Assessment Specifications

Level 3 Design and Visual Communication 2023

General information


Design and Visual Communication

Method of assessment

Portfolio submission


91627  91631

Information relating to both achievement standards

Assessment will be in the form of a portfolio for each standard. Candidates should submit a portfolio of material that conveys the design requirements of the externally assessed achievement standards, and communicates the candidate’s knowledge, understanding, and skills relevant to the external design and visual communication standards. Evidence may be drawn from one or more units of work and used for assessment against more than one achievement standard.

Original copies or high-quality photocopies should be presented for assessment.

For each standard, a candidate may submit a portfolio of work using a variety of media in any form, and up to a maximum size of A3 (297 × 420 mm). Larger pages must be folded to A3 size.

Where mock-ups, prototypes, and models have been used, photographic evidence of these may assist the assessment.

The following presentation formats are recommended

  • A3 pages.
  • Digital submissions – in a PDF, PowerPoint, HTML, or QuickTime format.
    • Note: Work that can be printed on paper should not be put on a CD ROM. The only work that should be on CD ROM is when candidates are submitting an animated presentation or video.
    • Digital submissions for 91631 can be submitted using NZQA's digital external upload. Schools are required to store securely a backup copy (or originals) of all digital submissions. Schools are required to virus-check digital submitted material.

The following are not acceptable:

  • visual diaries
  • submission material contained in clear files
  • laminated pages
  • additional packaging, e.g. boxes or framed design work
  • models – only photographs are to be submitted
  • submissions submitted electronically on USB flash drives or MP3 players.

Also refer to the exemplars, assessment reports, and assessment schedules on the DVC subject page

Submissions instructions and authenticity requirements will be provided for schools at the end of Term 2 on the DVC subject page

Writer assistance

Writer assistance is excluded from all external achievement standards. This is due to the nature of drawing and design, and visual communication. Any queries regarding this must be addressed to NZQA through the Principal’s Nominee.

Special note

Candidates who are entered for Scholarship as well as Level 3 must read the Scholarship Design and Visual Communication assessment specifications.

Specific information for individual achievement standards




Initiate design ideas through exploration



Number of credits


The candidate's portfolio should not exceed 35 A3 pages for this standard.

Candidates may use any computer applications – for example, Adobe Photoshop, Vectorworks, Google Sketchup, and Flash animations – to produce evidence for this standard.

The evidence for this achievement standard can be integrated with any of the internal achievement standards or presented as a separate unit.

Candidates will need to demonstrate that they can use a starting experience to generate ideas in the broadest sense, and through the use of visual communication strategies, transform these ideas in a way that enables the formation of design ideas.

The visual communication strategies can be expressed through any visual mode (including 2D, 3D, and 4D) such as sketching, drawing, modelling, or animation, and can be done by either manual or digital means. While a single mode of visual communication may suffice, it is recommended that more than one be used to increase the opportunities for extending idea exploration.




Produce working drawings to communicate production details for a complex design



Number of credits


The candidate’s portfolio should not exceed 15 A3 pages for this standard.

For this standard, any computer applications used should primarily be those appropriate for the production of working drawings – for example, Vectorworks, Solidworks, Archicad, or Revit – although animations can be used as supporting evidence. 

The evidence for this achievement standard can be integrated with any of the internal achievement standards or presented as a separate unit based on a design idea that requires interpretation in terms of design details.

Candidates will need to demonstrate they can produce a set of related drawings that can utilise 2D and 3D modes, instrumentally constructed / modelled using either traditional drafting equipment or computer applications. Digital animations can also be used to support the related drawings to aid the communication of exterior and interior information related to the construction and assembly of a multi-component design.

In this context, the production of working drawings is for the purposes of communicating the design details of a spatial design, or product design to a level that will allow its manufacture or construction. Depending on the complexity and scale of the design, this is not necessarily expected to be done to a comprehensive extent, provided there is a suitable level of detailing shown for a key aspect of the design.

Evidence for this standard should involve the selection of views and modes, informed by accepted design and visual communication practice and convention as suitable to the design context, in generating a set of related drawings that communicates details for the assembly and/or construction of the design.

Digital and Visual Communication subject page

Examination timetable and submission dates

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