Thursday, 25 April 2019

Marking The Animation Masters Degree at Bucks

How does the Marking Work on our MA in Animation at Bucks? Marking can be appear to be a rather opaque process, so it's helpful to clarify some of the basics for our students.

The Master's Degree at Bucks is worth 180 credits overall, and has two components, academic and practical, with a roughly even balance between the two.

There are five Modules in the MA, each worth 30 credits, apart from the 18 month long dissertation module which is worth 60 credits.

Module Structure
Our MA 3D Animation Course comprises five modules: DA701, DA702, DA703 and DA704 run sequentially, one after the other, while DA705 (The dissertation module) runs alongside them over the full 18 months of the MA.  DA701, DA702, DA703 and DA704 contain two assignments each, one practical, one written. The practical assignment is "weighted" at 70%, while the written assignment is weighted at 30%, meaning that the final grade for the module is calculated in a 70/30 ratio. DA705 contains three assignments, the last - the dissertation - being the most important.

DA701 Animation 1 - Locomotion and Mechanics - 30 credits
DA701 PR1 - Practical assignment, worth 70% of the module
DA701 CW1 - Written assignment, worth 30% of the module  

DA702 Animation 2 - Character Performance - 30 credits
DA702 PR1 - Practical assignment, worth 70% of the module
DA702 CW1 - Written assignment, worth 30% of the module

DA703 Animation 3 – Animals and Creatures - 30 credits
DA703 PR1 - Practical assignment, worth 70% of the module
DA703 CW1 - Written assignment, worth 30% of the module
 
DA704 Assessment
DA704 Animation 4 - Final Project and Demo Reel - 30 credits
DA704 PR1 - Practical assignment, worth 40% of the module
DA704 CW1 - Written assignment, worth 40% of the module
DA704 CW2 - Written assignment, worth 20% of the module

DA705 Dissertation
DA705 CW1 - Written Report, worth 15% of the module
DA705 CW2 - Literature Review, worth 15% of the module
DA705 CW3 - Dissertation, worth 70% of the module

Grades at Master's level
"Flame" by Amedeo Beretta
Our Masters Degree grades on the Animation MA allow four possibilities: Fail, Pass, Merit and Distinction. The boundaries are 40% for a Pass, 60% for a Merit and 70% for a Distinction. A Distinction is more or less equivalent to a First Class degree at undergraduate level, and a Merit is roughly equivalent to an Upper Second. Note that at undergraduate level the pass mark is just 40% (worth a 3rd class degree) but at Master's Level a pass is higher - at least 50%, which would be worth a lower second at undergraduate level.

Official Course Handbook
To see more detail about the way in which marks are awarded, read the official course handbook.   

Distinctions are rare
Alien by Jeton Lakna
Note also that a Distinction, worth at least 70% overall, represents a very high academic achievement.  In 2010 and 2011, the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) reported that only around 15% of all degree candidates graduated with first-class honours.

Distinction: Clearly demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of the topic, with a high degree of competence and has excellent usage of relevant literature, theory and methodology.

Merit: Has a critical understanding of the topic, a significant degree of competence and has appropriate usage of the relevant materials

Jellyfish by Joe Gamble
Pass:
Evidence of some critical understanding of the topic, can use structured argument, and has a degree of competence when using relevant materials.

In practice, it is very hard to get more than 80-85% on any assignment, as there is almost always room for improvement even for the best work.

Second Marking 
All our marks at MA level are second marked by at least one other staff member at Bucks. Second markers review the grades and make sure they are proportionate and fair, and meet established standards across the sector. To see more about how this works, see the official page at Bucks.

External Examiner
Kiwi by Oliver Canovas

Our External Examiner also checks the marks, once they have been moderated, to make our grades and awarded fairly and in accordance with national standards.

To see more about how grades are awarded in the UK, see this useful page at Wikipedia.  

Marking & Resources
For more resources on Marking at Bucks, and Academic Regulations in general, see the links below:

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