs - but I wrote everyone's references for them. She laughed when I brought this up. Basically she admitted to giving me a lower mark because she was biased and blamed the other low mark on my group mark as an administrative error. I appealed this and nothing came out of it - this lasted 6 months and was very stressful.

2 years later I am wondering if she is the one who marked my dissertation and if she is, I will mention the previous appeal, the biased marking and argue that she is doing it again.

It is not me that dislikes her, it is her that dislikes me because I wrote about the MCcann family in a bad way.

I know how it goes at university - they're as corrupt as they come regarding university marks and protecting staff. Even with clear evidence of prejudice, it will be a very hard battle to win. However, I am not letting someone destroy my future (I NEED a 2:1 for the career I've worked towards for the past 10 years) so I will fight for it.
Your appeal is based on two presumptions:
1) You think you know who your second marker is, when in fact it could be someone else; and
2) That you have concrete evidence of the dislike from this lecturer, which would need to be in writing and not just your word against theirs (if indeed this is relevant - see presumption 1).
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