Assessment

Your mark for Hist119 will be assessed as follows:

  1. A short essay of between 1400 and 1600 words, to be submitted no later than 3.00pm on Friday 22 February (at the end of week six in Lent Term), weighted at 33%.
  2. A long essay of between 2400 and 2600 words, to be submitted no later than 3.00pm on Monday 12 May (at the beginning of week four in Summer Term), weighted at 67%.
  3. Seminar contributions. It is normal practice in the History Department to moderate your coursework grade so as to reflect your contribution to seminars by up to two marks in either direction (that is, by plus or minus 2%). The following scale may be taken as a guide:

    Result
    Level of Contribution
    +2
    Always well prepared; outstanding verbal contributions.
    +1
    Generally well prepared; good verbal contributions.
    0
    Few verbal contributions unless prompted.
    -1
    Little evidence of preparation; few verbal contributions.
    -2
    No contribution to discussion.

    Some tutors prefer to apply this scale themselves; others may offer the option of self-assessment. That is, in the final seminar of the course you may be presented with a form on which you will assess your own seminar performance over the course (and that of your peers, since you will also be given the opportunity to nominate any class member whom you feel has enhanced your learning experience over the course.) If they choose to use this method, your tutor will moderate the completed forms for consistency, the forms will be returned to you with the final essay and when and where your self-assessed seminar performance grade has been modified you will receive a written explanation for the alternative grade.
  4. Worksheets. Although the worksheets will not form part of the assessment, your tutor should have seen and recorded a completed worksheet for each of the eleven content seminars. If, by the end of the taught seminars, your ‘portfolio’ of worksheets has not been completed to a pass standard, up to ten marks will be deducted from your final grade for this course. Since the average grade for coursework is typically around 56-57% in most years, such a deduction may well prevent you attaining the grade required for progression to Part Two in History (i.e. an average of 45% for your part one history courses).

Note well that:

  1. The long essay counts for two-thirds of your total mark. This is because it is a substitute for an examination. It should therefore be treated as an exercise of similar importance for your success in this course. Failure to submit the long essay will automatically result in your failing this course; failure to submit a satisfactory long essay will seriously impair your final mark.
  2. Please note that the word limits are absolute: the History Department does not operate a plus or minus ten per cent leeway on the word limit imposed.
  3. Coursework submitted late will be penalised. The University’s policy is that any piece of coursework not submitted by the specified deadline and without an agreed extension will lose 10% if it is between one and seven days late, and thereafter will be awarded 0%. For a full explanation of departmental and university policy on late submission of coursework, see the Department’s Student Handbook, pp. 25-27.
  4. Please note that NO EXTENSIONS can be granted beyond the Part I Senate Deadline which falls on Friday of Week Six in Summer Term. This deadline is fixed by the University as the date after which tutors are no longer allowed to accept work, or past which they are not permitted to grant extensions. A grade of nought will be entered for work submitted after this deadline. The deadline for the long essay falls ten working days ahead of this deadline, and this is, therefore, the maximum amount for time that can be granted as an extension for this piece of work. Long essays submitted during this ten-day period without an extension having first been obtained from your tutor will suffer a deduction of ten per cent.
  5. Extensions beyond the departmental deadlines (i.e. beyond the last day of Lent Term for the first essay) can be granted only by the Part I Director of Studies and will be granted only for unforeseeable circumstances beyond your control, or attested personal or medical reasons.
  6. Your tutor will publicise the place and time when the marked essay may be collected. Should you miss that opportunity, all uncollected essays are placed in the essay returning cabinet in the mixing bay on B Floor, Furness. The essay cabinet is open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and you are requested to ensure that the folders are returned neatly to assist other students collecting their essays.
  7. Coursework marks typically fall between 40% and 70%. The Student Handbook, pp. 27-31, explains how marks are calculated and their meaning in greater detail. Your final mark for the present course (comprising the average of written work, modified up or down according to seminar performance) will be considered alongside your mark for your other history course in calculating the final overall mark Part I History.

Plagiarism

A part-one essay does not have to produce an answer to a question which no-one has thought of before, but it must be the product of your own dialogue with the subject. A little reflection on the point of essay-writing (see p. 5 above) helps to explain why this is so. It should always be remembered that the essay is a test of understanding.  Essays which do not answer the question can only be regarded as demonstrating some knowledge of the topic, they cannot be said to show understanding of the topic. But essays which plagiarise or merely reproduce what others have said or written about a topic do not even show knowledge of the topic – they fail on all counts. Plagiarism is thus not merely a matter of theft or deception, it involves a total subversion of the entire teaching and learning process.

It is crucial, therefore, that your coursework should be the product of your own analysis and reflection. When you take notes, avoid using the exact words of the book or article you are reading, unless you wish to discuss the particular wording of a passage. In such a case, always make a note of the page number where you read those words, so that you can give a full reference in your essay. When you come to write up your essay, you should avoid excessive and uncritical quotation from the work of others. Understanding is best demonstrated, in any case, by using your own words to explain and interpret the material under discussion. On no account should you try to pass off as your own work the writing of another person – whether taken from a book, journal article, electronic text, or another student’s essay.

In October 2003 the University introduced a common policy on plagiarism which the department is obliged to enforce: under this policy students who reproduce work which is not their own – whether taken from an electronic text, from a book or a journal article – risk exclusion from the University. The University now requires, furthermore, that all students sign a form declaring that the coursework they are submitting is their own work. These forms can be obtained from the plastic container on the wall by the essay box next to Room B52 Furness. Students who remain unclear what plagiarism is and how to avoid it are advised to attend one of the department’s essay-writing workshops.

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