Sharing Understanding of Assessment Criteria in Design Project Tutorials:

Some Observations of, and Implications for, Practice


  • Sheona Thomson Queensland University of Technology



Criterion-referenced assessment, Assessment, Design studio


This paper discusses and develops several findings out of a small action research project conducted in the context of a first year design studio. The basis for the project arose out of feedback that design critique is ambiguous, subjective and largely unqualified from the student point of view. While we implement criterion-referenced assessment (CRA) in design units, it is a struggle to identify and clearly express criteria and standards for design projects. Tutors may also struggle, as they relate their own frames of reference for design quality to the order of a CRA matrix. If the academics leading design units have difficulty with defining and agreeing on objectives and the standards against which student achievement

is assessed, then where does that leave the student? The paper proposes framing a space of shared understanding by incorporating a dialogical address to criteria and standards into teaching practices, cumulatively expanding this discussion into more pervasive operational and developmental terms that embrace both the procedural and the (often delightful and surprising) declarative knowledge of our students.


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How to Cite

Thomson, Sheona. 2007. “Sharing Understanding of Assessment Criteria in Design Project Tutorials:: Some Observations Of, and Implications For, Practice”. Idea Journal 8 (1):38-50.



Design Research Paper