1 Vukazahn

Reflective Essay Marking Criteria

Reflection is a difficult skill to master, and along with criticality (closely linked) these are two academic literacies that students find hardest to master in the first year of any discipline.

With proper guidance and training, however, reflective practice allows students to critically analyse their own work, helping them to take an objective look at their own skills, abilities and approach, and allowing them to continually improve their practice. It can help students to self-evaluate, as well as being a form of self-assessment in itself.

Reflection is usually most effective as an assessed piece when looking back at a piece of work or process. It might ask the student to consider their contribution to group work, for example, or their performance in a placement, presentation or other activity. Alternatively, it might simply reflect on a student’s development within the discipline. Scaffolding is useful: start with a short formative reflection, and use that as an opportunity to discuss and develop critical reflective approaches, before a longer summative piece.

Workload guide

Preparation time Student workloadMarking time

Literacies and skills exhibited

  • Reflecting, evaluating, assessing and judging

  • Working independently, learning independently and being self-directed


  • Case studies

  • Peer assessment


Reflective pieces are usually submitted in essay form, although usually between 500-1000 words. The academic voice will differ from that of an essay, and so marking criteria that focus on reflection, criticality, and self-awareness are necessary.


As for a standard essay assignment, but focusing on the student’s ability to critique their own practice and reflect on internal and external impacts. Group feedback is useful in helping all students to develop their approach to reflection and criticality: and this may form part of a workshop to develop these aspects.

Further reading

Student guides on reflection and criticality (University of Leicester)

Facilitating reflective practice and self-assessment of competence through the use of narrativesThe University of Newcastle, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia.

Guide to time involved in preparation, marking, and student workload:   Low   Medium   High

Next submission deadlines

●      12 noon on Friday, 23 February 2018

●      12 noon on Friday, 24 August 2018

Completing your Reflective Portfolio Assignment: guidelines and tips

The full guidance for the Reflective Portfolio Assignment contains details including:

  • what we are looking for
  • our marking criteria     
  • submission dates
  • assignment layout

As well as the marking criteria, you should read our tips on preparing to write your assignment and our tips on completing your assignment before you start.

Example essays 

These are examples of essays which have been awarded a ‘PASS’ (The authors have given us permission to share their work.)

●      Essay 1            Essay 1 markers' comments

●      Essay 2            Essay 2 markers' comments

●      Essay 3            Essay 3 markers' comments

You will notice that the essays are different from one another.  Each one has been awarded a 'PASS’ because it is  a personal, honest and critically reflective account of the author's development as a clinical educator.

Marking scheme  

The standards required for your assignment to pass come from, and are consistent with, those of the University of Edinburgh’s current Postgraduate Common Marking Scheme. 

This means your assignments will be awarded a ‘PASS’, ‘NOT YET PASS’ or ‘FAIL’.  The marker and moderator will compile feedback on your assignment based on our marking guidelines. 

If the Board of Examiners decide that your assignment does not meet the criteria to pass, they will mark it as ‘NOT YET PASS’.  If this happens, you should arrange to have a discussion with a member of the Programme team.

You can resubmit your assignment once. The resubmission date will be the next deadline for assignment submissions for the Programme.

If, when you resubmit it, your assignment still does not yet qualify as a 'PASS', it will be awarded a ‘FAIL’.  If this happens, you will not be able to complete Level 3 of the CEP at this attempt  If you wished to try to attain Level 3, you would need to undertake the whole Programme again, and we would support this.

The UK Professional Standards Framework (Higher Education Academy)

The UK Professional Standards Framework can help you assess your own clinical education practice.

It is a good idea to complete it before you start your assignment. Many participants have found it useful to complete the Framework at different times throughout the CEP. For example, when they start the Programme, after they have had their teaching observation and before they start the assignment.

Clinical Educator Programme learning cards 

The CEP learning cards help you record, and reflect on, what you learn during the workshops. Your reflections will help you gather the evidence you need to complete your assignment.

In case you did not complete the learning cards after you attended the workshops, here are links to all of them:

●      Effective Supervision Learning Card (new 2 hour)

●      Effective Supervision Learning Card (old 3 hour)

●      Giving Effective Feedback Learning Card

●      Impromptu Clinical Teaching Learning Card

●      Introduction to the MBChB Learning Card (old/pre 2016)

●      Introduction to the MBChB Learning Card (new/from 2016)

●      Introduction to Simulation Learning Card

●      Mentoring Skills Learning Card

●      Mindfulness Learning Card

●      OSCE Station Design

●      Planning and Evaluating Your Teaching Learning Card

●      Presentation Skills Learning Card

●      Small Group Teaching Learning Card

●      Using Technology in Your Teaching Learning Card

●      Writing Learning Outcomes Learning Card

Leave a Comment


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *