Overall Marks and Ranking - Key Facts

It is common practice for Examination Boards to produce an overall mark for students’ public examination results. These are often referred to as an average mark, classification mark or an overall mark.

The Taught Degrees Panel has recommended that if Examination Boards already calculate and therefore hold this information, they should routinely provide it directly to students, via Student Self-Service, as in any case it is disclosable to students who make a subject access request. To achieve this aim, considering the highly manual nature of the current process, the development of a new upload mechanism is planned as part of the Academic Transcripts Improvement project within the Education IT Programme.

The scope of the policy change is limited to overall marks and ranking for undergraduate degrees. The scope includes the First Public Examination and Final Honours School examinations. This includes both classifications that are produced for students studying and completing four-year undergraduate Masters courses. Postgraduate taught degree courses are out of scope.

During the project analysis and planning phase, a number of questions have arisen and, where appropriate, guidance from the Taught Degrees Panel has been sought.  These questions and their corresponding answers have been summarised into a set of Key Facts, which are detailed below:

If Examination Boards calculate information on overall marks and ranking, it should be provided to students. If Boards do not calculate this information, they are not obliged to begin to do so.

The information must be reviewed and formally ratified by the Examination Board if it is to be formally released to students via Student Self-Service. This is particularly important in cases where the overall mark is the main criterion for degree classification.

The process for submitting overall marks and ranking will be formalised to bring it into line with submission of main exam results, in that the sign-off sheet will now include confirmation from the Chair of the Examination Board that the overall marks and ranking have been ratified.

Rankings should not be released to students where the number in the classification or cohort is five or fewer.

Where the number in the classification is five or fewer, but the number in cohort is more than five, the ranking in cohort should be released but not the ranking in classification.

Where the entire cohort is five or fewer, no rankings will be released, only the overall mark will be available against the student record.

As this is a GDPR related requirement, it will be enforced via the solution and Examination Boards will not need to take any action.

In the case of degree outcomes released later than the rest of the cohort (for example following a Proctors’ investigation or late mitigating circumstances notice to examiners), such late outcomes will not affect the already released ranking in classification and cohort for the rest of the cohort, i.e. a student ranked 14th will remain ranked 14th even if a late result is released. 

The new upload tool provides a facility to upload late results.  Use this option only in the case of degree outcomes released later than the rest of the cohort.

The current practice should be formally adopted, and overall marks should be calculated to (up to) two decimal places.

Overall marks should not be changed, in cases where the board of examiners have decided to award a higher classification despite the student not having met the usual threshold, following receipt of a mitigating circumstances notice to examiners (formerly a factors affecting performance application).

Positions in cohort should follow classification precedence, i.e. all students awarded a first class degree will rank ahead of any awarded a 2:1, 2:1s above 2:2s, and 2:2s above third class degrees, pass/unclassified degrees, and fails.

Yes the system will ensure this.  The overall mark and ranking data can be uploaded, however, until the main exam results have been released the information will not be shown via Student Self-Service, neither will it appear on reports.

Student Notification:

If the main exam results have already been released, and the overall mark and ranking data is subsequently uploaded, then the solution will send an automated email notification to let the student know that overall mark and ranking information is now available via Student Self-Service (similar to the email notification that is sent when main exam results are published).

As for FHS examinations, if boards calculate information on overall marks and ranking, it should be provided to students. If boards do not calculate this information, they are not obliged to begin to do so.

No, these should not be uploaded. When the finalised year outcome is available, this may be uploaded as a late result.

You can either:

Enter your prepared data directly into the appropriate template spreadsheet provided with the tool, OR, 
Have your data in the right format in another file or extract (such as csv or spreadsheet), so that you can easily copy / paste it into the appropriate template spreadsheet.  The data required is detailed below:

  •  Student Number 
  • Classification 
  • Overall Mark 
  • Position in Cohort 
  • Position in Classification

Student Number - the student number only (e.g. 12345678)
Classification - the classification or year outcome for the examination (details on format below - see templates)
Overall Mark - a number between 0 and 100 representing the student’s overall performance in the examination (up to two decimal places, e.g. 77.22)
Position in Cohort - a number indicating a student’s ranking relative to all the students considered by the examination board (integer, e.g. 2)
Position in Classification - a number indicating a student’s ranking relative to all the students awarded the same classification or year outcome by the examination board (integer, e.g. 2)

Please note that if your source ranking (position) data is expressed as, for example, "6 of 19", you will need to use standard Excel functionality to create a column with the position shown independently from the number in cohort (e.g. as "6").  Please contact the Student Systems Support Centre or your IT team if you need help using this Excel function.
If you have a departmental system for examinations, you can talk to your IT team about how you will produce the data in the format required. 

Note: If you do not calculate and hold all of the data items in the table above, the minimum data is student number, classification, and at least one of the other columns.
How do I know which template spreadsheet is right for me?

There are currently three spreadsheet templates, supporting different allowable outcomes for the examination.  More may be added over time.

Template           Allowable values         Meaning
PassFail             D, P, F                           Distinction, Pass, Fail

HPPassFail        HP, P, Fail                     Honors Pass, Pass, Fail 

Honours             1, 21, 22, 3                    First, Second Class Division One, Second Class Division Two, Third

If you cannot see an appropriate template for your classification scheme, please contact the Student Systems Support Centre or the project team.

Entering Summary Totals

Summary totals also need to be entered into eVision during the upload process.  At the time of upload, you will need to know, and have at hand: 

  • Total in Cohort (the total number of students considered by the examination board)
  • Number of results in each Classification/Year Outcome

Students will see their own overall marks and ranking data within Student Self-Service. Access is via My Exams → Academic and Assessment Results, then click to show overall marks and rankings.  

If the data is available, and overall marks and ranking data has been uploaded, the student will receive an email notification letting them know that the information is available.

Reporting for colleges and departments on results information will be continued via eVision, using the existing access permissions.

Click below for information on exams and assessments during the coronavirus pandemic:


Contact us

Academic Transcript project
Location: Gibson Building
Email: omar@it.ox.ac.uk