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to feel a bit picked on and want to cry.....?

(19 Posts)
StudentFuming Thu 22-Aug-13 12:13:21

I have changed my name in case anyone might know me from this post.

I have just received grades and mark sheet for an essay. (Post Grad, RG Uni)

I have scraped a pass. The mark sheet picks out points that I should have made. I have re read the essay and a couple of points i have apparently omitted are actually in the essay! I also think i have used analysis where the tutor says i have only described.

All essays are blind marked although this tutor would have known the assignment was mine as she was aware of the work I was undertaking.

This is the worst mark i have had and i'm pissed off about it. I can see some of her points are valid and did not expect a top mark but given that her first comments about presentation, resources, awareness of theory and flow or writing are really quite positive I feel like she has just torn apart the work that I have done myself. My own work if that makes sense.

It is the same tutor that asked me whether i was worried whether I might have a child with a learning disability. (am pregnant) She has not had children and i am aware that she is sad about this. I don't know whether this has influenced her marking but it does seem overly harsh.

AIBU reasonable to feel picked on and want to cry?!

CSIJanner Thu 22-Aug-13 12:16:35

If she recognised your work from the subject, it wasn't really blind marked. Was there a second marker?

Montybojangles Thu 22-Aug-13 12:16:54

Is it not remarked by a second person?

missrlr Thu 22-Aug-13 12:18:08

Ask for a review?
See your personal tutor (if it is not the same one) and ask what the process is

LookingThroughTheFog Thu 22-Aug-13 12:20:15

OK, the second point first about the learning disabilities comment - this doesn't sound appropriate to me, though there are various conversations where I can see it might be. For example, in my case I've been asked if I worry I'll have passed my various mental health issues onto my children. Given the context of the conversation, this is usually perfectly rational and I can answer it as such.

However, if it was random, or a veiled statement on something relating to you (ie age etc.), then it needs to be raised with her supervisor. Someone in student support should be able to help you with that.

The first point - it's upsetting to get a mark that you don't feel is appropriate, however, the only really sensible thing to you at your level (Postgrad), is to ask for a meeting with your supervisor, go in with your essay and the marks, and ask what the markers comments mean. So, for example, you think you've used the analysis whereas she thinks you've only described it. So your question should be 'so how would I go about proving my use of the analysis?'

Remember at this level, you are expected to learn from every single comment and conference. Your approach should be 'how do I improve?' and hers should be the same. If you have the conference and you feel she did not have that approach, then again, you need to raise this.

Either way; don't cry! Or do if you want to have that little release. But also, work out how best to produce the next assignment.

redexpat Thu 22-Aug-13 12:28:08

Oh that is gutting. Can you ask for it to be remarked? You should definitely have a meeting with your tutor though and go through it like others have suggested.

Mumsyblouse Thu 22-Aug-13 12:31:01

Ask politely for a meeting with the tutor, saying you are disappointed with your grade and would like to do better in the future. Then go and listen. I do find sometimes some students have a few good grades which lead them to think that all their marks will be that high and unfortunately, people do do better in some types of assignment than others. I can always justify my mark and am happy to discuss this with the student however in our institution, once the grades have been moderated (checked by another member of staff) they are not going to be changed.

Also- get the marking criteria/guidelines out and read them, they will be different for Masters than for undergrad level and a substantial portion of analysis would have been expected for a merit and if this isn't visible, well-flagged or there's just a few comments, this may also have dragged the mark down.

I have plenty of students question their marks but to be honest, they are usually blind to the main faults of what they have done in their essays and forget that the last half was rushed, or they didn't put enough citations in or that their analysis was rather thin or whatever and once I sit with them and work it through they can see why they didn't get the higher marks on that occasion (and I had the odd 'off' essay at college too).

It is extremely unlikely there is any personal issue there, I simply don't know anyone who knows all their student numbers well enough or has any such agenda- plus our marking is either double marked or moderated so I can't think this is an issue.

Naoko Thu 22-Aug-13 12:32:23

Yes, go and see your supervisor with the essay and ask them to go over it with you. If you still feel it was unfairly marked at the end, ask for it to be remarked. As a third year undergrad I told my personal tutor I'd be filing a complaint against a lecturer and asking for a remark on an essay he'd marked (the complaint regarding his behaviour all semester with the essay marking as the straw that broke the camel's back) and although I still filed the complaint, I didn't end up having to ask for the formal remark because they had the second marker look at it extra carefully which pulled the grade up to something I felt was rather fairer. It wasn't just me either, my complaint was one of many and the lecturer, who was on a temporary contract, was not rehired and hasn't been seen anywhere near my university since.

You do sometimes get an essay where you think you and the marker are just coming at it from entirely different angles, and those are the ones, I think, where you suck it up and try and learn from it even though it feels unfair. But in my case, the one where I got formal, the comment that really riled me was criticising me for my use of the English language, telling me all sorts of stuff was wrong with it. The lecturer in question did not speak English well and had spent the entire semester failing to answer our questions because he couldn't actually understand what we were asking, thus I took 'your sentence structure makes no sense and is wrong' to mean 'I don't understand what you are saying'. As did the second marker, who couldn't see a thing wrong with my language. If something is obviously wrong with the marking and you can point out exactly where and what, then I think it's fair to ask for someone to take another look at it.

Mumsyblouse Thu 22-Aug-13 12:35:01

Can I also say- not to burst your bubble that markers do make the positive comments first and always find some, some students find that confusing because they think this means they should get a higher mark, but it's simply that they are pointing out some of the better things before hitting you with the criticisms. These (writing style etc) are all good things but depth of analysis is critical at Masters level and it sounds as if this one didn't get it right this time. Also point to the tutor that you did mention XYZ, but again, they probably wanted more on this, in depth and with greater critical thinking, not just a mention.

StudentFuming Thu 22-Aug-13 12:41:59

Thanks, I'm going through it now and like looking said, i really want to use the comments to be able to develop. I do get the feeling that this tutor, on the whole respects me and feel happy to be pushed to improve, even if the criticism stings a bit.

The problem is i have now been suspended for a year to have a baby. Due Date less than a week!! And I am sitting here with period type cramps and wondering whether he might come sooner....

I feel like i don't want to be focusing on this at the moment although it has otherwise put a bit of a cloud over what has been a really positive year with my grades steadily climbing and lots of positive outcomes.

I am an older mum and this MA has been a significant development in my career and i am happy and ready to switch off and focus on my baby and new family life. I just feel gutted about this grade and because of the nature of the piece of work, it was a key piece, feel like if has put a bit of a cloud over things.

I'm crying now, sorry, thanks for listening and advice. I think I might just send an email saying that I want to have the opportunity to discuss this at a later day and make sure I can use the marks to improve in the future. I might also say that the points she has said have been omitted are actually in the essay and perhaps ask whether they were not explicit enough.

I'm not to bothered about the LD comment. I think that is more about her issues than mine.

ooo..cramps god.

StudentFuming Thu 22-Aug-13 12:50:46

Mumsyblouse thanks. That's really helpful actually. I can see where the tutor is coming from and can see that i have perhaps got bogged down in the content and not been explicit enough in the points I have made. I think, having re read it I haven't returned to the question enough and my analysis has lacked depth. I have tried to cover too much in the assignment, choosing to take on a big task rather than keeping it simple. But 52 percent!

I will email her i think and ask to have the chance to go over the essay with her so i can be clearer about the points she has made. I'm not quite sure how that'll work as i'm taking a year out.

I'd quite like to lecture or research in the future and don't know whether i'm a little bit deluded about skills!

stickingattwo Thu 22-Aug-13 12:53:33

Accidentally gatecrashed colleagues wedding... 8 of us went, 4 invited to ceremony, dinner & eve do and 4 invited to church & eve do only. As it was in a tiny village in middle of nowehere that took 4 hours each way to get to and we didnt compare invites we all thought we were going to whole thing. 8 hours between ceremony and eve do btw As it was we still had 3 hours to kill in a village that didnt even have a pub - sat around the village green like teenagers!
look on the B&G face when we all walked in for the lunch/dinner bit was priceless but lucikly a few people had cancelled on the day and they squeezed us in... apologised profusely when we discovered weeks later we hadnt been invited to the whole day.oops.

Relaxedandhappyperson Thu 22-Aug-13 13:09:30

Accidentally gate crashed this thread, too? grin

mignonette Thu 22-Aug-13 13:15:04


Your latest post clearly shows the ability to self reflect, to stand back from your initial hurt feelings in order to gain perspective over the marking.

That is a great quality which many people do not have including some of my former Postgrad nursing tutors and a history lecturer who was always right even when she was wrong. You'd be surprised how few people can do this. So......send that email, have your baby and recommence your MA in the future. Good luck.

Dayshiftdoris Thu 22-Aug-13 13:34:19

I found the marking at post grad level a bit hit and miss - I had one set of comments which were glowing and only one point to improve with an A- on the same day I was given C+ from another tutor who commented 'it is obvious from your writing that this is your first piece of masters work'

In fact it was my second as I did the A grade piece first wink

Actually what the issue was is that the C grade subject was not my thing and I don't think I totally grasped all of the concepts as it was a new area. However at the time it didn't help to have comments that did not give me guidance on how to improve and I lost confidence until a personal tutor help me analysis my own work rather than rely on the comments.

Anyway... Concentrate on your baby - my friend failed a piece of work in her MA and still got a distinction grin Lots of time yet...

StudentFuming Thu 22-Aug-13 14:41:25

Thanks everyone. I sent an email asking for feedback and to query some of the points she had made. I said i hope she didn't mind me challenging a couple of points and that felt my own feelings about the essay, (that it was quite good!) did not reflect mark i received and i wanted it to be clear on why. I asked her to give me examples of where I have successfully analysed (assuming there might be one or two!) and where i have failed to do so.

I really wanted not to come across as stroppy so i hope i've dome that.

StudentFuming Thu 22-Aug-13 14:43:36

I'm still quietly feeling a bit picked on though.. I would've felt more accepting had she not told me I’d omitted points I’d actually made!

Relaxedandhappyperson Thu 22-Aug-13 20:41:48

I don't blame you - comments like that make it appear to the student that the assessor hasn't even read the piece of work they are criticising.

StudentFuming Thu 22-Aug-13 23:00:12

hmmm....that did cross my mind too relaxed

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