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Marking Criteria in Australian Universities



One regret I have about my 1st semester in postgraduate studies is that I didn't fully understand the criteria set by my university. To provide some context, I completed my undergraduate degree in Accounting in Indonesia and pursued a master's degree in Law at one of the Australian Group of Eight Universities.


Aside from having a different educational background, the university's education system was also different. The combination of intensive and block-mode (one subject with only one or two weeks) learning left me with limited time to catch up with my classmates.


However, I take responsibility for this shortcoming. I should have made more effort to learn and adapt. It's important to note that each university has its own set of criteria for assessing exams, so I encourage you to consult your own university to better understand how they evaluate your exams. Best of luck to you.

Result name

Mark range

Description*

Notes**

​​High Distinction

85 - 100

​Work receiving a high distinction grade will generally exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Completely answers the question.

  • Contains striking originality of approach or analysis.

  • Demonstrates exhaustive or innovative research (where independent research required).

  • Exceptionally well written, structured and expressed.

  • Is otherwise exceptional in some way.

  • Displays a thorough and complex understanding of the law and policy. Where relevant, contains striking originality of approach or analysis. Demonstrates a thorough understanding of the key course materials, and is able to use them to support logical and coherent arguments in relation to the issues. Where relevant, achieves a critical engagement with the topic and an evaluative approach and appropriately situates the issues within the policy framework of the law.

Distinction

75 - 84

Work receiving a distinction grade will generally exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Completely answers the question.

  • Achieves a critical and evaluative approach to the issues.

  • Content and structure is well organised in support of the argument.

  • Demonstrates extensive research and analysis to support a well-documented argument.

  • Generally well expressed and free from errors.

  • Has a clear structure and is well articulated.

  • Contains a clear and well-articulated statement of the relevant principles, laws, and issues. Where relevant, achieves a critical engagement with the topic and an evaluative approach and appropriately situates the main issues within the policy framework of the law

Credit

65 - 74

Work receiving a credit grade will generally exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Covers main issues fairly well in answering the question.

  • Contains no significant errors

  • Demonstrates an attempted critical approach to the issues.

  • Demonstrates reasonably sound research and analysis in addressing the key issues.

  • Has a clear structure and reasonably clear expression.

  • ​Evidence of independent thought and analysis Demonstrates a reasonable understanding of the course materials & is able to identify their relevance Includes, where relevant, a concise distillation of relevant case law and/or rulings. Engages, where relevant, with the main policy principles relevant to the area. § Makes an attempt to critically engage with the issues raised.

Pass

50 - 64

Work receiving a pass grade will generally exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Identifies the key issues but does not follow through with a reasoned argument.

  • Contains some significant errors.

  • Displays satisfactory engagement with the key issues.

  • Offers descriptive summary of material relevant to the question.

  • Superficial use of material and may display a tendency to paraphrase.

  • Demonstrates little evidence of in-depth research or analysis.

  • Adequate expression.

  • Overall, demonstrates the minimum level of competence in the assessment and satisfies the requirements to proceed to higher-level studies in the degree or subject area.

  • Shows a basic understanding of some of the relevant legal principles. Describes material (cases, legislation, etc) relevant to the question but does not link the description to the question asked

Fail

0 - 49

Work may fail for any or all of the following reasons:

  • Does not answer the question.

  • Contains significant or numerous errors.

  • Few or no identifiable arguments.

  • Content that is inappropriate or irrelevant.

  • Lack of research or analysis.

  • Difficult or impossible to understand through poor grammar, expression or structure.

  • Overall, does not demonstrate the minimum level of competence in the assessment.

*Marking criteria from my university's website

**Notes from my former Law professor


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