Guidelines on evaluation and marking
APhil master modules are marked on a scale from 0 to 10. These marks are interpreted as follows:
- 9 - 10: excellent (“excellente”)
- 7 - 8.9: “notable”
- 5 - 6.9: passed (“aprobado”)
- 0 - 4.9: failed (“suspenso”)
There is also a possible grade “did not attend” (“no presentado”), which can be used if someone didn’t show up.
These marks will be communicated to the Faculty office where they become part of the official record of a student's performance ("expediente"). Credits are gained for a pass mark (i.e. ≥5).
In principle, each APhil teacher should explain what his or her criteria and methods of evaluating the work of students are. But it is in the interest of uniform standards and comparability to articulate here some general default criteria of evaluation. Faculty who will be significantly deviating from this default are asked to inform their students.
The Master in Analytic Philosophy has certain educational aims, and the evaluation criteria for the modules in the APhil Master will reflect these aims. In general, it is expected that those who obtain the APhil Master have acquired the basic research skills of an analytic philosopher and basic knowledge in a number of central areas of philosophy (with a slightly different focus in the theoretical and practical itineraries), as well as in some more specialized areas of research. These research skills include, for example:
- the ability to interpret difficult philosophical texts reliably.
- the ability to articulate philosophical problems.
- the ability to articulate and develop a philosophical position, and to defend it in argument.
- the ability to evaluate philosophical arguments.
- the ability to write clearly, relevantly and to the point.
- the ability to use bibliographical tools.
As a consequence, the typical criteria in marking an essay submitted for an APhil module would include:
- Does the essay address a clearly articulated problem or question?
- How relevant is the text of the essay to addressing this problem (e.g. does it answer the question? To what extent do all the parts of the essay contribute to justifying that answer, etc)
- How clearly written is the essay?
- Are the points made presented in a clear manner? Is the line of argument explained? Is the essay appropriately structured?
- How coherent is the position defended, how good the arguments offered in its favour?
- Is the author competent in the subject matter?
- Is the work of others interpreted correctly?
- Is proper reference made to relevant work by other philosophers? Is good use being made of direct quotation (i.e. when it serves an argumentative or presentational purpose)
- Is the work of others properly and clearly acknowledged
- Is a good system of reference being used (e.g. the Harvard system etc)
Students often wonder whether their work must be original. In a minimal sense, every good essay will be original, for the author will have made his or her own choice of which position to defend, which arguments to adduce, how exactly to explain or articulate these things etc. The student is speaking with his or her own voice. Thus, even if you defend a position that many others have defended before you, and you use standard arguments to defend it, your essay will be original in this minimal sense: you are using your own words, and you have made up your own mind as to how to evaluate the standard positions and arguments. Of course, if you provide a new original argument, or defend a new position, then this makes your essay more original and interesting, and this is good. But this is not expected of you.