Tips from Examiners – What can go wrong with your Internal Assessments and Major Project?

Don’t you just hate the Design Technology IA/Major Project criteria? Is it confusing? Well here are some tips on each of the sections that your teacher may also guide you towards. Remember that you only need to hit the complete grades once for IA’s and Major Projects for this to be carried forward as your final mark 🙂

Planning

Most important to not use common problems that your teacher gives you with this criteria and for you to follow an individual process of constructive discontent to conduct a feasibility study, identify a user, write a brief and detailed specification. One tip is to use photographic evidence of a problem as this can easily show the need of the user to what is to be designed.

Research

Remember  to plan the research and to make sure that data comes from a variety of primary and secondary resources, including both qualitative and if possible quantitative data e.g. DO NOT JUST USE SECONDARY RESOURCES FROM THE INTERNET!

Development

For this criteria there must be design based activities that allow you to model ideas using a variety of media – including CAD, freehand sketching, physical modelling etc. It is important that development is shown from initial ideas to the final engineering drawings (yes traditional drawings such as Isometric and Orthographic work well) or CAD printouts. If you do not know how to design in a variety of media – simply have a go as the criteria s=does not really differentiate from those who are able to draw beautiful design drawings and those that are not!

Evaluation

Often rushed by students (so do not leave to the last minute!) – and so a lot of marks can be lost. Remember you must test their product with the user identified for the use designed for.  When the criteria asks for recommendations this must include – revised specification, sketched modifications and how the product may at the moment be craft production but could be scaled up to batch or mass production.

Manipulative Skills

To demonstrate skills in this area you can often go too far or produce too much. In essence a detailed plan of action is needed including technical descriptions of processes and timing, materials and risk assessments and a diary of making with photographs.

Quite a lot to take on board from the examiners – but important advice as some of these issues happen time and time again. It is important that you organise yourself and do not leave things to the last minute – so that you can get feedback from the teacher and have time to finish off the important documentation and especially evaluation. Your teacher will have exemplars of good projects – so utilise these to check you are going in the right direction.

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