Feedback and Marking

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Feedback and Marking
You receive feedback on your contribution to English Literature modules in the following ways:

  • verbally in seminars

  • by email in response to inquiries or comments during teaching weeks

  • for some modules, as comments or replies in KEATS blogs

  • verbally in pre-submission individual essay consultations

  • verbally in discussion with any staff member consulted during her/his Office Hours

  • as a formal written response to coursework by your examiner

  • as a mark and award which is calibrated according to the Faculty of Arts and Humanities Undergraduate or Postgraduate Marking Criteria (see links below)

  • in discussion of your overall progress with your Personal Tutor.

Electronic feedback on KEATS: general comments and annotations
Formal written comments on coursework are an important component of the many types of feedback you will receive while at King’s. Nearly all students now receive this formal feedback via KEATS in the guise of general comments at the end of the electronic version of coursework.
Some examiners also ‘annotate’ the coursework itself electronically: the annotated essay may have sections highlighted, and/or comments that ‘pop up’ when you hover the cursor over an icon placed by the examiner. Note that examiners are not required to annotate coursework in this way, and those that do usually only mark up the first page or so, to give a sense of how your expression might be improved (for example). It is up to you to look again at the entire essay in the light of this extra guidance.
Accessing the examiner’s feedback via KEATS
You will be notified when this feedback becomes available and given instructions on how to access it online. The dates when you can expect this feedback are also published on the Department’s website.
General comments can be found by clicking the speech bubble icon which appears beside (not on) the coursework itself. Annotations appear on the coursework itself or pop up when you hover the cursor over icons the examiner has set on the page.
You can read the general comments, and any extra annotations, online; or you can print out the whole essay and the comments/annotations. To print, click on the print icon at the bottom left of the coursework screen, and the programme will generate a pdf version of your essay in which all the examiner’s annotations appear as endnotes linked by number to the appropriate part of the essay. The general comments field will also appear at the end of your essay.
Anonymity and online examination

  • Any online-marked essay is visible only to you, not to others in the same module.

  • All essays have also been anonymised during examination; your examiners see a candidate number and not your name.

  • Once the feedback is released, the coursework is de-anonymised and examiners can no longer access it on KEATS.

  • Consequently, if you want to discuss the essay and feedback further with a staff member, e.g. your Personal Tutor, you will need to print the coursework and bring it with you to the meeting.

The Provisional Award
Your general comments on KEATS will not include a percentage mark for the coursework. This is because the process of examination continues after you receive the written feedback and the precise mark may vary slightly. It is therefore more effective to give you an indication of the likely range of the mark.
For this reason the written feedback does inform you of your provisional award (e.g. First, Upper Second...), usually with an additional letter (A+, A, B+, B...) indicating where your provisional mark falls within the award range. These indications of your provisional mark can be interpreted by referring to the Faculty of Arts and Humanities Marking Criteria. Follow the department specific link to find more discipline-specific guidance on how the Faculty marking criteria are applied in the department of English.
What happens if the provisional award is a fail?
Informed critique of one’s intellectual work is nearly always a challenge to accept. Receiving a lower award than you had hoped and, in particular, unexpectedly receiving a fail, can be very upsetting. It is perfectly normal to feel this way, though do try and keep things in perspective: it is only a single piece of subject-specific coursework that has been judged, not your intelligence (which, needless to say, manifests in ways more important than written coursework), nor you as a person. It’s just an essay. So let yourself be upset; leave things a few days; and then look back at your feedback for guidance as to how to improve your coursework on resubmission. And go and see your Personal Tutor for further guidance.
Work that has been provisionally failed by your first examiner is always scrutinised by a second examiner. If the second examiner agrees the coursework has failed, it is put to the relevant Examination Board in June (undergraduate) or November (postgraduate). If the fail is still upheld and confirmed as a fail by an External Examiner, you will then be informed that you may revise and resubmit the same piece of coursework and have it reassessed (in August for BA students). The mark for the resubmitted coursework is capped at a pass (40% for undergraduates; 50% for postgraduates) unless you have mitigating circumstances in which case you can apply to have it uncapped.

In revising your coursework for resubmission you are normally allowed to answer the same question, use the same texts, and respond to advice given by your examiner and your Personal Tutor.

Making the most of your formal feedback
On receiving written feedback you should:

  • Read any annotations made by the examiner and the general comments carefully

  • For undergraduate work, read the criteria for boxes ticked (or otherwise) in the tick-box section

  • Read the comments that tally with your provisional award/letter indicator in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities (UG or PGT) Marking Criteria. These comments are quite detailed and tend to underscore the positive aspects of your achievement.

  • RE-READ your essay in the light of the comments. This is by far the most effective means of improving your mark in your next assessment task.

  • Ideally take notes identifying how the essay might have been improved.

  • Discuss the re-read essay, the feedback, and your plans for developing your writing skills with your Personal Tutor. You may also discuss your essay and feedback with other members of staff during her/his office hours.

Your Personal Tutor is the most appropriate member of staff with whom to discuss your feedback. But please note that Personal Tutors are unable to make any changes to feedback comments, alter the provisional award, or request others to revise it. To do so would be to interfere with a robust and ongoing examination process in which coursework is still anonymised. Several stages in the examination of your coursework are still to occur when you receive your feedback, but it is made available to you early so you can benefit from feedback as soon as possible.

Remember that Personal Tutors cannot access your coursework online after it has been examined; please print your essay and bring it with you to the meeting.
Tick-boxes (undergraduates only)
Undergraduates will find general comments as well as a ‘tick-box’ section at the end of their essay on KEATS. The tick-box section looks like this:
Understanding and Argumentation

(mark with ‘X’ as appropriate)

• Thorough: insightful; evidence of independent critical judgement

• Thorough understanding of relevant material; insightful discussion and analysis

• Good understanding of important facts and concepts; substantive analysis of issues

• Sound: relevant material, but limited range or depth; more descriptive than analytical

• Basic: some knowledge but little detail; minimal analysis

• Poor: inaccuracy; key issues not identified, inadequate analysis or none
Selection and Coverage

(mark with ‘X’ as appropriate)

• Extensive range applied insightfully; very effective use of evidence to support argument

• Comprehensive: a range of relevant material used, demonstrating independent study

• Good use of relevant sources, employment of a range of evidence

• Adequate: appropriate but limited material; ineffective use of evidence

• Skeletal: sparse coverage of basic material; unsuccessful use of evidence

• Poor: inappropriate or inaccurate material
Structure and Style

(mark with ‘X’ as appropriate)

• Excellent structure and focus; clear and fluent style; compelling argument

• Well structured and focussed; clear and fluent style; persuasive argument

• Good: coherent and logical

• Sound: generally clear but awkward structure and/or limited development

• Adequate but unclear or disorganised in places

• Poor: disorganized and unclear; incoherent argument; too short
Presentation (scale of 1-5 where 5 is excellent)

• Is the text grammatical and easy to understand? (number)

• Is the text correctly punctuated? (number)

• Is spelling correct? (number)

• Is the text adequately referenced? (number)

• Is there an adequate bibliography? (number)

• Is the overlength penalty applicable? Y/N
This template is reproduced in the general comments field of your coursework on KEATS, the appropriate sections marked with an X and numbers placed after each element of the presentation section.
The four categories enable examiners to provide feedback on how well you have met the generic demands of your assessment task (e.g. that your argument is well structured, your expression clear, the range of your reading adequate, and the standard of presentation acceptable). If the quality of these aspects of your essay is uneven, your examiner may tick more than one box within each category, suggesting the range within which you have met these generic demands.
These tick-boxes are designed to enhance the specific written comments you have received from your examiner. They do not represent the only things your examiner considers in making a provisional award, nor do the numbers in the ‘presentation’ section add up to a particular component of your final mark.
What happens after I receive my feedback and provisional award?
Coursework worth more than 15% of your overall grade for a module is examined by more than one member of staff. Each item of postgraduate coursework, and of undergraduate coursework failed by the first examiner, is double marked, with examiners conferring on a final provisional mark to be put to the relevant examination board. All modules are scrutinised by external examiners (highly qualified and experienced academics from other universities) to ensure marking is fair and consistent.
All awards and marks are provisional until meetings have been held by the Programme, Faculty, and College Examination Boards. The Department of English Language and Literature’s Undergraduate Programme Board meetings are held in June; Postgraduate Programme Board meetings are held in November.
Decisions by the Programme Board are ratified by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities Examination Board which is composed of representatives from all the different programme boards within the Faculty. Final responsibility for decisions about your assessment therefore rests with the entire Department and Faculty as determined and supported by the College’s academic regulations.

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