Skip to main content

Guidance for teaching staff

See below for information on:

When should the 17-point marking scale be used?

All work should be marked using the 17-point scale, unless it is numerically based work:

Numerically based work (all points between 0-100 used)

Where an assignment or exam is based on numerical work, or where there are a large number of questions in an exam with small numbers of marks for each question, the full range of marks from 0 to 100 are used. This is typical of many assignments and exams in Science, some language work, and some exams in, for example, Economics and the Business School.

All other work (17-point marking scale)

Where an assignment or exam is a single piece of work, or consists of a small number of long answers, work is marked using the 17-point scale. This is typical for essay-based subjects, dissertations and many pieces of work where there is no right answer and the quality of analysis and argument is particularly important.

Examples of papers to be marked using the full range of marks from 0-100 and the 17-point marking scale.

During the implementation of the 17-point marking scale, departments specified which categories of module would be marked on the 17-point scale and which would continue to be marked on the full 0-100 scale. Approval for the continued use of the 0-100 scale will normally be granted only where a department can confirm that marks achieved in assessed work are in line with the descriptors in the table below, so that a percentage mark of 72%, for example, matches the descriptor for a Low First in the table.

 

Using the 17-point scale: the marking process

For modules marked in accordance with the 17-point scale, the process for marking work and calculating module results is as follows:

  • For each unit of assessment (eg an assessed essay, or a question in an exam paper), first decide on the degree class (1st, 2.1, 2.2 etc), then assign the unit of assessment a grade point within the class (High 3rd, Mid 3rd, Low 3rd etc) by considering the grade descriptors within the table below.
  • The descriptors should be interpreted as appropriate to the subject and the year/level of study, and implicitly cover good academic practice and the avoidance of plagiarism. With the exception of Excellent 1st, High Fail and Zero, each descriptor covers a range of grade points, with the location within each group dependent on the extent to which the elements in the descriptor are met.
  • Within the broad framework of the table below, some Faculties and departments publish more detailed marking criteria, which should be used where applicable.

 

Class Grade Point Descriptor
First Excellent 1st Exceptional work of the highest quality, demonstrating excellent knowledge and understanding, analysis, organisation, accuracy, relevance, presentation and appropriate skills. At final-year level: work may achieve or be close to publishable standard.
High 1st Very high quality work demonstrating excellent knowledge and understanding, analysis, organisation, accuracy, relevance, presentation and appropriate skills. Work which may extend existing debates or interpretations.
Mid 1st
Low 1st
Upper Second (2.1) High 2.1 High quality work demonstrating good knowledge and understanding, analysis, organisation, accuracy, relevance, presentation and appropriate skills.
Mid 2.1
Low 2.1
Lower Second High 2.2 Competent work, demonstrating reasonable knowledge and understanding, some analysis, organisation, accuracy, relevance, presentation and appropriate skills.
Mid 2.2
Low 2.2
Third High 3rd Work of limited quality, demonstrating some relevant knowledge and understanding.
Mid 3rd
Low 3rd
Fail High Fail (sub Honours) Work does not meet standards required for the appropriate stage of an Honours degree. There may be evidence of some basic understanding of relevant concepts and techniques
Fail Poor quality work well below the standards required for the appropriate stage of an Honours degree.
Low Fail
Zero Zero Work of no merit OR Absent, work not submitted, penalty in some misconduct cases
  • Once the unit of assessment has been assigned a grade point (High 2.1, Mid 2.1, Low 2.1 etc), this can be converted to the corresponding fixed percentage (ie numerical equivalent) on the scale, as shown in the table below.
  • If the module is assessed by one unit of assessment only (eg a dissertation), the grade point is converted to the corresponding fixed percentage on the scale and becomes the module result. For example, if a module is assessed by a dissertation which is awarded a Low 2.2, the module result will be 52.
  • If a module is assessed by more than one unit of assessment, the grade point for each unit should be converted to the corresponding fixed percentage and then the grade points averaged (with appropriate weighting) to produce the module result. As the module result is calculated by averaging grade points, it does not need to be one of the fixed percentages on the scale.

For example, a module which is assessed by a single exam, with the paper made up of three questions, equally weighted, may be awarded the following grade points: High 2.1, High 2.1, Low 2.1. These grade points are converted to the corresponding fixed percentages and combined to produce the overall mark for the paper (and in this case the module result): the average of 68, 68 and 62, which is 66.

  • If a module is assessed partly by exam and partly by essay, the module result can be calculated:
    • Either by averaging (with appropriate weighting) the grade points for each question and the essay (as suggested above);
    • Or by averaging (with appropriate weighting) the grade points for each question to produce the mark for the paper, and then averaging (again, with appropriate weighting) the mark for the paper and the grade point for the essay.

In either case, the module result will be the mathematical average and does not need to be one of the fixed percentage points on the scale.

 

Class Grade point on 17-point scale Numerical equivalent Range of marks for work marked using all points on 0-100 scale
First Excellent 1st 96 93-100
High 1st 89 85-92
Mid 1st 81 78-84
Low 1st 74 70-77
Upper Second High 2.1 68 67-69
Mid 2.1 65 64-66
Low 2.1 62 60-63
Lower Second High 2.2 58 57-59
Mid 2.2 55 54-56
Low 2.2 52 50-53
Third High 3rd 48 47-49
Mid 3rd 45 44-46
Low 3rd 42 40-43
Fail

High Fail

38 35-39
Fail 25 19-34
Low Fail 12 1-18
Zero Zero 0

0

 

As the table demonstrates, marks for all work, whether marked using every point on the 0-100 scale (numerically based work and similar) or on the 17-point scale (essays, dissertations etc), fall into the same categories. A piece of work given a mark of 81 has reached the standard for "Mid 1st" whether it's a maths exam or a history essay, an oral language exam or a design project in engineering.

 

Deducting penalty marks for late submission of assessed coursework

The University has adopted a standard penalty of 5 marks (ie percentage points) per day for late submission of assessed undergraduate coursework. See full details of the policy approved by the Senate (Nb - the penalty for postgraduate work is 3 marks per day).

If a student submits a piece of assessed coursework late on a module marked according to the 17-point marking scale, the coursework should be marked as normal, and the penalty (5, 10, 15 marks etc) deducted once the grade point (High 2.2, Mid 2.2 etc) has been converted to its corresponding percentage mark on the 17-point scale. The final mark, after deducting the penalty, does not need to be one of the points on the 17-point scale.

For example, if an assessed essay is awarded a Mid 2.1, this is converted to 65 on the 17-point scale. If the essay is handed in one day late, the final mark will be 60, if it’s handed in two days late, it will be 55 etc.

 

Marking work for mixed student groups (pre- and post-2008 entry)

In the interests of clarity of information for students and consistency within cohorts, it is important that students are marked in accordance with the marking arrangements which apply to them according to when they joined Warwick.

Students who joined in autumn 2008 and later should be marked according to the arrangements introduced with effect from autumn 2008; ie 0-100 scale on those modules which use the full range of marks, typically numerically based work/language modules; 17-point scale on all other modules. Students who joined Warwick before autumn 2008 should be marked according to the department’s methods and conventions that applied before autumn 2008.

During the years following the initial introduction of the new marking arrangements, care will obviously need to be taken if students from mixed year groups are taught on the same module. Students should be marked according to their year of entry, while upholding the principle of anonymous marking. This is unlikely to affect work marked using all points on the 0-100 scale. For work marked using the 17-point scale, it is suggested that:

  • Either work is separated into cohort groups before marking (ie (i) pre-autumn 2008 entry; and (ii) autumn 2008 and later entry). The two groups could then be marked separately, with marks determined according to previous conventions for the pre-autumn 2008 entry group, and on the 17-point scale for the autumn 2008 and later group;
  • Or work from both cohort groups is marked together as far as determining class and place in class (High 1st, Mid 2.1, Low 2.2 etc). The work could then be separated, with work by students who joined before autumn 2008 subject to the further refinement of determining the mark (for example, is a Mid 2.1 a 64, a 65 or a 66?). For students who joined in autumn 2008 or later, the place in class (ie grade point) should be converted to the corresponding fixed percentage on the 17-point scale.

It is important that this process does not lead to the identity of students becoming known during marking, so it may be necessary to create lists of student ID numbers which group students into different cohorts.



 

 

Rationale for the introduction of the 17-point marking scale