Assessment and Feedback Info

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Assessment and Feedback Info

Psychology 4 assessments consist of the following:


Single Honours

1.         General Paper (2 essays out of a choice of 10 titles) (10 credits) AND

2.         Assessments in three courses taken across the two semesters; the specific format of assessments is defined separately for each course (20 credits per course, 60 credits total) AND

3.         Tutorial Course assessments (10 credits) AND

4.         Dissertation (40 credits)


Combined Honours - this will depend on the requirements of your combined honours degree, but in general:

1.         Assessments in two, three or four courses taken across the two semesters; the specific format of assessments is defined separately for each course (20 credits per course; total of 20 or 40 credits) AND

2.         Dissertation (40 credits)


Intercalated Medical Degree

For full details, refer to the DPT at

You can also read more about intercalation and the application process here.



You will get many feedback or feedforward opportunities in your courses. Feedback could be in the form of written or spoken comments on a draft or submitted essay or write-up, or in the form of self-generated or peer feedback, small group discussions or quizzes within lectures, etc. Feedforward might include a discussion of how to write an essay, or prepare for an exam.

Feedback is essential to learning and it takes many forms. We strongly encourage you to use all forms of feedback, including:

If you have any suggestions on how to improve feedback further, please contact either:


Marking scale

The Psychology marking system, for impression-based marking, uses a restricted number of points on the 0-100 scale. All marks given by individual markers (and all final marks arrived at by discussion between individual markers) should conform to this system. The available marks are shown below. 

There are several reasons we use this scale, but a major one is that it increases consistency of impression based marking (e.g., of essays) across different sub-disciplines within psychology and across different markers.

For further details, take a look here: 

For more information about the University of Edinburgh's Common Extended Marking Scheme, see the bottom of this page.


Grade   Marks Advisory adjective
A1 Extraordinary First 92, 100 excellent
A2 Excellent First 85 excellent
A3 First 72, 75, 78 excellent
B Upper Second 62, 65, 68 very good
C Lower Second 52, 55, 58 good
D Third 42, 45, 48 adequate
E Marginal Fail 32, 38 inadequate
F Clear Fail 25 inadequate
G, H Bad Fail 0, 15 inadequate


Points to note:

  1. The policy does not apply to pieces of work where there is a mechanical marking scheme (e.g. multiple choice assessment, some methodology assignments).
  2. The policy applies to undergraduate and postgraduate work.
  3. Moderation of scripts may only be done within the Psychology scale. That is, scripts may be adjusted up or down to another available notch on the scale, not by a fixed number of percentage points.
  4. For double-marked work, each marker should use the Psychology scale. If the two marks are within a grade boundary (e.g., both A3/”First”), they will be averaged and rounded up to the nearest notch by the Teaching Office. If marks differ across a grade boundary, the final mark is agreed by discussion and should also conform to the scale.
  5. Final marks that are aggregated across more than one piece of work (e.g. two exam essays) are arrived at by averaging and rounding up to the nearest whole number, so the final mark may deviate from the scale in these cases (i.e. 2 & 5 →4; 2 & 8 → 5; 5 & 8 → 7).


Marking standards and appeals

We have put together a document that explains how marking works. For further information, have a look here:

For all Year 4 courses, there are procedures in place to provide checks on marking standards and to ensure that no individual marker is able to influence unduly the outcome of a student’s overall assessment. All dissertations are double-marked, by the supervisor and another marker. For the Tutorial Course and the General Paper, two independent markers contribute to the overall mark. For all other courses, marks are moderated. Then, before marks are confirmed, the External Examiners review marking standards and the Board of Examiners reviews the distribution of marks for each course.

Appeals regarding coursework marks or requests for work to be re-marked will not be considered. If you are unhappy or puzzled about your mark, you are encouraged to discuss it with the marker. Please be aware, though, that the purpose of this discussion is to consider the written feedback on the piece of coursework in more depth, not to negotiate a mark adjustment.

The University has a formal Student Appeals procedure, but note that such appeals can only be made after the mark has been confirmed by the Board of Examiners and that this process specifically excludes appeals based on disagreement with the academic judgement of the marker and moderator. 



There is further information about plagiarism here.


Option Courses

Because of the smaller class sizes, Year 4 lectures are often more interactive than lectures in previous years. Many lecturers arrange for students to take part in participatory activities during the classes, on which feedback will be given. In addition, lecturers welcome the opportunity to discuss the content of the course, and to give informal feedback on the student's ideas. This may occur during the lecture, at an appointment arranged by the student, or during office hours. Written feedback on assessments will be provided for those courses which are assessed by coursework. Information on the timing of this feedback is provided in the relevant course description in this handbook.


Tutorial course

Tutorials occur in small groups, and are a good opportunity for students to receive advice and guidance from the member of staff. During the tutorials, students will give presentations and/or submit written work, and are encouraged to discuss general ideas arising from the content of the psychology course. These are responded to by the tutor, as well as by the other members of the tutorial group. Written feedback will be provided for the tutorial assessment.



An exam feedback session will also be arranged. The session for semester 2 Y3 exams will take place in October; this will provide you with the opportunity to look at your exam scripts and speak to staff about your feedback. The purpose of this event is to allow you to identify strengths and areas for improvement that you can work on. Before speaking to staff about your scripts, you will be encouraged to assess your own work as you read through it in relation to the common marking scheme and related questions. All students are encouraged to attend.


Examination timetable

Students are responsible for ascertaining their examination times. Examination timetables are published by Student Administration on their website:


It is possible that some examinations will be scheduled on Saturdays. As stated in the University's Degree Examination Regulations, "candidates for degree examinations may not appear for examination at times other than those prescribed, or at a place other than the designated one, except in cases of serious illness, injury or physical handicap, or on grounds of religious scruples or unavoidable overlapping of examination hours, or in other exceptional circumstances". Any students who think they will be affected by exceptional circumstances of this type should notify the Course Organiser at the earliest possible opportunity.


Examination results

Results for degree examinations will be available to students via the Edinburgh Student Portal (MyEd) in mid June but it is not possible to specify exact dates. Please do not telephone Student Administration or Psychology staff to ask for your results as University policy does not allow results to be given over the telephone. In cases of exceptional difficulty, you should consult your Personal Tutor.

There are no re-sit examinations for honours level courses. However, students who are absent from one or more examinations due to medical or other special circumstances, may, at the discretion of the Board of Examiners, be permitted or required to sit these examinations as a first attempt in the August diet. In this instance, students are strongly advised to avoid making plans which might conflict with re-sit examinations until they know their examination results



After the Honours Exam Board meeting in early June, you will receive marks for your dissertation and for each of your assessed courses via MyEd. In combination with the grade descriptors given in the University's Extended Common Marking Scheme, these grades give qualitative information about your performance.


Degree classification

Degree class is assigned by calculating the mean of marks of the individual courses, weighted by the number of credit points of each course. This overall mean is not rounded. For single and combined honours degrees, this calculation is applied across Years 3 and 4 (so the two years carry equal weight). Where students have opted to take a Junior Year Abroad, their Year 3 credits is given a zero weighting in calculating the degree class (meaning only Year 4 counts toward your degree's mean mark and classification). For intercalated medical degree students, degree classification is based on the 120 credits taken in their one honours year. If the overall mean mark is borderline (e.g. between 68.00 and 69.99), then the distribution of grades is considered. Where 50% or more of the marks (e.g. marks for courses totalling 120 credits or more out of a maximum of 240 credits) fall in a class above that indicated by the mean mark, the class above that indicated by the mean mark is awarded.


Examination appeals procedure & procedure for notifying extenuating circumstances

The University's appeals procedure regarding examination results is outlined fully in the Undergraduate Assessment Regulations:

16.1 This Section sets out the mechanism and grounds for appeal. For the purpose of this Section, “examination” is understood to include any written, practical or oral examination, continuously assessed coursework or dissertation which counts towards the final assessment.
16.2 Factors which may adversely affect a student’s performance in an examination or in assessed coursework over the year, such as personal illness or the illness of a close relative or partner, must be drawn to the attention of the Examiners in writing by the student as soon as possible and, in any event, before the meeting of the Board of Examiners. (See 9.11 to 9.13.)
16.3 A student may appeal against an examination result on the grounds of:

(a) substantial information directly relevant to the quality of performance in the examination which for good reason was not available to the examiners when their decision was taken. Ignorance of the requirement mentioned in paragraph (16.2) above to report timeously factors which may have adversely affected a student's performance, or failure to report such factors on the basis that the student did not anticipate an unsatisfactory result in the examination, can never by themselves constitute good reason; and/or

  (b) alleged irregular procedure or improper conduct of an examination. For this purpose “conduct of an examination” includes conduct of a meeting of the Board of Examiners.



Further information on the University of Edinburgh's Extended Common Marking Scheme

See also:


Extended Common Marking Scheme
Letter Grade Range Descriptor Degree Class
A1 90-100 Excellent 1st
A2 80-89
A3 70-79
B 60-69 Very Good 2.1
C 50-59 Good 2.2
D 40-49 Pass 3rd
E 30-39 Marginal Fail  
F 20-29 Clear fail  
G 10-19 Bad fail  
H 0-9


These descriptors are guidelines for assessing work on similar criteria across the range of marks, but they do not provide a formula for generating a mark.  It is clear, for example, that a piece of work may be excellent in one respect and substandard in another.  Markers will have to make decisions on aggregate.  Note that some descriptors will be more appropriate for essay or project assessment than for examination answers. 

Notable changes from our old criteria include:

  1. More emphasis on scholarly apparatus – Failure to acknowledge sources properly via in-text references and bibliography can fail an essay.
  2. A view on irrelevant material. -  Students are not at liberty to answer exam questions which were not set.  Irrelevant answers should normally be assigned a failing mark.

Markers should note that, for those examination scripts with a sticker stating ‘specific learning difficulties’, no penalties for poor spelling, grammar, and punctuation should be incurred, unless these are being directly assessed and are core to an understanding of the course.  This request is a reasonable adjustment under the Disability Discrimination Act and is particularly important in examination situations, where support for spelling/grammar is unavailable or is not assured.


Mark descriptors:


A1       90-100   Excellent

Outstanding in every respect, the work is well beyond the level expected of a competent student at their level of study.  It

  • Shows creative, subtle, and/or original independent thinking
  • Demonstrates breadth of knowledge and deep understanding of the subject matter
  • Draws on a wide, relevant literature base
  • Demonstrates an excellent standard of synthesis and evaluation and a critical and insightful analysis of the literature
  • Is well focused, with concentration on the main issues to be addressed
  • Presents a compelling case by means of clear logically structured argument or debate, well supported with evidence
  • Is written with flair
  • Has, where appropriate, complete and correct referencing
  • Is flawless in grammar and spelling


A2       80-89   Excellent

Outstanding in some respects, the work is often beyond what is expected of a competent student at their level of study. It

  • Shows original, sophisticated independent thinking
  • Demonstrates a thorough understanding of the subject matter
  • Draws on a wide, relevant literature base
  • Demonstrates critical and insightful analysis of the literature
  • Is well focused, with concentration on the main issues to be addressed
  • Presents a strong case by means of clear, logically structured argument or debate, supported with evidence
  • Shows a good standard of academic writing
  • Has, where appropriate, complete and correct referencing
  • Shows a high standard of  grammar and spelling


A3       70-79   Excellent       

Very good or excellent in most respects, the work is what might be expected of a very competent student. It

  • Explores the topic under discussion fully
  • Shows some complex and/or sensitive independent thinking Complexity and or sensitivity is reflected in the argument
  • Demonstrates a sound understanding of the subject matter
  • Draws  in a wide relevant literature base
  • Demonstrates critical analysis of the literature
  • Is well focused, with concentration on the main issues to be addressed
  • Presents a good case by means of clear logically structured argument or debate, supported by evidence
  • Shows a competent standard of fluent academic writing
  • Has, where appropriate, complete and correct referencing
  • Shows a good standard of grammar and spelling


B       60-69   Very Good

Good or very good in most respects, the work displays thorough mastery of the relevant learning outcomes. It

  • Demonstrates a good understanding of the area in question
  • Draws on adequate references
  • Demonstrates good synthesis, analysis, reflection and evaluation of the literature
  • Concentrates on the main issues to be addressed
  • Presents an adequate case by means of clear, well structured, logical argument supported with evidence.
  • Has, where appropriate, complete and correct referencing  of sources
  • Shows a good standard of grammar and spelling


C         50-59   Good

The work clearly meets requirements for demonstrating the relevant learning outcomes. It

  • Shows evidence of sufficient knowledge and understanding of the material
  • Uses references appropriately to support the argument, though they may be limited in number or reflect restricted reading.
  • Demonstrates limited critical analysis and evaluation of sources of evidence.
  • Addresses the area in question clearly and coherently
  • Has satisfactory structure, presentation, and expression
  • Has, where appropriate, complete referencing of sources, though there may be minor flaws in referencing technique


D          40-49   Pass

The work meets minimum requirements for demonstrating the relevant learning outcomes. It

  • Demonstrates a sufficient level of knowledge and understanding but at a basic level, and there  may be minor inaccuracies 
  • Lacks detail, elaboration or explanation of concepts and ideas.
  • Displays limited synthesis and analysis of the literature
  • Presents a highly descriptive account of the topic with no real critical analysis
  • Presents a weak argument which is not logically structured or which lacks clarity or is based on unsubstantiated statements
  • Has, where appropriate, complete referencing of sources, though there may be flaws in referencing technique.
  • Has largely satisfactory expression, though there may be minor spelling or grammatical errors


E          30-39   Marginal fail

The work fails to meet minimum requirements for demonstrating the relevant learning outcomes. It

  • Does not demonstrate a sufficient level of knowledge and understanding
  • Utilises only limited reference sources and offers poor analysis of them
  • May not adequately address the area in question, because its content is too limited or because there are some inaccuracies
  • Presents a poorly structured, poorly developed, or incoherent argument, or no argument at all
  • Has an awkward writing style  or poor expression of concepts
  • Has incomplete or inadequately presented references
  • Shows a lack of attention to spelling and grammar.


F          20-29   Clear fail

The work is very weak or shows a decided lack of effort. It 

  • Displays very poor or confused knowledge and understanding
  • Does not address the area in question. 
  • Presents no argument or one based on irrelevant and erroneous content
  • Displays an unacceptable academic writing style and /or presentation
  • Has incomplete or inadequately presented references, if any


G         10-19   Bad fail

The work is extremely weak. It

  • Displays no knowledge or understanding of the area in question
  • Presents incomplete, muddled, and/or irrelevant material
  • Provides no coherent discussion of the area in question
  • Has incomplete or inadequately presented references, if any


H          0-9       Bad fail          

The work is of very little consequence, if any, to the area in question. It is incomplete in every respect