There’s no doubt that the move to iterative designing, and away from a linear process, is one of the biggest changes in the reformed Design and Technology qualifications at both GCSE and A Level. So what will this mean for you and your students? Here are some of the key changes we’ve made at OCR – including some exciting options.
When we created the reformed qualification, we pretty much went back to the drawing board. We wanted to make sure that, in making the move to iterative designing for the non-examined assessment, we were reflecting what happens in the industry today and producing a specification for a 21st century design environment.
To achieve this, we worked closely with Higher Education and industry. Not only did we embrace the research and methods developed by universities such as Cambridge and Goldsmiths, but we also listened to practising designers and engineers who’ve challenged approaches used in design and technology over the years. We also considered the wider implications of design and commerciality in areas such as retail, manufacturing and health and safety regulation.
One point that kept cropping up in our research was that talking about the ‘client’ or ‘customer’ is more associated with retail and one-off/bespoke projects. So in the reformed qualification, our students will learn to consider the interests of many different stakeholders to support different approaches to the design process. In fact, understanding the requirements and interests of different stakeholders becomes more important as students progress through their learning.
The principles of how to approach projects are the same at each qualification level. What differs is the skill, complexity of thinking and development as students’ progress to A Level.
In the reformed qualifications, 70% of the assessment of a design project focuses on the actual process of designing: the thinking, problem-solving and experimentation to enable creativity, innovation or even invention. Students draw on feedback and opinion from others as well as managing their own thought process to tell a story of the design iterations they’ve been through. This is a real-time chronological account of the process they’ve gone through, which will only be heightened by the use of audio and video clips.
Here’s an example of the process for a design project:
For us, it’s all about getting students thinking like designers, and giving them relevant experience. So, they now have a lot more freedom in their project work – they can mix up materials and processes rather than having to just work in one. Our new approach also means that if you, as a teacher, have a particular interest in that the students also wish to follow, for example, fashion, you’re free to focus on that – although we do ask you to take a broad view of whether it’s appropriate and best for your students.
With the project work, students must make a final prototype(s) to present the design solution they’ve developed. The example of Dragons’ Den is a good way of explaining it to them. Many pitches to the Dragons (potential stakeholders as investors) are presented with prototypes that demonstrate the aesthetics and functions of an intended product, but haven’t always gone through the manufacturing stages to make them viable for retail. Students may need to produce more than one prototype to clearly communicate the intention of their design to stakeholders. This new approach is designed to enable more students to achieve an outcome that allows them to fully realise their design skills.
When it comes to assessment, this is a brief outline of the key requirements for the iterative process:
You can read more about assessment in the specifications, which you can find from our GCSE and AS/A Level qualification pages.
The evidence we’re looking for is:
So, as we move away from controlled assessment, there are different parameters for control. If you’d like to know more about these, please get in touch with our Design and Technology team at D&T@ocr.org.uk.
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Jonny Edge - Subject Specialist - Design and Technology
Jonny joined OCR in April 2014 as a Subject Specialist within OCR’s Maths and Technical team. Jonny has been leading the development of the reformed GCSE (9-1), AS and A Levels in Design and Technology, and responsible for the commissioning, creation and delivery of resources and CPD events for the subject. He also looks after many of the legacy qualifications and run a consultative forum for Design, Technology and Engineering to ensure that we are hearing from all subject stakeholders to build the perceptions of Design and Technology both within and outside of OCR.
Jonny has taught Design and Technology and led departments in Design and Technology, working in both secondary comprehensive and independent schools in the East of England. He has also completed a Master in Education in Arts, Culture and Education, all of this following 12 years working in the design industry.