What can I do if I don't understand the mark I got on my assignment?

Consider your response to this question first.

Your approach

You could just leave it if you don't understand your result, and simply move on to the next task: some people do. However, it is possible to get something out of re-evaluating your response, and to improve your academic outcomes.

Here are some strategies to consider in working out why you got the mark you did.

  • Read someone else's work. Having something to compare your work to can help identify those areas you did well on and those you failed to deal with adequately. Reading someone else's work also exposes you to alternative ways of approaching tasks and other perspectives. This will broaden your own subsequent approaches to assignments.
  • Compare your earlier work with your current assignment. Do this to identify any patterns in your assessment responses. Do you notice any trends in your markers' responses? Do they point out an on-going problem with grammar? Do they always compliment you on your breadth of reading but ask you what your position is on the issues you outline? Do you always provide a less than ideal conclusion? Take control of your learning and find out about these aspects. Language and Learning Online is also a good place to start.
  • Request short conference with lecturer. Sometimes you need to seek clarification from your lecturer or marker. They will be able to explain to you just what they were after. If you find that you have actually addressed the assessment criteria, and sometimes your markers do make errors, acquaint yourself with your faculty's policy on re-marking.
  • Pay attention to criteria. When deeply involved in preparing assessment, you sometimes can't 'see the wood for the trees', which means you are lost in the detail. You can lose your perspective. Re-visit the criteria and objectives of the assignment when you get your assignment back from marking. This is a great way of seeking to improve your results because you will be able to see your assignment with fresh eyes.
  • Lodge questions on MUSO. Connect with your learning community by discussing your approach to your assignment with others in your subject.
  • Develop your awareness of what lecturers are looking for and how they mark. If you apply your research skills to this area, you will be in better control of your own practices. Be active in identifying those areas you need to improve in and practise.