Marking guides describe in detail what is required for an assignment. They are often attached to the assignment question.
The kinds of marking guides used at university can vary according to discipline, department, and course co-ordinator. Further, the individual preferences of the marker will have a significant bearing on your grade. Generally, however, the marking criterion for assignments at university is likely to be divided into two broad areas: content and form.
Content is about the quality of the discussion you raise. This includes the depth and coverage of your explanations and descriptions, the type of evidence you use to support your points, and how well you are able to evaluate the issues you have been assigned.
In contrast, form relates to technical aspects of writing, such as whether you have followed grammatical rules and correct spelling, and how clearly you have documented your evidence in the body of the assignment and in the reference list at the back of your assignment. Form also extends to the physical presentation of the assignment, which involves conforming to the instructions given for formatting and layout.
The following criteria commonly appear in marking guides (adapted from Holmes, 1995).
- Coverage: Have you carried out all the requirements of the assignment thoroughly?
- Relevance: Is what you have written relevant to the requirements of the assignment?
- Overall structure: Is the overall structure of your assignment clear?
- Understanding: Do you show understanding of the content of the topic selected and relevant concepts for evaluating it?
- Use of terms: Do you use technical terms accurately and appropriately?
- Clarity of explanation: Are your explanations clear, logical, and understandable?
- Reading: Do you show evidence of having read widely in the relevant area?
- Critical viewpoint: Can you see flaws in the theories/frameworks used in the topic being discussed?
- Written expression: Grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
- Documentation: What references have you used to support your ideas? Are they correctly listed at the end and correctly cited in the text of your assignment?
- Word limits: Did you keep to the word limit?
- Presentation: Is your assignment clearly presented and readable?
|Use of terms||1||2||3||4||5|
|Clarity of explanation||1||2||3||4||5|
Another style of marking guide assigns a ‘weight’ to each criterion.
- Scope of assignment: 50%
- Evidence of reading: 10%
- Structure and organisation: 30%
- Presentation: 10%
- Total: 100%
References and further reading
Holmes, J. (1995). Ling 312: Sociolinguistics assignment marking guide. Wellington, New Zealand: Victoria University.