New Zealand Scholarship Design and Visual Communication

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Design and Visual Communication assessment specification

Scholarship Performance Standard (93602) Design and Visual Communication
Mode of Assessment Portfolio submission
For Year 2018
Submission Date: Wednesday 31 October 2018

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 on CD or DVD. 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.

Every attempt should be made to keep a Scholarship portfolio to no more than 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 for 2018:

  • A2 or A3 sheets
  • presentation boards, if used, to be limited to 4
  • visual diaries, if used, to be limited to 2; however, high-quality photographs or photocopies of these pages is preferable
  • laminated material, if submitted, limited to maximum of 6 pages. 

The following are not acceptable in 2018:

  • 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. Work for Scholarship and level 2 or 3 must no longer be combined into submission. Candidates who have entered both the level 3 (or level 2) external achievement standard(s) and Scholarship now must send:

  • one portfolio for each standard
  • if the same work is required for both level 3 (or level 2) and Scholarship, then candidates are to produce clear-coloured copies of their work and send the originals for Scholarship and clear-coloured copies for level 3.

There must be some indication attached to the work that identifies the design topic or context.

Special notes

Candidates will need to demonstrate the ability to do each of the following:

  • 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 refer to individual ideas that have design qualities that relate to both aesthetic and functional consideration as related to a design context.

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

Design context is typically defined by a brief situation and specifications, and can extend to relatable environmental, social, historical, and cultural considerations.

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

Insight refers to perceptive thinking that challenges the conventional in order to extend and transform design ideas.

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 refers to the visual storytelling of the design practice that has taken place.

Coherence refers to the way a range of different elements and considerations are brought together effectively as a set, with a logical consistency, clarity, and unity of thought, purpose, or narrative.

Convincing refers to intentions that are conveyed in a compelling manner with little doubt and with assuredness/conviction.

Portfolio preparation and submission (PDF, 245KB)


Candidates must provide material that is their own work and demonstrates their own ability for assessment purposes.

Candidates are required to validate their own work by signing an Authenticity declaration form that will be sent to schools by NZQA in the October mail-out. 

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 standards

Exam materials (question books, resource books, reports, schedules, etc)

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