The Department expects you to show 'progression' in the course of your time here; that is to say, we expect that by your final year you will know more about the ancient world and will have developed various skills in essay-writing, analysis and argument, use of evidence and (where appropriate) translation and commentary to a much greater extent than a first-year student.
Progression is managed in two ways. Firstly, there are significant differences between the three years, in terms of the units you have to take, the forms of assessment (third years have to do assessed seminar presentations, for example), and the fact that assessment in the first year is purely formative, not contributing to the final degree classification, whereas assessment in the second and final years counts equally towards the final degree.
Secondly, we have different expectation of first-, second- and third-year work, and mark it accordingly. We always try, using the essay evaluation forms and feedback in tutorials, to make it clear to students what we expect of (for example) a second-year essay as opposed to a first-year one.
Here are our expectations of first-year work:
2000 words. Students should be introduced to the basic skills and techniques of essay writing at university level. The focus is on acquiring and/or developing the ability to construct an argument, learning to use and reference primary and secondary material, and manage time effectively. Spelling, punctuation, paragraphing and structure will be corrected but not heavily penalised. Feedback will focus on pointing to areas where technique can be improved.
By the time of the exams at the end of the first year, students should be able to contextualise passages from the set texts effectively. They should be able to answer the specific questions set on passages following the guidance given in this handbook, and demonstrate appropriate knowledge of some of the secondary reading specified for the unit.
2500 words. Students are expected to demonstrate the ability to construct and develop an argument and reference primary and secondary material correctly, according to academic protocols. They are in addition expected to show a developing awareness of debates within classics concerning the uses of primary sources and to demonstrate a widening familiarity with texts from different periods. Errors of spelling and syntax will be penalised. Feedback will focus on developing the sophistication of the arguments and the structure of the essay.
By the time of the exams at the end of the second year, students should be able to contextualise passages from the set texts and to enhance this knowledge by cross-referencing to other relevant works studied within the unit. They should be able to answer the specific questions set on passages following the guidance given in this handbook, and make relevant connections between different topics in the unit. They should demonstrate knowledge of some of the key secondary literature relating to topics covered.
All assessed work in the Faculty of Arts is marked in percentage terms on a scale of 0-100 in accordance with the following convention:
The guidelines below relate to all assessed work in the Faculty and are intended for examiners and students alike. They set down the various criteria by which examiners judge the classification appropriate to a candidate's assessed work. The extent to which these various criteria are satisfied varies between individual candidates and examiners should give due consideration to differences of approach, style, interpretation and degree of effort and allow a candidate's strengths in one area to offset shortcomings in another. Where a department assesses a very particular area of expertise requiring specific skills to be demonstrated, additional criteria will be provided in the departmental handbook.
Shows thorough understanding and knowledge of the subject, in both breadth and depth, demonstrating a capacity for intellectual initiative and evidence of insight and original thought. Displays very good to excellent critical judgement in the selection, analysis, interpretation, comparison, evaluation and integration of material from a range of sources. Demonstrates the ability to construct an argument and advocate a viewpoint with a high level of internal consistency, a high quality of organisation and style of presentation (including spelling, punctuation, grammar, referencing, etc.) and with well-chosen illustrative examples.
Shows sound understanding and knowledge of the subject, in both breadth and depth, with evidence of clear thinking. Displays good critical judgement in the selection, analysis, interpretation, comparison, evaluation and integration of material from a range of sources. Demonstrates the ability to construct an argument and advocate a viewpoint with a good level of internal consistency, a good quality of organisation and style of presentation (including spelling, punctuation, grammar, referencing, etc.) and with relevant illustrative examples.
Shows a reasonable understanding and knowledge of the subject. Displays evidence of thought and variety in the selection of source material and an ability to analyse, interpret, compare and evaluate. Demonstrates ability to construct an argument and advocate a viewpoint with reasonable level of internal consistency, an acceptable quality of organisation and style of presentation (including spelling, punctuation, grammar, referencing, etc.) and with illustrative examples, although with limitations in some of these aspects.
Shows some knowledge of the subject but with limited understanding. Evidence of weaknesses in some areas such as the coverage of the topic, analytical powers, ability to construct an argument, internal consistency, organisation and style of presentation (including spelling, punctuation, grammar, referencing, etc.). Use of sources is largely lacking in relevance, uncritical or inadequate. In general, a rather poor quality of structure and expression and a poor grasp of the issues involved.
Shows little if any knowledge of the subject and an absence of understanding and/or serious misunderstanding. Inadequate or very poor coverage of the topic and poorly presented (including spelling, punctuation, grammar, referencing etc.), inability to construct an argument and an absence of analysis, internal consistency and organisation. Unacknowledged, inadequate or non-existent use of sources. In general, an unacceptable quality of structure and expression with no grasp of the issues involved.
All translations are marked on a scale of 0-100 in accordance with the same conventions as for other assessed work. The following guidelines are intended to help students with the particular problems involved in translating passages from one language to another.
Read through the passage several times before writing anything down. Try and gain a sense of what the passage is about, identify all proper names and work out, for example, who is talking to whom or who is the narrator. Make intelligent use of all the information given in the title.
Sometimes (particularly in the in the case of unseen translations) you may have been given some help with vocabulary. Make sure that you do not forget to utilise this vocabulary in your translation. The easiest way to do this is to underline the relevant words in the passage before you begin writing.
There may be words in the passage which you do not recognise. Rather than guessing wildly, remember that what is being tested is your understanding of grammar and syntax. Work out what kind of words they are (e.g. nouns, adjectives, verbs, prepositions etc) and how they fit into the structure of the sentence.
NB. You will gain credit for intelligent guesses as long as you demonstrate that you know what jobs the words are doing in their Greek or Latin sentences.
Write on alternate lines and avoid excessive emendations. Remember that someone is going to have to read what you have written.
Finally, (an obvious point but one all too frequently overlooked), the passage you have been given to translate makes sense in either Latin or Greek. If your translation reads like gibberish, your translation is not accurate!
Marks will be awarded according to the following criteria:
The purpose of a gobbet question is to test your interpretative skills in relation to a particular passage of a text you have studied. The most important thing to remember is that however broadly you choose to cast the net of your discussion, your answer should take as its starting point the particular passage you have been given and analyse it closely in as much detail as possible. You should include any prior knowledge about the author and context of the work which you deem relevant and refer to other passages from the set texts if they seem appropriate.
There are three main types of gobbet questions:
When trying to gauge how long a gobbet answer should be, you should always be guided by how many marks it is allotted in comparison to other questions on the exam paper. For example, if the essay questions are worth 40 marks and the gobbets 20, the gobbets should be approximately half as long as the essay.
NB: If time is short, it is better to jot down some notes for which you might pick up a few marks than to write nothing at all.