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70+ Excellent coverage of debates, but also clear individual voice. Shows potential for original research and/or analysis. Demonstrated ability to formulate responses to questions in novel and relevant ways. Answers need not be `perfect': a distinction may be awarded to work which, though not faultless, exhibits exceptional intellectual qualities (sophistication; originality; judiciousness), and/or to work which possesses virtues of composition, knowledge, relevance and clarity to a markedly high degree.
60-69 Well organised, coherent, direct and relevant response to the question. Demonstrates good knowledge of primary material and firm grasp of critical debates and concepts, which are deployed as part of a broader argument. Analyses have both breadth and depth. Presentation good. May also display some faults, such as missing certain aspects of the question, containing patches of weaker material, or failing to articulate the writer's own views. Evidence of potential to proceed to further postgraduate research.
50-59 Shows a general understanding of the question and some knowledge of issues, but lacks elaboration in depth and/or detail. Shows some capacity for independent and critical analysis, but may be poor in terms of individual research. Relevant but limited reading and use of examples and evidence. Presentation satisfactory: possible problems with e.g. use of English, referencing etc. Lacks evidence of ability to proceed to further postgraduate research.
40-49 Shows an understanding of the question and broader subject area, but little evidence of detailed knowledge or reading. Little or no ability to structure thoughts coherently. Little or no evidence of capacity for independent and critical analysis. Presentation poor: does not respect scholarly conventions.
39 or below Demonstrates only a partial understanding of the question, or fails to provide an answer to the question at all; severe lack of organisation; grossly irrelevant material; limited content; gross errors of fact or basic misconceptions; serious weaknesses in the ability to construct arguments.