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# Can anyone explain how OU degree classifications are calculated...? watch talk to the uni Official Rep

1. Heya, I'm asking on behalf of a friend

My friend has explained that they calculate your degree by assigning each grade a value and then adding it up to get your final score.

He is convinced that it's better to do badly* in some modules as if you are on a boundary (say between a high second and a first) you could end up getting a lower score overall because of the way they add it up.

This feels instinctively incorrect to me as I don't see how or why getting a higher 2 should penalise you in any way.

I had a look at the OU explanation but it makes no sense to me at all.

*He's not been sabotaging his marks, but is worrying that he should have been
2. (Original post by Puddles the Monkey)
Heya, I'm asking on behalf of a friend

My friend has explained that they calculate your degree by assigning each grade a value and then adding it up to get your final score.

He is convinced that it's better to do badly in some modules as if you are on a boundary (say between a high second and a first) you could end up getting a lower score overall because of the way they add it up.

This feels instinctively incorrect to me as I don't see how or why getting a higher 2 should penalise you in any way.

I had a look at the OU explanation but it makes no sense to me at all.

This is the grade calculator that i've seen shared about on the OU facebook group, supposedly its very accurate.
http://cleveret.net/?page_id=29
If they got a credit transfer then its only the average of the OU modules.
3. (Original post by Puddles the Monkey)
Heya, I'm asking on behalf of a friend

My friend has explained that they calculate your degree by assigning each grade a value and then adding it up to get your final score.

He is convinced that it's better to do badly in some modules as if you are on a boundary (say between a high second and a first) you could end up getting a lower score overall because of the way they add it up.

This feels instinctively incorrect to me as I don't see how or why getting a higher 2 should penalise you in any way.

I had a look at the OU explanation but it makes no sense to me at all.

4. (Original post by Carnationlilyrose)
That's exactly my thoughts - seems bizarre. I'm hoping he's fundamentally misunderstood something.
5. (Original post by Puddles the Monkey)
That's exactly my thoughts - seems bizarre. I'm hoping he's fundamentally misunderstood something.
And if he has, let's hope he finds out his mistake swiftly enough to prevent him carrying out his tactic of deliberately sabotaging his own marks.
6. (Original post by Carnationlilyrose)
And if he has, let's hope he finds out his mistake swiftly enough to prevent him carrying out his tactic of deliberately sabotaging his own marks.
Luckily he's not been sabotaging his own marks, but he says that some people do and is thinking maybe he should have been
7. (Original post by Puddles the Monkey)
Luckily he's not been sabotaging his own marks, but he says that some people do and is thinking maybe he should have been
That sounds like lunacy.
8. He might be getting confused with assignment grades. The OU has a policy of substitution, where if you do badly on one module then that score can be replaced by a substitute score.

Some people think it's better to do badly in order to get substitution. However, the substitute score is made of a weighted average of all assignment scores for that course.

So if you score 100 on the first few assignments you might feel you don't have to do the last one. But as the substitute score includes all assignment marks it's better to get anything rather than nothing. The average of 100, 100, and 40 is higher than the average of 100, 100, and 0.

The OU also apply substitution whether you want it or not. So if you got 100, 100 and 98 then the 98 would still be replaced by the average
9. This document explains how they work it out (the calculator is really good, though, and easier to understand). Basically, they do a whole load of multiplying and adding to come up with a 'weighted score' and the lower that number is, the higher your degree classification - but you achieve a low number by getting higher marks in your modules. I don't see any advantage to doing worse in your modules; all I can see would happen is that he'd do worse overall. And, afaik, the calculation doesn't take into account what actual mark you got in the module (e.g. whether you got a really high mark within the boundary or just scraped it); it's just the band it falls within that counts.
10. (Original post by Juno)
He might be getting confused with assignment grades. The OU has a policy of substitution, where if you do badly on one module then that score can be replaced by a substitute score.

Some people think it's better to do badly in order to get substitution. However, the substitute score is made of a weighted average of all assignment scores for that course.

So if you score 100 on the first few assignments you might feel you don't have to do the last one. But as the substitute score includes all assignment marks it's better to get anything rather than nothing. The average of 100, 100, and 40 is higher than the average of 100, 100, and 0.

The OU also apply substitution whether you want it or not. So if you got 100, 100 and 98 then the 98 would still be replaced by the average
Thank you, this was really helpful.

He explained it to me like this:

They take your score and then multiply them by the grade. E.g a first class is weighted grades from 360 - 630 points.
But because they double up your result, sometimes getting a lower grade actually gives you less points after multiplication and higher degree score overall. (e.g. 30 x 3 is a lower number than 60 x 2).

This doesn't seem right to me. But looking at the table it seems like they don't take your individual % mark, just whether you got 1, 2 or 3 and multiply the grade credits by that number.

But it's all a bit confusing
11. (Original post by Puddles the Monkey)
Thank you, this was really helpful.

He explained it to me like this:

They take your score and then multiply them by the grade. E.g a first class is weighted grades from 360 - 630 points.
But because they double up your result, sometimes getting a lower grade actually gives you less points after multiplication and higher degree score overall. (e.g. 30 x 3 is a lower number than 60 x 2).

This doesn't seem right to me. But looking at the table it seems like they don't take your individual % mark, just whether you got 1, 2 or 3 and multiply the grade credits by that number.

But it's all a bit confusing
That sounds like he's taken a little bit of information and got all muddled up.

There will be some individual situations where a last module won't make too much difference to the overall grade (but this will be the same at all unis) as the combination of other marks means someone is firmly within the boundary. So this can then be interpreted as you just don't have to try, and in a way that can be interpreted as self sabotaging. For example, with my last module I could go up a degree classification if I got a distinction, but any other mark would mean I didn't; even if I just scraped a pass my overall classification would stay the same. So I could have taken this as I just needed an average of 40, and that combined with substitution could have meant I didn't do some of the module at all.

The level 1 modules also don't apply to the degree classification (same as most unis). I got a lovely average of over 90 in one of mine, but it doesn't mean anything So again I suppose you could assume that doing worse doesn't matter.
12. I'm confused as to how doing worse would ever assist you?

It's a pretty convoluted system for sure, but essentially it takes your best 240 credits of modules and multiplies them against the grade you got (so 1-4x multiplier) and the scores from the 120 are doubled. You want as low a score as possible and you also need to gain at least 60 credits at the appropriate level (1 for a first, 2 for 2:1 etc.).

Ultimately given you want as low a score as possible and your scores are all added/multiplied together, doing as well as you can to get as low a score as you can seems to be the best way to go.

The only reason I could see for deliberately doing worse in something is in the scenario where one of your better grades may not count e.g. you have somehow done 270 credits, and got a grade 1 in a 30 credit module, but the rest of the modules are 60 credits, so you are unable to reach 240 credits using the 30 credites module and need to just use your 240 credits of 60 credit modules. But this is an incredibly convoluted and hypothetical scenario, and assumed that they would dismiss the grade 1 30 credits, when in reality they'd probably half the 30 credit module or something.
13. (Original post by Puddles the Monkey)
Thank you, this was really helpful.

He explained it to me like this:

They take your score and then multiply them by the grade. E.g a first class is weighted grades from 360 - 630 points.
But because they double up your result, sometimes getting a lower grade actually gives you less points after multiplication and higher degree score overall. (e.g. 30 x 3 is a lower number than 60 x 2).

This doesn't seem right to me. But looking at the table it seems like they don't take your individual % mark, just whether you got 1, 2 or 3 and multiply the grade credits by that number.

But it's all a bit confusing
I think he is incorrect here. They will always take 240 credits, so while 30 x 3 is less than 60 x 2, there will be another 30 credits they will bring in, so assuming best case it will be 30 x 3 + 30 x 1 = 60 x 2 = 120.

The only way I could see this being beneficial is depending on how they deal with the situation where you can't get exactly 240 credits from your best grades and will either have 30 too few or 30 too many - if they potentially dismiss a better grade for one that "fits" better. But I seriously doubt they would do this.
14. (Original post by Puddles the Monkey)
This doesn't seem right to me. But looking at the table it seems like they don't take your individual % mark, just whether you got 1, 2 or 3 and multiply the grade credits by that number.
Yes, this is the important part. The credits aren't multiplied by the lowest of your module overall continuous assessment score (OCAS) and overall examinables score (OES).

They take your actual module pass grade (Distinction 1, Pass 2, Pass 3, or Pass 4) and multiply the 1, 2, 3, or 4 by the number of credits, then double it if it's a Stage 3 course. Lower numbers are better.

If a Stage 3 module worth 30 credits was completed with an OCAS of 85 and an OES of 85, depending on the module assessment rules, you'd get a 1 for that class. Toward your degree classification, it would earn you just 1 x 30 x 2, or 60 points.

If you completed the same module with an OCAS of 100 (or anything down to 70) and an OES of 84, you could get a 2 for that class. Then your points toward degree classification would be 2 x 30 x 2, or 120 points. (The same would likely go for an OCAS of 84 and an OES anywhere between 70 and 100.)

15. (Original post by Juno)
That sounds like he's taken a little bit of information and got all muddled up.

There will be some individual situations where a last module won't make too much difference to the overall grade (but this will be the same at all unis) as the combination of other marks means someone is firmly within the boundary. So this can then be interpreted as you just don't have to try, and in a way that can be interpreted as self sabotaging. For example, with my last module I could go up a degree classification if I got a distinction, but any other mark would mean I didn't; even if I just scraped a pass my overall classification would stay the same. So I could have taken this as I just needed an average of 40, and that combined with substitution could have meant I didn't do some of the module at all.
This is pretty much the situation and I think what's caused all the confusion. Thank you so much! Makes a lot more sense now.
16. (Original post by Puddles the Monkey)

He explained it to me like this:

They take your score and then multiply them by the grade. E.g a first class is weighted grades from 360 - 630 points.
But because they double up your result, sometimes getting a lower grade actually gives you less points after multiplication and higher degree score overall. (e.g. 30 x 3 is a lower number than 60 x 2).
But in this example, the 30x3 is a 30-credit module (achieving a 2:2 mark) and the 60x2 one is a 60-credit module (achieving a 2:1 level). He'd need another 30 credits to be able to compare the two, with the best possibility being 30x1 if he did work worthy of a first; and the overall score for those 60 credits would still be 120. Whereas, if this example person did better in that original 30-credit module, making it, say, 30x2, the overall score is obviously a lower number (and remember, for that number, lower is good!)
17. My concern is that they take your lowest score as the main score for that module, and you can't contest the marks given. This has impact on your overall degree classification.

Updated: July 28, 2016
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