New Zealand Scholarship Design and Visual Communication

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DVC assessment specification

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Examination timetable and submission dates

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Design and Visual Communication assessment specification

Scholarship Performance Standard (93602) Design and Visual Communication
Method of assessment Portfolio submission
For year 2023

Format of the assessment

Assessment will be in the form of a portfolio. A portfolio is an organised collection of evidence that clearly communicates the candidate’s knowledge, understanding, and skills relevant to the Design and Visual Communication Scholarship performance standard. Evidence may be drawn from one major unit of work, or multiple units of work, provided they are linked and integrated in generating a coherent body of material.

A candidate may submit a portfolio of work using a variety of media in any form, and up to a maximum size of A2 (420 × 594 mm). Digital media will need to be submitted in a PDF, Powerpoint, HTML, or QuickTime format. Material submitted on USB drives will NOT be assessed. Where mock-ups, prototypes, and models have been used, only comprehensive photographic evidence should be submitted.

A Scholarship portfolio should not exceed 60 pages. The submission can be made up of individual sheets, a visual diary, or a combination of both – to total no more than 60 pages.

The following presentation formats are recommended:

  • A2 or A3 sheets – A2 sheets will need to be folded to A3 size
  • presentation boards – limited to 4
  • visual diaries – limited to 2; however, high-quality photographs or photocopies of these pages are preferable
  • laminated material – limited to 6 pages.

The following are not acceptable:

  • submission material contained in clear files
  • an entirely laminated submission
  • additional packaging, e.g. boxes
  • models – only photographs are to be submitted. 

Candidates should develop their ideas within the context of a design brief or briefs, which should draw evidence on any aspect associated with spatial or product design.

Candidates will need to produce evidence at an advanced level and of an in-depth nature specifically in one of these areas. 

Students should send the best evidence possible of their work. When submitting photographs of exhibition pieces, the images should be large and contain suitable detail and definition. Larger presentations on paper can be folded to fit into the A3 bags. Do not send models, work on cardboard mountings or within folders.

Portfolio submission

Refer to the instructions (available on the Design and Visual Communication subject page) for information regarding the submission of Scholarship only and combined NCEA / Scholarship portfolios.

Special notes

Candidates will need to demonstrate the ability to:

  • generate a series of design ideas that consider and interrogate divergent and convergent possibilities, utilising idea initiation, material and strategies
  • evolve ideas in response to a design context that integrate and synthesise relevant design considerations
  • resolve design ideas creatively with depth of consideration and insight
  • use visual techniques and strategies to communicate the on-going act of designing and the design narrative
  • employ presentation techniques to promote selected ideas in a coherent and convincing manner with visual impact.

The essential nature of evidence being sought lies in the clear demonstration of quality idea generation; idea refinement and resolution; visual communicating of design thinking; and the visual promotion of selected ideas. It should be noted that this is in addition to the communication and design skills required at Level 3.

Design ideas refers to individual ideas that have design qualities that relate to both aesthetic and functional considerations as related to a design context.

Design thinking refers to a series of design ideas that consider and interrogate divergent and convergent possibilities – can be empathetic, purposeful, or meaningful to a design context.

Idea initiation refers to initial ideas that have been generated, regenerated, and explored from initiating sources – can be aesthetic, pragmatic, or theoretical.

Design context refers to typically defined by a brief situation and specifications – extends to relatable environmental, social, historical, cultural considerations.

Visual techniques refer to the modes, media, and methods associated with visually communicating information.

Visual strategies refer to the visually based approaches that act as design tools for the initiating and evolving of design ideas.

Design narrative refer to the visual story-telling of the design practice that has taken place.

Purposefully refer to the production of a body of design work that has clear intention and engages considered decision-making.

Coherent refer to range of different elements and considerations that are brought together effectively as a set, with a logical consistency, clarity and unity of thought, purpose, or narrative.

Convincing / Convincingly refer to intentions are conveyed in a compelling or detailed manner with little doubt and with utter assuredness / conviction. 

Integrating and synthesising refer to taking a diverse range of design ideas, knowledge, and skills, blending them into a coherent whole or combining them in a new way so as to produce an effective outcome aesthetically and functionally.

Sophisticated refer to engage a complexity of design thinking or visual literacy, whether reflected through in-depth and refined understanding, or utilising multiple layers of meaning.

Innovative refer to ideas that lead to something new and/or different, whether it is something original or renewed, in terms of either aesthetics or function.

Insightful refer to perceptive design thinking that challenges the conventional in order to extend and transform design ideas.

Submission instructions and authenticity requirements

Submissions instructions and authenticity requirements for NZ Scholarship Design and Visual Communication will be available to schools in Term 3 on the Design and Visual Communication subject resource page.

Design and Visual Communication resources

The links listed below are for resources to help teachers and students understand what is required for success in New Zealand Scholarship.

Performance standard

Exam materials (schedules, exemplars, etc)

2022 materials (ZIP, 25MB)

2021 materials (ZIP, 33MB)

2020 materials (ZIP, 70MB)

2019 materials (ZIP, 82MB)

2018 materials (ZIP, 79MB)

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