Self Marking your Essay
You are the first marker of your essay on the social science history
courses at Middlesex University, because we want you to
understand the kind of qualities that gain good marks in assessed work.
You should prepare a draft self assessment to submit with your draft essay,
and revise this when you submit your final work.
Feedback on your essays will mainly be comments on the points you mention
in your self-assessment.
You should assess your own
work using the
Essay Marking Guide
Your Self Marking must have three sections, clearly labelled, with at
a paragraph to each
Your assessment of the main strengths of your essay, using the
concepts from the
Essay Marking Guide, and covering such points
knowledge of the subject you have shown,
structure of your essay, its
sequential flow, evidence of reading and understanding
recommended sources, including primary sources,
referencing and strength of
Clicking on one of the links above will take you to one part of the
Marking Guide that uses the concept. Scroll up and down from that point to
see how the concept fits in. In the Marking Guide clicking on a coloured
link will usually take you to an explanation of the concept. You can use
"Back" button on your browser to come back to this point.
Your assessment of the main weaknesses of your essay, using the
concepts from the
Essay Marking Guide. Describing your
weaknesses is as important as describing your strengths. You may find that
you have both strengths and weaknesses in each of the areas. There may, for
example, be aspects where you feel you fully understand an issue (and have
demonstrated it) and other aspects you feel you do not understand. You
should mention any
English, and any tendency to be
discursive. It is a weakness if you have not got a good
introduction, or if your introduction does not outline and
summarise your essay. Bear in mind weaknesses in English may be offset by
a good introduction. Any deficiencies in referencing should be noted. If
you have an argument it should be noted in the strengths. If you are aware
of any deficiencies in the argument these should be mentioned in the
The technical terms like argument and structure that are used in Self
Assessment are called
Benchmarks. You should use benchmarks
in your Self Assessment in such a way that the staff marker can clearly see
(from the Marking Guide) why you are suggesting a mark.
Your assessment of the grade the essay deserves, based on the benchmarks
you have identified from the marking guide. Suggest your mark.
Then give reasons from the Marking Guide for suggesting it.
You must suggest a precise mark with clear reasons if you want your essay
to be graded. If you suggest more than one mark
(10 or 11 for example), give the reasons for each.
These points should be born in mind when using the
Essay Marking Guide
to suggest a grade for your
We provisionally fail
essays with titles not on our list
without Harvard references and a bibliography
essays with less than two
references per page
essays where the marker cannot trace references
(because they do not have page numbers, for example.
If you think you are deficient in one of these areas,
We expect the best first year first semester History essays to be around
the borderline of a lower second/upper. The best marks are usually 9, 8 and
(sometimes) 7. This
is because in the first semester of the first year we expect strong
students to write competent essays, but to need guidance on how competent
essays can be developed into clear upper seconds.
Usually the best essays submitted for the first year second semester are
sixes. A five is very
exceptional. Higher grades require such a command of the theoretical
principles involved that they are unlikely to be achieved by first year
The clearest cases of a strong argument are often when the argument
is developed by the student out of her (demonstrated) understanding of
primary sources. But an exceptionally good use of an argument taken from a
secondary source, if it is effectively used to strengthen your own
argument, would also qualify.
For an essay to achieve a 5 it would have to show some indication of
originality in its explanation, discussion or treatment of the
primary texts. Before you even think of suggesting a 5, make sure that you
have read and pondered on the academic meaning or
You get no credit for putting in a poor essay and suggesting a high
mark, or for putting in a good essay and suggesting a low mark. Use the
Marking Guide to make a realistic estimate of your mark and show how your
suggested mark relates the essay to the Marking Guide.
The staff marker will second mark your essay in the light of your comments.
He or she gives you feedback on your assessment of yourself.