Assessment issues in a professionally oriented product design course
Katz, T., Covill, D., Morris, R. and Mortezaei, R. (2008) Assessment issues in a professionally oriented product design course In: Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, E&PDE’08, Barcelona, Spain, 2008.
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This study considers the issues that arise from assessing students in vocational courses. Here, the need for authenticity in their assessment activities, such as public performance, may militate against providing a safe and creative learning environment where mistakes can be made without undue consequences. The University of Brighton Product Design programmes utilise a number of methods to cater for this: two of the most promising are discussed here. Working in groups and group assignments are realistic and valid, yet provide intrinsic peer support for the participants. Rigorous assessment of group work and individuals within them is often seen as problematic, but a well-developed process of eliciting the contribution to give robust individual assessments is described, with a discussion of the team and students’ perceptions. For assessment of individual projects, research into the use of the creativity suite (part of InQbate, the CETL in Creativity at the University) highlighted the stress that assessment can bring, and the effects of the assessment process and environment. Two extremes of assessment were used (informal small group / presentation in a broadcast studio), and the student and staff views collated. Finally, a way forward is proposed, where and reflective use of appropriate and realistic assessment is used to develop students’ coping skills. The influence of emotional intelligence and a staged engagement of students in emotionally challenging activities is shown to be consistent with effective professional formation.
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