Calculating Placing Scores

March 2017

In livestock judging competition, each class consists of four animals.  The four animals in a class will always be identified by the numbers 1 through 4.  When the four animals are loose in a pen and being judged, they will be identified either by chalk markings or paint brands on their hip or back, or by neck bands. In cattle, sheep, goat or horse classes where animals are tied or held, identify animals by the order in which they are standing. Therefore, number them from left to right when standing behind them.
After placing a class of livestock, an official placing will be announced.  It is very important that each person be able to compute his or her own placing score. The method for calculating placing scores is a simple matter of addition and subtraction. The guidelines for calculating placing scores follow.

1.     There are always 50 points possible for a perfect placing.

2.     In each class, the ranking of four animals can be split into three pairs: top, middle and bottom.

3.     Officials will assign a cut to each pair in the official placing to reflect the degree of difficulty in placing that pair.  Larger cuts indicate an easy placing, smaller cuts indicate a closer placing. The total of the three cuts will NOT exceed 15 for any case.  By comparing your placing to the official placing and cuts, your placing score can be determined.

The official placing is 1-2-3-4 with cuts of 2-5-4.  At this point, compare your placing to the official placing and cuts to determine how many points were dropped.
A switch of one pair from the official is easy to calculate.  For example, if you placed the class 2-1-3-4, your score would be 48, because the top pair switch would have cost the 2-point cut on that pair.
If you placed the class 1-2-4-3, your score would be 46, because the bottom pair switch would have cost the 4-point cut on that pair.
A middle pair switch would result in a placing score of 45.
If your placing is incorrect by more than a pair switch from the official placing, the best method to calculate your placing score is as follows.

1.     In any placing, you can write out six pairs.  In this case, an example placing of 3-1-2-4 will be used.  The six pairs from this placing should be written out as:

2.      Now compare each of these six pairs from your placing back to the official placing and cuts to determine the points dropped.

3/1 = cost 7 points (5 + 2)
3/2 = cost 5 points
3/4 = correct, so it cost 0 points
1/2 = correct, so it cost 0 points
1/4 = correct, so it cost 0 points
2/4 = correct, so it cost 0 points

3.      Then calculate total the points dropped on this placing.

7 + 5 = 12

4.      Subtract the points dropped from the possible 50 points to determine your score.

50 – 12 = 38

You would receive 38 points for a placing of 3-1-2-4, when the official is 1-2-3-4 with cuts of 2-5-4.

Practice Calculations
Now use the method previously shown to calculate scores, based on the official placing and cuts listed below, as well as the placings that follow:

Official Placing is 4-3-1-2 with cuts of 5-3-4.

Placing                          Points Dropped                            Score

a.    1-4-3-2                ____________            ____________

b.    4-2-1-3                ____________            ____________

c.    3-4-2-1                ____________            ____________

d.    1-3-4-2                ____________            ____________

e.    2-1-3-4                ____________            ____________

a.    1/4 drops 8
1/3 drops 3
1/2 drops 0
4/3 drops 0
4/2 drops 0
3/2 drops 0
Points dropped for this placing is 11 resulting in a score of 39

b.    Points dropped is 14 resulting in a placing score of 36
c.    Points dropped is 9 resulting in a placing score of 41
d.    Points dropped is 16 resulting in a placing score of 34
e.    Points dropped is 39 resulting in a placing score of 11

Calculating placing scores is an important educational component for students competing in livestock judging contests. Since most contests are computer tabulated, students (or coaches) will be given a printout listing each team member’s placing scores at the conclusion of the contest (and prior to the awards). It is important to remember this is NOT a substitute for team members taking responsibility for calculating their own placing scores. This is a means by which contestants, and contest officials alike, can double check scores to make sure no mistakes have been made in the tabulation.


Mark Johnson
Associate Professor, Livestock Evaluation


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