A few weeks ago, I had a graded assignment to complete and hand in for a Monday morning. Well, I handed in that assignment on time and today, I received my result: a Merit.
A Merit is a very good result. A "Pass" is the lowest successful grade for an essay whereas a "Distinction" is the highest. Since I ended up finishing the assignment in one weekend at the last minute, I had expected only a Pass at best but I was pleasantly surprised to have received a Merit. This is the first graded assignment I have completed so far, ever (the GCSEs used a different criteria).
Lower than a Pass is a referral, which is given if somebody has not reached all the grading criteria necessary to meet a Pass; however, it is possible to receive a referral, to go back and meet the criteria and still earn a Merit or a Distinction. A Fail is issued if someone does not do the work at all.