Assessment Report

New Zealand Scholarship
Design and Visual Communication 2020

Standard 93602

Part A: Commentary

Candidates submit a portfolio based around a single major design project that is assessed externally.

Successful candidates utilised a variety of approaches and strengths and showed that there is no single approach in attaining success.

The top submissions engaged deeply with their context and this informed a personalised and highly thoughtful approach to designing. The candidates engaged their own design perspectives that were responsive to the needs of the brief and this typically led to convincing and well considered design thinking and elegantly resolved outcomes.

A range of ideation strategies were used well by candidates. Freehand sketching, physical modelling and digital tools such as CAD software were used well by successful candidates to explore and experiment with ideas. The effective use of ideation strategies for the generation of diverse and creative ideas can aid opportunities for success. However, there are still some submissions containing generic activities that do not allow candidates to explore their own ideas or encourage the expression of their own personal design perspective. The successful submissions not only used ideation strategies effectively in the initial stages but recognised where they had generated ideas that were worth pursuing and extending further. Ideation that moved into exploring ideas in context helped candidates to move forwards and develop their creative thinking. Knowing when to stop initial ideation and move into extending and evolving ideas was often a critical factor in completing a successful project. The most successful candidates recognised their best ideas and ensured that these were carried forward.

Candidate projects covered a good range of suitable contexts. Spatial projects that engaged with a specific site and type of activity were often well done. Fewer candidates presented work within the field of product design, although projects from this area often did well. The most successful submissions used contexts that candidates could fully engage with. This may have been a specific site that could be visited and well understood or a human need or opportunity that the candidate could connect with. Successful submissions contained design thinking that engaged with the context in a way that helped candidates to make design decisions that improved the quality of their ideas.

Candidates need to ensure that they send the best evidence possible of their work. Some candidates submitted small photographs of exhibitions. It was not possible to gauge the quality of visual communication from small photographs of outcomes. Candidates should ensure that they present images of final outcomes that contain suitable detail and definition. Larger presentations on paper can be folded to fit into the A3 bags. However, it is not necessary to send work on cardboard mountings or within folders.

Candidates do not need to submit a copy of their project in the Scholarship folder if they are also submitting the work for NCEA marking at any level.

Part B: Report on performance standard

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance commonly:

  • recognised and pursued quality ideas that showed a personal design point of view
  • explored the context bravely and developed clever ideas
  • engaged deeply in ideation to discover interesting, original design ideas and fresh thinking
  • produced design work that was absolutely convincing in its approach and decision making
  • engaged in a development process that added complexity and meaning to the developing idea
  • thought deeply about the context while refining their ideas and made decisions that resulted in an elegant final design
  • expressed a captivating visual story using fluent and sophisticated visual techniques and strategies
  • used sophisticated visual communication techniques to convey a design narrative
  • presented convincingly a well resolved, sophisticated outcome.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • engaged with the context of their design project either in the ideation phase of their project or later during development and refinement of ideas
  • formed a design point of view that led to original thinking
  • engaged in meaningful ideation at various stages throughout their process
  • recognised good ideas during ideation phases and pursued these further
  • showed an inter-relationship between different phases of their design practice
  • engaged with the context during the development of ideas and showed decision making that improved the quality of the idea
  • communicated clearly their ideas and design thinking using visual techniques (e.g. sketching, model-making, formal drawing or presentation drawings) as suitable to the strengths of the candidate
  • used visual techniques to show a variety of viewpoints, explain function or use, and to show the relationship with the context
  • used visual communication strategies that allowed them to deepen their understanding of design ideas and to develop and express them in increasing detail.  

Other candidates

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • submitted projects that carried out a design process but often lacked a personal, original design response
  • used a variety of strategies to explore and generate ideas but only on a superficial level
  • did not connect ideas to a context or did not show a deepening engagement in the ideas
  • failed to recognise good ideas and opportunities that were worth exploring further
  • over-simplified ideas during development and refinement phases rather than adding layers of complexity
  • were unable to use high quality visual communication skills to explore and refine ideas in depth
  • did not communicate a well resolved outcome using visual techniques
  • submitted incomplete or unresolved work, lacking the completion of a finished outcome, often this was due to an over emphasis on ideation and initial idea generation.



Subject page


Previous years' reports
2016 (PDF, 193KB)

2017 (PDF, 49KB)

2018 (PDF, 80KB)

2019 (PDF, 81KB)

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