National Moderator's Reports

Mar 2019

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Download PDF: Design and Visual Communication National Moderator's Report (PDF, 31KB)

The following report gives feedback to assist assessors with general issues and trends that have been identified during external moderation of the internal Design and Visual Communication standards in 2018.

It does not clarify specific standards but provides further insights from moderation material viewed throughout the year.


Volume of Evidence Produced

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Some students produce an excessive volume of evidence. Students are not required to submit evidence beyond the criteria of the standard. It is appropriate for teachers to guide students to produce succinct evidence in response to the achievement criteria of the standard.

In Design and Visual Communication, students submit evidence in the form of a portfolio or body of design work. The most effective student evidence has been seen where teachers guide students in the assembly of their portfolio, where the focus is on visual evidence that clearly articulates the student’s design thinking and design narrative.

Equally, where the focus of student work is iterative design exploration, technical refinement and the use of visual modes, extraneous material such as materials research has avoided distraction from the outcome. Where a students’ work is submitted as individual photographs or scanned images, each file needs to be assembled into one PDF document to ensure that design continuity is not lost when reviewed in moderation.

Excellence at Level 3

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There is some inconsistency in awarding Excellence. When making assessor decisions regarding Excellence, consideration needs to be given to the overall quality of the evidence. This is critical when making a judgement at the Merit/Excellence boundary.

Students working at Excellence level are ensuring that specialist spatial or product design knowledge is communicated through meaningful visual exploration, integration and the appropriate use of design conventions. These judgements recognised appropriate technical detail in the student evidence to address the given context and brief, rather than in attempts to explain and justify these through written annotations.

Group Work

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Group work is an acceptable form of assessment, if appropriate to the standard. When submitting group work for moderation, the teacher needs to ensure there is evidence that each student has met the standard.

The contribution of each student can be tracked and presented in a variety of ways, such as written record of teacher observation, the division of workload into clearly defined tasks, a student worklog or video diary, recordings of teacher/student conferences, etc.

Group work was not evident in the work sent in for moderation for Design and Visual Communication across all levels in 2018.

Integrated Assessment of Standards

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This refers to assessing multiple standards via one submission of student evidence. The assessment of standards may be integrated either within a subject or across subjects.

For external moderation, if the assessment is across subjects and the student evidence is physical, it can be sent on to the next subject moderator/s if required. If it is an online submission, the student evidence can be uploaded for each standard being moderated.

The Design and Visual Communication standards have been successfully integrated for assessment through a coherent portfolio within spatial or product design contexts, or from the wider disciplines of Technology, such as Fashion. Examples have involved the combination of such aspects as design heritage research, developing ideas and presentation standards. The resulting project work has provided evidence to be assessed in relation to the criteria of each separate standard.

Successful assessment resulted when teachers clearly differentiated between the students’ understanding of design research and graphics practice and presentation techniques/conventions. Integrated delivery of standards could encourage fewer units of work, while challenging students with meaningful contexts for practice-led design work and thinking.

Level of Design Thinking

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Design thinking is demonstrated by a progression of initiating and exploring, interrogating, reviewing and resolving of ideas in the areas of spatial and product design. Aspects that added depth to design thinking-led approaches for assessment involved an authentic context to set the scene and an appropriate design brief that clearly outlined the issue, level of challenge or establishes starting experiences, themes or inspiration.

Where informed decision making have been used as evidence toward outcomes, students were able to empathise and engage in purposeful design through experiencing an environmental or human-centred approach. It is vital to define parameters for the graphics practice internal standards in initiating and developing detailed visual evidence. For example, a spatial design brief could be addressed through the use of a local site where familiarity and accessibility informs inspiration.

When students offer evidence that made visual connections between the sources of their inspiration and the generation of their ideas, the resultant evidence is successful. Prompted by: ‘Where have your ideas come from?’, evidence valued the practice of designing an outcome rather than detailing a finished building or artefact. Students should conduct iterative and purposeful design evolution, where ideas blend into design development, using visual communication techniques.

Successful student evidence generated in the context of a Technology class demonstrated the necessary specialist graphics knowledge. In particular, the focus was on design practice and visual communication techniques (sketching, refined drawing, physical and/or digital modelling), as opposed to a large quantity of written material with stakeholder feedback.

Exhibition Design Knowledge and Techniques

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At Level 3, designing an exhibition complements the visual promotion of a student’s spatial or product outcome in a planned three-dimensional space for others to view and celebrate without the student presence. The suitable selection of space to ensure the understanding of audience and exhibition knowledge allowed the successful demonstration of knowledge required at this level.

Evidence must demonstrate how the development of the visual presentation and the spatial layout of the exhibition is planned and executed. For example, successful exhibition design work showed the use of graphic and polished digital techniques to refine visual and spatial layouts, narrative structure and the manipulation of imagery to give wider context. The use of mock-up techniques also supported the exploration of compositional principles and informed articulate outcomes.

Effective exhibitions were actual presentations that told a visual story and connected the qualities of the design with the intended audience through the chosen format and specialist representational techniques. For example, in architectural exhibitions, the type of visual information communicated typically related to scale and context, site features, building form and reference of structure, spatial interior qualities, functional purposes and details of the style aesthetic.

Along with the exhibition’s visual/spatial qualities, students who gained higher grades also demonstrated evidence of recording audience interaction with the exhibition event. This tended to be in the form of photographs or audience surveys. Care must be taken to ensure that photographs submitted for moderation allow for clarity of detail of the exhibition space, with conventions effectively represented for judgements at Merit and Excellence.

Students who reached Merit and Excellence through digital displays and animations used these as part of a visual presentation to make up an exhibition’s spatial attributes, and also considered the remaining spatial layout to design for audience participation.

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