Loud and unclear

February 28, 2013

Every year, university tutors select and share with Times Higher Education the worst examples of students’ “howlers” in examination scripts and essays.

We thought for balance that your readers might like to see the rubric for an assessed essay that we have just been set as BA English students taking the compulsory two-part course in critical studies at Loughborough University. It reads: “Across Critical Studies 1 and 2 you MUST write about each of the 4 main theories (structuralism, Marxism, psychoanalysis and feminism). However, across Critical Studies 1 and 2 no literary or critical work can be written on more than twice. If you repeat a theory, it must be one from your formative for CS1, not from your summative for CS1, nor, when you come to write your CS2 summative, from your formative for CS2. Thus, if you wrote about Marxism and structuralism for your CS1 formative and feminism for your CS1 summative, then for CS2 you can write about psychoanalysis and either Marxism or structuralism again. Or, if you wrote on a reading theory (eg, Stanley Fish) and Marxism for your CS1 formative, and structuralism for your CS1 summative, then you can write about feminism and psychoanalysis for your CS2 work.”

Confused? Don’t worry: “If you are not sure about this, then please ask your tutor.” Good luck with that as ours couldn’t make it out either.


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