BF3308 PERSONAL TAXATION AND TAX POLICY
The purpose of this document is to explain the qualities shown by essays within each of the marking ranges. In other words, this guidance helps you to understand what makes a good essay and the qualities your answer should demonstrate for the mark you aspire to achieve.
The marking ranges are these:
|Standard||Mark range %|
|Fail||0% to 39%|
|Pass||40% to 49%|
|Good||50% to 59%|
|Very good||60% to 69%|
|Excellent||70% to 79%|
This document is prepared specifically for the pre-seen essay question in the January 2021 tax exam. You should work on your answer before the exam and submit your answer as part of your January 2021 exam online submission. More details about this process will be provided on Blackboard.
Your answer will be marked with reference to the expectations set out in this document. You should not assume that all (or some) of these expectations are relevant for exam based essay questions on other modules, not least because the assessments on other modules might not require the same degree of independent reading and research as the tax module – and on other modules the exam questions might not be pre-seen.
You can, up until the end of the autumn term, submit a sample of your work to Robert for feedback. The sample should be no more than 800 words. You must submit your sample using the link provided on Blackboard.
FAIL 0% to 39%
- An answer that shows some understanding and knowledge of wealth taxation and UK taxes, but one that is wholly descriptive, with no personal interpretation or analysis (e.g., the answer simply provides quotations, or repeats the words and work of others without any supporting analysis).
- The work does not answer the question (e.g., the author has missed the point of the question). There are serious errors and/or omissions – including the omission of calculations supporting the discussion.
- The answer may be poorly written making it difficult to understand many of the points. The author’s voice and viewpoint is difficult (or impossible) to discern from the words used.
- The answer is largely based on the work (including the ideas) of another person without proper acknowledgement.
- An answer that is too short.
PASS 40% to 49%
- An answer to the question that reaches pass standard, dominated by description but with very little interpretation or analysis. In other words: the author’s voice struggles to emerge and it is not always clear what the author believes – and why.
- There are likely to be errors and misunderstandings and the answer may lack: [a] coherency (e.g., it may not be a whole answer with a strong narrative flow, but a series of related points that are not well linked together) and/or [b] consistency (e.g., the answer may explicitly or implicitly contain contradictions).
- Some relevant understanding and knowledge of wealth taxation and relevant UK taxes are demonstrated, but in a limited way (e.g., lots of quotations from sources; lots of repetition of the work of others; lots of description).
- Concepts and terms are used in a loose, vague or imprecise way, with no attempt at providing definitions to explain the elements of the author’s viewpoint.
- Little evidence of critical engagement with relevant literature and sources and no evidence of wider reading and research.
- A limited, narrow range of sources may be used.
- Calculations are included, but perhaps not strongly related to the author’s position; the chosen calculations might not be the most appropriate, given any analysis of interpretation that is provided.
- The chosen structure results in repetition and makes it difficult for the author’s viewpoint and analysis to come through clearly. The author’s position may struggle to emerge.
- The work contains grammatical and typographical errors which impede the author’s ability to convey their position with clarity and accuracy, particularly in understanding important points.
- Errors in referencing.
- An answer that is very short.
GOOD 50 to 59%
- A good answer to the question, with personal interpretation and analysis but there are likely to be gaps in the analysis and the underlying rationale for the author’s viewpoint (e.g., the choices made by the author may not always be clearly explained).
- The analysis may be unbalanced or biased in places. In other words: the author may offer a viewpoint based only on a narrow range of sources, or may fail to address potential criticisms of their viewpoint.
- Relevant knowledge and understanding of wealth taxation, and relevant UK taxes is clearly shown.
- The author’s position is explained and supported with appropriate references to the literature, but the answer may be dominated by the work of others and the link between the author’s viewpoint and the analysis may not always be clear. To put this another way: the author’s “voice” struggles to emerge.
- Concepts and terms are used in a loose, vague or imprecise way, although some limited definitions are likely to be provided.
- Generally an answer that is consistent and coherent, but which may lack a strong narrative flow and which provides only modest analysis and critical discussion of relevant literature.
- The calculations are appropriate chosen, but perhaps not strongly linked to the analysis.
- There may be errors or misunderstandings.
- Over-reliance on a modest number of sources, with no or limited evidence of wide reading and research.
- In places there might be grammatical or typographical errors which impede the author’s ability to express themselves with clarity and accuracy, but which do not undermine the reader’s ability to understand the essential elements of the author’s position.
- Largely accurate referencing.
- The chosen structure may impede the author’s voice from emerging, and may result in repetition. There are likely to be places where the author could express themselves more concisely.
VERY GOOD 60% to 69%
- A very good answer to the question, where the author’s viewpoint, personal interpretation and analysis form a significant part of the answer. It is clear why the author holds their position, and this position is supported by relevant critical discussion and analysis. The analysis is balanced, and is likely to address any potential criticisms or weaknesses that might be levelled at the author’s position.
- The structure is largely coherent, consistent and with a strong narrative flow.
- Most concepts and terms are used (and defined) precisely, appropriate to the author’s answer, with relevant definitions provided.
- The literature is used to support the author’s viewpoint and analysis in a critical way, recognising the strengths and weaknesses of such literature. Instead of repeating verbatim the views of others, synthesis is likely to be provided.
- Description is used to support the analysis, although there may be some irrelevant description (or description that may, in places, result in minor loss of focus).
- One or two minor errors or mistakes, but no serious errors or omissions.
- Demonstrates breadth of research and reading.
- Appropriately chosen calculations, clearly used to support the analysis.
- Largely free of grammatical and/or typographical errors (in a small number of places these might impede the reader’s ability to understand what is being said, but not in a significant way or in a way that makes it difficult to understand key points).
- Accurate referencing.
- A structure that largely avoids repetition and which facilitates the clear articulation of the author’s viewpoint and analysis; three may be scope, in places, to write more concisely.
EXCELLENT 70% to 79%
- An excellent answer to the question where the author’s viewpoint and analysis dominate the answer throughout. It is clear why the author holds their position, and this position is supported by relevant critical discussion and analysis. The analysis is balanced, and addresses any potential criticisms or weaknesses with the approach that has been adopted. There are no significant gaps in the analysis. The answer demonstrates, where appropriate, the author’s ability to adopt a tentative position, and to write with subtlety and nuance.
- The literature is used to support the author’s viewpoint and analysis in a critical way, recognising the strengths and weaknesses of this literature.
- The author’s viewpoint provides a strong narrative flow (the “driving force” that underpins their writing and essay – to put this another way: the “string” that binds the work together).
- An answer that is coherent, clear and consistent, written in an authoritative way demonstrating the author’s command of the subject area.
- Clear evidence of extensive reading and research, appropriately incorporated into the answer. In other words: the author will demonstrate their ability to identify and incorporate appropriate materials/literature to support their viewpoint. The author will demonstrate, where relevant, their ability to present a synthesis of relevant literature. There is no needless quotation or citation of sources (there is likely to be paraphrasing instead).
- No irrelevant description: the description provided supports the author’s viewpoint and analysis. No serious errors, mistakes or misunderstandings.
- Concepts and terms are used precisely, with definitions appropriate to the author’s viewpoint provided.
- Appropriately chosen calculations, clearly used to support the author’s analysis and incorporated in a way that does not disrupt the flow of the argument.
- Largely free of grammatical and/or typographical errors (if these are present they don’t impede the reader’s ability to understand what the author is saying).
- Accurate referencing.
- A structure that avoids repetition and which facilitates the clear articulation of the author’s viewpoint and analysis.
OUSTANDING 80% plus
- An answer that demonstrates all of the qualities of those in the “Excellent” category, but which goes further in terms of the depth and breadth of analysis and personal interpretation.
- Answers in this category will demonstrate novelty in the sense that they are of a standard that is unusual – but not impossible – for a student at final year undergraduate level to produce. Such novelty might be demonstrated through content or the approach adopted by the author, and may arise for a variety of reasons including (but not limited to) the following:
o The author’s approach to their research and reading (it will not have been narrow: the author would have exposed themselves to a wide range of sources and materials, perhaps drawing upon insights from outside of the usual literature).
- The sophistication of the analysis.
- The author’s ability to provide an answer to the question that is genuinely thought provoking, challenging and original.
- Work towards the upper end of this category is likely to be of a standard capable of publication.