Assessment of Grades

General Philosophies of Assessment Practice

The History Department favours 'deep learning' over 'shallow learning'. In other words, we are more interested in evidence that students have made conceptual developments in their ways of understanding and interpreting the world than in their familiarity with 'facts', figures and dates. Original and thoughtful argument is valued more highly than polished regurgitations of lectures or set reading. Evidence of a thoughtful response to the conceptual framework of any individual unit is valued more highly than pre-existing skills of, for example, debate and expression. Students are encouraged to explore areas of particular interest to themselves, and will be rewarded for initiative and ingenuity in discovering relevant material.

An idea that cannot be expressed clearly probably has not been understood clearly. We therefore value evidence of logical, coherent thought, argument and expression in essays.

While recognising that the political and ethical values of students vary widely, the Department does not reward or condone unreasoned polemic or racism or sexism.

Students are required to:

  • attend lectures and tutorials;
  • participate in class discussion;
  • complete satisfactorily such written work and examinations as may be prescribed.

Academic Honesty (Plagiarism)

Required statement of academic honesty for written work
You must attach to each of your written assignments (such as essays) a signed cover sheet stating that it is your own work. The form can be collected from the SOPHI counter, and must be stapled to your assignment when you submit it. Lecturers have been instructed by the university not to mark any piece of work that is not accompanied by this signed statement.

The full text of the Academic Board Policy on Academic Honesty in Coursework can be found by going to the Faculty's policy on Academic Honesty.


The Department of History requires satisfactory class attendance as part of participation in a unit of study. Attendance below 80% of tutorials/seminars without written evidence of illness or misadventure may be penalised with loss of marks; attendance at less than 50% of tutorials/seminars, regardless of the reasons for the absences, will automatically result in the student’s case being referred to a Department examiners’ meeting for a determination as to whether the student should pass or fail the unit of study, or, if a pass is awarded, the level of penalty that should be applied. The University does not recognise employment as excusing unsatisfactory performance, nor are timetable clashes a valid excuse. Students should not take a unit of study unless they can meet the above attendance requirement.

Please see the Faculty of Art's policies for more information.

Extensions and Appeals

Extensions for the date of submission of essays or other written work are given only in exceptional circumstances of illness, misadventure or other serious problems which make it impossible for a student to complete an assignment by the due date. It is the responsibility of each student to plan his or her work for the semester so as to be able to complete all assignments - the fact that several pieces of written work for different units are due within a short period is not a valid excuse for the granting of an extension.

Students are also expected to plan their study, employment and extracurricular activities so that they are able to submit university work by the due date. Private commitments are generally not grounds for extensions, although allowance may be made for such activities as sporting or other competitions in which a student is involved.

Please see the Faculty of Art's policies for more information.

If you feel that a mark that you have received for an assignment is unfair, you may appeal the result. The first step is to speak to the person (generally a tutor or a lecturer) who has marked the work. If you are still dissatisfied, you should see the lecturer in charge of the course (the unit of study co-ordinator). If the unit of study coordinator is not available you should contact the Chair of Department.

At this stage appeals may be made informally or in writing, although it is preferable to do so in writing. Any appeal against a grading decision on a particular assignment or a request that work be remarked should be made within fifteen working days of marks being made available to you.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your discussion with your unit of study coordinator you may make a formal appeal in writing to the Dean. For details about how to do this and the form to use go to Appeals Against an Academic Decision on the Faculty’s Student Administration web page.

Penalties for Late Work

Late work is penalised at the rate of two marks (out of 100) per day, excluding weekends and public holidays. In this instance, ‘two marks’ means two full points off the awarded mark, not two percent of the awarded mark. For assignments marked out of a maximum total other than 100, the penalty will apply pro rata. For example, for assignments marked out of 40, the penalty will be 0.8 marks per day.

For more details, please see the Faculty's policy.