Core Grading Criteria in Japanese Studies

Core grading criteria for Japanese language assessments

The following is a list of attributes that characterize high performance in Japanese language assessments. In principle, the grading of assessments will be based on the degree to which work meets these “core grading criteria.” Naturally, however, not all criteria will apply to all assessments or all levels of instruction. Particular information on what distinguishes each of the several grade ranges is included below.

  • Written script, including all kana and kanji, is legible and accurate.
  • Grammar is accurate and appropriate to the context.
  • The speech flows well and possesses a clear and logical overall structure.
  • Pronunciation and intonation are clear and accurate.
  • Communication takes place in Japanese without reverting to a mother tongue or relying too heavily on foreign-origin words (such as those written in katakana).
  • Speech or writing possesses a degree of variety, employing diverse vocabulary and grammar elements.
  • When making an argument, the speech or writing possesses a degree of complexity and attempts to be convincing.
  • Usage of polite, honorific and plain forms demonstrates an understanding of Japanese socio-cultural conditions.
  • Where appropriate, the author or speaker cites and acknowledges the words or ideas of other people or texts and demonstrates social and cultural knowledge on the topic.
  • Reading comprehension, incuding translation exercises, demonstrate an accurate understanding of vocabulary, grammar, and context.
  • Reading and listening comprehension demonstrates an understanding of overall ideas and details.
  • In group speaking assessments, the speaker demonstrates the ability to engage in an interactive conversation by, for example, asking and answering questions, responding to the opinions of others, and expressing agreement and disagreement.

High Distinction work (85-100%) meets all of the relevant core grading criteria and exhibits excellence in each and every area applicable to the level and task. Among the criteria, technical rigour and accuracy are of particular importance. HD-level work exhibits both intellectual aptitude and the highest level of technical refinement.

Distinction work (75-84%) meets a large majority of the relevant core grading criteria and does so with superior aptitude. The work will have no grave deficiencies, errors, or omissions.

Credit work (65-74%) meets a majority of the relevant core grading criteria and does so with high aptitude. Credit-level work is considered merit level.

Pass work (50-64%) fulfills the requirements of the assessment task and may meet several of the core grading criteria. A high pass mark (60-64%) demonstrates potential and may, with greater effort, be capable of a merit grade.

Failing work (0-49%) does not fulfill the minimum requirements of the assessment task and/or does not achieve the task’s objective. Work may also be deemed failing-level due to profound structural flaws such as incoherent grammar or structure, or ethical issues such as plagiarism or another form of academic dishonesty.

Core grading criteria for essays, presentations and similar academic work in Japanese studies

The following is a list of attributes that characterize quality academic work. In principle, the grading of assignments will be based on the degree to which submitted work meets these “core grading criteria.” Naturally, however, not all criteria will apply to all assignments. Particular information on what distinguishes each of the several grade ranges is included below.

  • Work is submitted on time and in the manner specified by the instructor.
  • The work fulfills the purpose of the assignment; i.e. it answers a specific question and/or addresses a specific problem.
  • The style is lucid with accurate spelling, grammar, punctuation, and possesses appropriate word usage.
  • The work possesses a logical and systematic structure as well as a clear development of ideas.
  • The work possesses an explicit thesis or objective that is supported by evidence presented and argued consistently.
  • The author (or presenter) demonstrates critical and analytical thinking as well as the ability to formulate an independent interpretation based on research findings and/or intellectual insights.
  • The work demonstrates the author’s command of specific and detailed knowledge.
  • The author demonstrates the ability to apply key concepts and/or general theories to specific cases and to justify the application of those concepts/theories.
  • The author demonstrates familiarity with a range of viewpoints gleaned from a variety of reliable sources, and is able to show the relationship between these viewpoints and the thesis proposed. Depending on the assignment, sources might include academic articles and books, primary sources, periodical media, surveys and interviews.
  • The author appropriately cites the sources of his/her information. Citations are complete, accurate, consistent, and they follow a standard citation method used in the discipline or area of study [access here for guidelines on citation methods].

High Distinction work (85-100%) meets all of the relevant core grading criteria and exhibits excellence in each and every area. The prose (or diction) is highly polished and possesses a clear, original thesis or objective that is argued effectively through the use of a rich variety of sources and independent interpretation. In sum, HD-level work exhibits both profound intellectual aptitude and the highest level of technical refinement.

Distinction work (75-84%) meets a large majority of the relevant core grading criteria and does so with superior aptitude. Among them, critical and analytical thinking, as well as technical rigour, are of particular importance. Moreover, the work should have no grave deficiencies, errors, or omissions.

Credit work (65-74%) meets a majority of the relevant core grading criteria and does so with reasonable aptitude. The work possesses both a thesis argument and critical analysis. Credit-level work is generally considered “above average.”

Pass work (50-64%) fulfills the requirements of an assignment and may meet several of the core grading criteria. The work demonstrates potential promise and may, with greater polishing and/or effort, be capable of merit. Pass-level work is often more descriptive than analytical or theoretical. A high pass mark (58-64%) should be considered “average.”

Failing work (0-49%) does not fulfill the minimum requirements of an assignment and/or does not achieve the assignment’s objective. Work may also be deemed failing-level due to profound structural flaws such as incoherent grammar or structure, or ethical issues such as plagiarism or another form of academic dishonesty.

Marks and Scaling

Final grade will reflect the standard of a student’s individual performance across all the tasks completed in a unit. Marks received for assessment tasks give a good indication of likely final mark or grade, but they do not guarantee a specific grade or final mark. From time to time, final results need to be scaled if, for example, the results for a unit differ substantially from the distributions of grades recommended by the Faculty. Raw marks are always scaled with care and attention to individual students’ work. The process involves consultation with colleagues and cross-checking against standards used by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the University of Sydney.


Distribution Guidelines

Junior Level Units

 

Senior Level Units

 

Grade

Faculty Guidelines

Grade

Faculty Guidelines

HD (85-10)

5%

HD (85-10)

7%

D (75-84)

15%

D (75-84)

18%

CR (65-74)

35%

CR (65-74)

40%

CR+ (65-100)

55%

CR+ (65-100)

65%