Study Skills – Disappointing Assessment Marks
What do you do if you get a disappointing assessment mark?

We all have times when we think we have done brilliantly then, we get an assignment back and we are really disappointed. You could just feel really bad, or you could try these steps:

Review and Understand

The first step is to work through the feedback and find out what went wrong.

  • Did you not meet the criteria?
  • What feedback were you given from the teacher?
  • Do you understand the feedback?
  • Can you work out why you got the mark you did?

If you don’t understand why you got the mark you did, it is ESSENTIAL you ask your teacher for further clarification. Otherwise you will keep making the same mistakes.

Challenge or Accept

Once you understand what the issue was, you can either accept it, or challenge it.

Accept: If you feel now that the mark was actually fair enough, then it is time to move on. There is no point beating yourself up anymore about your disappointing mark.

Instead you need to treat this as a learning process, the people who are most successful in life don’t let their mistakes get them down, they see them as a learning opportunity where they can improve and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Challenge: However, if you really think your mark was unfair and you had met all of the criteria, you can talk to your teacher and politely explain your point of view and ask if they would reconsider your mark.

Learn and Change

The only way to improve, is to work out what you did wrong, then try and fix it.

It is actually a really good idea to re-do part of the work and re-submit. Not everyone has the commitment to do this, but if you do – then wow – you will really see the benefit in your results. It might just be a case of re-doing a section of the assignment and asking your teacher to review it.

If you don’t have another go, you won’t know whether or not you have really taken the feedback on board. Some students let a bad mark get them down and start to think they are not capable of succeeding, so they don’t try to address the issue, make similar mistakes again and just feel worse. Don’t be that sort of person! Learn from what you have done and have another try.

Another good thing you can do is to ask to see other students’ work who received top grades for their assignments – to evaluate what was missing in yours or how you could improve yours next time.

It would also be a great idea for your next assignment to show your teacher a plan, or a draft early on, explaining how you think you’ve met the criteria, and seek feedback well BEFORE handing it in.