In an academic essay '[one is] required to think clearly and critically, use valid evidence and produce well-structured and coherent pieces of writing. ' (Gasper & Sheppard, 2011, peg) But what does a marker look for in a high quality assignment? Burdens (2007) answers this question giving three main areas to consider; the content of the essay, the evidence of research and use of written English. (page) First of all, there are many different criteria for different assignments and to understand how one is being assessed; the best place to start is to read the assignment matrix. This will detail what requirements the marker is looking for in a high quality assignment for the given topic. Also for more detail on an assignment and the expectations of the markers, one only has to look as far as their unit guide. While matrices display how markers evaluate, the unit guide gives you the information on the topic. This will have the assumptions that the marker believes one should know about the topic and demonstrate and in the essay.
Furthermore markers, lecturers, and tutors will give advice and methods for certain assignments. (The Royal Literacy Fund, n. . What Tutors Want- 2) For example, for this essay my lecturer told us that it is to be written in apt serif font with la spacing. These too may be considered assumptions of the marker. Just like any piece of written work; it is important to note the audience and purpose. (Marshall & Frances, 2006, Peggy) For undergraduate essays, one's marker is the audience with the purpose to demonstrate competency. (Decking University, n. D.
Assignment Writing) Therefore, markers will assess on how effectively one can write to them whilst display knowledge on the topic. Yet again, another suggested assumption of the marker. Moreover, it is most crucial in the minds of a marker that the topic or set question is answered. Burdens (2007) explains that the set question must be answered 'explicitly' rather than a vague response in the general area. He goes on further to explain that markers will give hints in the topic sentences by using 'commanding verbs. ' These will instantly tell the reader what sort of assessment the marker is requiring them to complete.
E. G. 'describe - list basic features, compare - talk about similarities and differences, discuss - provide differing views' etc. Peggy) While content may be the most important aspect of an essay (Burdens, 2007, page) it must be backed by evidence and research to be classed as an academic level. Moreover, research is an aspect that all markers look for to ensure reliability and thorough analysis when marking a high quality paper. Markers are looking for a high level of relevant evidence. Therefore, it is important that one's research is thorough with appropriate information.
As well as having strong arguments that are supported by a variety of sources and not opinion. (Cleanly & Ballard, 1997, peg) It should also be noted that 'markers expect you to use other people's words or ideas in your essay' but one must cite these sources in the location of where the words or ideas have been used in the essay. This not only gives the original author credit but allows the marker to investigate sources. (Burdens, 2007, page-99) Without proper research, an essay's content loses its creditability: an aspect of a high quality assignment. However it can also be lost through the use of incorrect English skills.
The final major area that markers examine is the 'use of written English. ' Under his umbrella falls coherence, spelling, grammar and syntax. The Royal Literacy Fund (n. D. ) discusses how an essay must be coherent with clear English. (What Tutors Want - 1) Burdens (2007) also agrees that coherence is important with his golden rule for writing being 'make life as easy as possible for your reader. ' (page) Burdens explains that coherence can be achieved by structuring an essay (introduction, body, conclusion) and hence allows the reader (marker) to always feel like they know where they are. page) Markers view the writer as a "professional or academic' in-training. (Decking University, n. D. FAQ - Assignment writing) Therefore it is essential to ensure that one's work is 'free of spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors. ' (Decking University, n. D. FAQ - Assignment writing) Burdens (2007) mentions that it is not the duty of the marker to fix one's mistake and hence one should not 'let [one's] reader be the proof-reader' (page) Using correct and well-written English is key to writing an academic essay. It portrays the writer as a professional and gives a depth of creditability: a trait a marker is looking for in a top essay.
Overall, markers are looking for many thing in a high quality undergraduate essay with the three main aspects being content, research and the use of written English. (Burdens, 2007, peg 98) These can be broken down into criteria, assumptions of the marker and how effective the set topic has been answered for content; thorough research with correct citing and credit given to sources for research; with correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation and coherency been the components of the use of written English. If one's undergraduate essay were to have all of above qualities; one's essay would be ensured the title 'high-quality. ' word s