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Exploring the Value of Democratic Assessment in Design-Based Activities of Graphical Education

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Assessment in Engineering Graphics

Tagged Division

Engineering Design Graphics

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.691.1 - 22.691.19



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Paper Authors

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Niall Seery University of Limerick Orcid 16x16

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Diarmaid Lane University of Limerick

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Donal Canty University of Limerick

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Validating the holistic comparative assessment of graphical design activities by aggregating subjectivityThe central focus of Design and Communication Graphics is to engage students in a designdriven subject encouraging innovation, creative expression and conceptual designinvestigation and validation. Graphical design portfolios are an authentic measure of alearners’ capability, focusing both on the application of geometric principles and thecommunication of design ideas. Balancing the structures that scaffold evidence basedoutcomes with encouraging diversity in approach, development and proof of concept rendersassessment a complicated task.Often subject specialists confidently make holistic subjective judgements about the quality ofa design solution, which usually align with evidence of capability. Shifting from principlesbased problem solving to creative exploration and synthesis, questions the robustness ofcriterion referenced assessment models. The ability to subjectively assess a design solution isa professional skill valued within teacher education. Exploring assessment for learning asopposed to assessment of learning, calls for an approach that has the capacity to capturediversity while still assessing core competencies and capability.This paper explores the nature of design activities and presents the performance of a cohort ofinitial technology and graphics teacher education students when challenged with a designproblem. A peer assessment approach was employed to enable students subjectively rateeach peer’s capability and rank their performance on a norm referenced scale. Students’progression through the stages of the design activity was tracked and the appropriateness ofselected design functions was evaluated. The use of a comparative pair’s engine (Kimbell2010) was used to aggregate students’ professional judgements, ultimately devising a rankorder.This paper highlights the relationship between the rated competencies of each student and thederived ranked order of the cohort performance. The use of a holistic assessment approach isdiscussed in relation to both the value of independence and embedded professional judgementbut also the validity of the resulting ranked order of student performance. The paper alsodiscusses the value of inverting the learning process from a paradigm where achievingcompetencies in the predefined learning outcomes was replaced with defining the meaningfor the specified outcome.

Seery, N., & Lane, D., & Canty, D. (2011, June), Exploring the Value of Democratic Assessment in Design-Based Activities of Graphical Education Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17972

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