The Assessment of Design in the First Three Years of Secondary School
This article arose as a result of a research project carried out by the authors while on secondment to Warwick University during 1984-85, during which time a common concern for the assessment of lower school design emerged. This common concern, despite the authors varying backgrounds and experience, led to the notion that the assessment of lower school design did not reflect the activity undertaken by the pupils.
As a group of Design teachers, the authors felt that, in their experience, the assessment of this type of work had not progressed in line with the approach itself. Evidence had been seen of Design work being assessed by the same criteria as traditional craft work. Not only does this fail to give due credit to pupils but it is also a hindrance to the development and full use of the problem solving approach. While the product remains of major significance, when assessment is being carried out, the processes leading to a solution are undervalued by both teacher and pupil: but Design implies process and product, not simply product. The research project takes the form of a survey involving three large secondary schools in the City of Coventry. The sample schools were carefully chosen as we felt they not only provided a good socio-economic contrast but that they also represented a broad geographical area of the city, which covered three quite distinct catchment areas. The study was conducted in all cases within the Craft, Design and Technology departments of the sample schools. As CDT teachers, we felt that familiarity with the subject would enable us to concentrate upon the assessments rather than the products themselves.