Assessing Design Innovation: a research & development project for the DfES and the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority

Bain, Jennifer; Kimbell, Richard; Miller, Soo and Stables, Kay. 2004. Assessing Design Innovation: a research & development project for the DfES and the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. Project Report. Technology Education Research Unit, UK. [Report]

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Abstract or Description

The report 'Building on Success: A report to Ministers from the Design & Technology Strategy Group' identified the problem of design examinations at GCSE. The best grades were too frequently going to successful rule-followers rather than innovative designers. Following this report, the Department for Education and Skills commissioned the Technology Education Research Unit (TERU at Goldsmiths) to develop approaches to assessment that would recognise innovative and team-based performance. Bain was a leading member of the research team.
This research involved working with a selection of schools in three Local Education Authorities across England and through three phases of research: creating descriptors of design innovation, examining classroom practices that encourage design innovation and creating activities to assess innovative performance. Bain was involved in all three phases of this research and had particular responsibility for the development of group-work activities and the associated test administration scripts. Based on findings from 390 booklet responses from students, data analysis was both qualitative and quantitative. Findings from the data were grouped into 6 categories and a series of 12 recommendations were made to the Department for Education and Skills.

Item Type:

Report (Project Report)

Additional Information:

The assessment methodology developed through this project has had a major impact on the GCSE examination system, and it now forms a core part of approach used by the Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examination Board syllabuses for GCSE and AS level Product Design. Additionally the approach forms the basis of new research commissioned by BECTA concerning the e-assessment of these key qualities (project e-scape). The work has been widely disseminated through conferences and publications both nationally and internationally.


design education; GCSE; group-work

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies


30 June 2004

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

27 Jun 2008 13:31

Last Modified:

02 Jan 2019 16:09


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