UTAS Staff on Film: What do tutors look for when marking essays?

Uploaded by UniversityOfTasmania on 18.11.2012

The mechanics of marking, is you sit down with a paper.
I look at the word count, and see how they've done on that.
If it's under I'm thinking they've really struggled, and they haven't got much to say.
The stronger students will use the maximum word count, generally.
And this is in sociology so it may or may not be applicable more broadly.
And I look at the referencing first. I don't really read, particularly because there's not an easy, quick ...
... part of the essay that I can read to really gauge where it's sort of sitting in terms of the mark.
So I look at the back, and I look at the referencing.
It's not necessarily about how many there are, although that is important.
It's actually about the quality of them. So whether they've used sociological sources ...
... or whether they've looked at ... like ... new examples, current events, for example in the newspaper is great.
But if they've used psychology, if they've used health science journals and things like that ...
... I know that they're probably not going to engage with the concepts very well.
And they're not going to engage with theorists.
And if you're not doing that then there will be inaccuracies in the way that they're conceptualising ...
... or they'll miss something out, they won't give good definitions, for example ...
... particularly if the text book is missing, in first year, that's a big sign that they're not going to have definitions correct.
And so that already is giving me an idea around where the paper is kind of sitting.
And then I read the paper to confirm that, and we're marking to a very stringent criteria nowadays ...
... so we have very specific things that we're looking for in a number of different criteria.
And so the marking is very much reflective of what has actually occurred in the paper, and our expectations.
In terms of the structure I'm looking for an argument.
So what I often say in the tutorial is that it's hard to kind of say, what am I going to argue ...
... particularly if you've got a case study and you have to, say ...
... analyse a media article and draw out some sociological concepts.
There's not actually a question to literally answer.
So what I'm looking for is an argument it terms of a line of argument.
So you going to present a series of points to me, and I guess I'm a fairly structured person.
So I like to see you tell me what the structure of that argument is going to be ...
... the different points that you will make to come to that line of argument.
Or what the line of argument is, and that's followed through in the preceding paragraphs, and then it's concluded at the end.
And what you've actually said to me, the argument, is encapsulated in detail at the end ...
... to leave me with this sort of nice taste of what your argument has been.
So that's really what we're looking for in the assignments.
I think for sociology as well it's the understanding. And when you really understand you can argue ...
... in that way, that logical progression. It makes a big difference.