Exam Boards and Assessments<>

Calculating results

What is a calculator?

Once you have entered the level-4 assessment results you can calculate a student’s overall result based upon the marking scheme in use for the course.

assessement results

are used to calculate

module results

are used to calculate

course results

are used to allocate

the final grade

Calculating a student’s results may be quite complicated, depending on the rules associated with the module. For example, if a module is assessed through a theory exam, a practical exam and two essays, the marking scheme could look like this:

Marks

Pass Mark

Weighting

theory exam

100

40

.4

practical exam

100

40

.4

essay 1

100

40

.1

essay 2

100

40

.1

In addition, the student has to pass both exams in order to receive an overall pass at module level.

In addition, the student may receive a 20% penalty for the late submission of an essay.

In the case of Student A:

Gross Mark

Penalty %

Net Mark

Weighting

Weighted Mark

Pass/Fail

theory exam

38

38

.4

15.2

Fail

practical exam

85

85

.4

34.0

Pass

essay 1

80

20

64

.1

6.4

Pass

essay 2

87

87

.1

8.7

Pass

Total Mark

64.3

Grade

Fail

So Student A, despite receiving a respectable overall mark of 64% has, nevertheless, failed because of the rule that both exams must be passed.

The example illustrates the complexity which may lie behind the calculation of module results.

In order to simplify the calculation of results Quercus allows you to attach a calculator to a module and then calculate the results automatically once the marks have been entered.

Calculators are set up according to your institution’s grading scheme and allow you to automatically perform calculations similar to the one above.

Calculators can be run in several modes:

you can set a Quercus parameter DYNAMIC_CALCULATION_IN_USE which will run the calculator automatically as soon as you enter results

you can run the calculators individually against the assessment results of a particular module or a particular student

you can run the calculators for all the students on a module

Note: Your institution will have its own, institution-specific calculator. The examples in this chapter are drawn from CampusIT’s standard calculator.

Overriding the results of calculators

Sometimes you may want to override an automatically calculated result.

Consider Student B below and compare with our previous Student A.

Gross Mark

Penalty %

Net Mark

Weighting

Weighted Mark

Pass/Fail

theory exam

42

42

.4

16.8

Pass

practical exam

41

41

.4

16.4

Pass

essay 1

50

20

40

.1

4.0

Pass

essay 2

60

20

48

.1

4.8

Pass

Total Mark

42.0

Grade

Pass

Student B has a much lower overall mark than Student A, but, because he has scraped through both his exams he has managed an overall pass (because Student A failed the theory exam she has automatically received an overall fail). And yet, there are only four marks separating the two students in the theory exam. So this looks like an injustice to Student A who, overall, seems a higher-performing student than Student B.

The solution would be to edit Student B’s result to grant her a pass.

You could do this in one of two ways:

you could edit the gross mark awarded in the theory exam (perhaps moving it up to 40, the pass level)

you could change the grade from ‘Fail’ to ‘Pass’

The first option would have the effect of slightly inflating Student B’s result, so you prefer the second option. However, if you choose this option and the calculator is re-run, the edited ‘Pass’ will revert to a ‘Fail’ as the underlying marks haven’t changed and the calculator will re-calculate based upon these ‘raw’ marks. To prevent this from happening you can lock edited results so that they are not reset if a calculator is re-run.

This ability to override calculated results is used extensively during the exam board process. Be aware that it may lead to discrepancies between students’ assessment results and their final grades. To ensure that any such editing is done in a transparent way you can add a note to an edited result which can indicate which the result has been edited and why it is no longer in line with the low-level assessments.

» See Adjusting results during the exam board process for information about how to adjust results.

The calculation sequence

Calculators are run at various points during the exams and assessment process. Different calculators exist for each level in the course structure and these calculators are run sequentially so that the results cascade from one level to another.

step 1 >

step 2 >

step 3 >

step 4 >

assessement results*

are used to calculate …

module results**

are used to calculate …

course results

are used to allocate …

the final grade

* Step 1 may be at the lower, question level for some institutions.

** There may be additional steps between step 2 and step 3 if you use sub-modules (so that sub-module results can be aggregated to module level).

First you run the level-4 calculator against the assessment results.

This calculates the assessment results for students based upon the marking scheme (see above) and, based upon these results, calculates the resulting module grades. Level-4 calculators may be run dynamically as the assessment marks are entered or they may be run at a specific, scheduled time once all the marks are in.

The next calculators run are at the module level (if there are two levels of modules, there will be two levels of calculation). These calculators are used to populate the result and grade at course-instance level and are generally run at behest of an authorised administrator pressing the calculate option. The process would be carried out when all assessment results were in.

The overall calculator is run at the end of year. This collates all the results of the students to the instance. (Not all customers use this option).

Finally the award calculator is run. This is used to move students into the graduate table (for some customers) and the main reason is to give the student their award and classification.

The DYNAMIC_CALCULATION_IN_USE parameter

If the DYNAMIC_CALCULATION_IN_USE parameter is set to TRUE via the Control Centre, the module result is calculated automatically each time you save an assessment result (unless the module result is locked).