Marking Guidelines

Assessing 4th Year Theses

Important Note

The information on the page below is for staff who have students enrolled in Thesis prior to 2016.

Staff who have students who are commencing Thesis A in Semester 1, 2016 should go to: https://webcms3.cse.unsw.edu.au/THES0001/16s1/.


Approved March 2008

Summary

The method improves the simplicity, consistency and reliability of assessment. We define a small set of assessment criteria. Markers award a grade, not a mark, for each criterion, and supply a comment to justify the grade. The final mark is computed by the system by mapping each grade to a mark and computing a weighted-sum of the individual criterion marks. The process of assessing reports is intended to be analogous to the process of reviewing papers for journals/conferences (but, of course, the criteria/standards are different since we're dealing with 4th-year theses).

Grades

The following grades apply to all of the criteria mentioned below. The descriptions of the levels of achievment may need to be adapated for some criteria.

A+
  • absolutely top-quality work, best I've seen
  • publishable in good conference with little change
  • corresponds to a very high HD (>95%)
  • would be awarded rarely (maybe once per year)
A
  • excellent work, does everything required
  • results are good, could be published with some re-working
  • corresponds to a solid HD
B
  • good quality work, but with some minor deficiencies
  • would need substantially more work to be publishable
  • corresponds to a Distinction (DN)
C
  • adequate
  • the topic could have been treated much better
  • corresponds to a Credit (CR)
D
  • just satisfactory, minimal standard for a CSE thesis
  • corresponds to a bare Pass (PS)
E
  • not up to standard required of a CSE thesis
  • corresponds to a FL grade (around 40%)
F
  • very much below the standard required of a CSE thesis
  • corrsponds to a low fail (around 20%)

Thesis A Seminar

What's required to mark a Thesis A Seminar:

  • attend the seminar
  • assign a single overall grade for the talk
  • when determining the grade, consider the following criteria:
1. Technical quality
(50% weighting)
  • motivation of the work
  • quality of the literature survey
  • analysis of solutions considered, justification for choices
  • quality of the work-plan
2. Presentation
(50% weighting)
  • ability to communicate, clarity of description
  • structure of the talk, content/layout of slides
  • competence in handling questions

Thesis A Report

What's required to mark a Thesis A Report:

  • read it
  • assign a single overall grade
  • when determining the grade, consider the following criteria:
1. Presentation
(20% weighting)
  • quality of written english
  • structure of thesis (chapters/sections)
  • logical flow of arguments
  • effective citation and referencing
2. Background
(40% weighting)
  • clear definition/description of the topic/problem
  • literature review: comprehensiveness, citations and bibliography
3. Analysis
(30% weighting)
  • development of analysis framework; its application to work of others
  • summary and comparison of alternative approaches
  • identification of the core problems to be solved
  • for development thesis, detailed list of requirements
4. Proposal/Plan
(10% weighting)
  • effective plan for completing project
  • realistic timetable for carrying out project

Thesis B Report

What's required to mark a Thesis B Report:

  • read it
  • assign four grades and write a brief comment/justification for each criteria
  • a comment can be as little as just a couple of words or a single sentence
  • the four criteria for grading the report are:
1. Presentation
(20% weighting)
  • quality of written english
  • structure of thesis (chapters/sections)
  • logical flow of arguments
  • effective citation and referencing
2. Background
(20% weighting)
  • comprehensive description of problem space
  • reference to and analysis of other work
3. Own Work
(30% weighting)
  • originality of approach to the problem
  • quality of the final results or system
  • for a research thesis: original contribution
  • for a development thesis: quality of software
4. Evaluation
(30% weighting)
  • used appropriate analystical instruments
  • carried out analysis effectively
  • analysed results appropriately
  • realistic appraisal of achievements/limitations