Educational Assessment in Emerging Areas of Design: Toward the Development of a Systematic Framework Based on a Study of Rubrics

ROHRBACH, Stacie (2009). Educational Assessment in Emerging Areas of Design: Toward the Development of a Systematic Framework Based on a Study of Rubrics. In: Undisciplined! Design Research Society Conference 2008, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK, 16-19 July 2008.


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This paper presents a formative study that investigates the perceived effectiveness of rubrics as assessment tools by communication and industrial design educators and first year design students in the context of a design studio. The project is motivated by the increasing challenge of assessing subjective and intangible attributes that are associated with the teaching of emerging areas in design, and society’s growing need for measurable results. The goal of this project is to shed light on the perceived successes and failures of a specific assessment tool, known as a rubric, and use this information to improve students’ and educators’ understanding, value, and use of assessment tools.

Based on the characteristics of the emerging design landscape, this paper argues the importance of assessments and the need for their improvement. It explains the construction of three assessment forms that are based on successful models used in other disciplines. This paper describes how the forms were used throughout the semester to provide an overview of course objectives and assess individual projects. It explains the contents of a questionnaire and describes how it was used at the end of the semester to evaluate students’ perceptions of the assessments forms. Feedback gained from the instructors indicated that rubrics were not more efficient than other forms of assessment but did aid the assessment of intangibles and did not reduce students’ creativity. The results of the questionnaire showed that students perceived the attributes of rubrics more positively than other forms of assessment but still favoured handwritten comments. These findings informed the proposal of a set of considerations that should be taken into account when creating assessment forms for use in classrooms that focus on emerging areas of design. They describe the importance of personal comments, clear terminology, a planned introduction of the tool, and an open-mind.

Rubrics; Assessment; Evaluation; Pedagogy; Education; Learning; Feedback.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (-)
Depositing User: Ann Betterton
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2009
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 13:49

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