Abstract

In the context of a design studio, the study presented in this paper investigates the effects that appearance and wording of assessment forms have on design students’ perception and learning. The project is motivated by hypotheses formed by a prior study, which revealed visual and textual components of assessment forms as possible influences on students’ perception and learning. Thus, the goal of this project is to investigate their impact on students and offer the study findings to educators to help them better understand and construct effective assessment tools. This paper argues that the appearance and wording of assessments convey meaning and must align with the activities and discussions that are common in design courses. This argument is supported by research that emphasizes the seamless integration of all steps of the learning process (Biggs, 2003) and the importance of students’ learning preferences in developing lesson plans (Gardner, 1993). The paper explains the construction of four assessment forms. It also describes the post-evaluation self-reflections that students wrote and the questionnaire they completed at the end of the course. These project components were conducted to learn what students retained and how they perceived the assessment forms. In addition, the instructors provided their perceptions and time allocated to using each tool. The outcomes of the study revealed that the digital assessments were more efficient to complete than the handwritten form. Students noted little difference in their satisfaction between the digital and handwritten forms when the wording stayed consistent. However, they did prefer comments that were personal and related to each specific project. The students retained more information from assessments that included a clear visual hierarchy and eliminated ambiguous titles. These findings informed the proposal of visual and textual considerations that should be taken into account when creating assessment forms for use in design classrooms.

Keywords:

Visual Design, Rubrics, Assessment, Evaluation, Pedagogy, Education, Learning, Feedback

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Jul 7th, 12:00 AM

Analyzing the Appearance and Wording of Assessments: Understanding their Impact on Students’ Perception and Understanding, and Instructors’ Processes

In the context of a design studio, the study presented in this paper investigates the effects that appearance and wording of assessment forms have on design students’ perception and learning. The project is motivated by hypotheses formed by a prior study, which revealed visual and textual components of assessment forms as possible influences on students’ perception and learning. Thus, the goal of this project is to investigate their impact on students and offer the study findings to educators to help them better understand and construct effective assessment tools. This paper argues that the appearance and wording of assessments convey meaning and must align with the activities and discussions that are common in design courses. This argument is supported by research that emphasizes the seamless integration of all steps of the learning process (Biggs, 2003) and the importance of students’ learning preferences in developing lesson plans (Gardner, 1993). The paper explains the construction of four assessment forms. It also describes the post-evaluation self-reflections that students wrote and the questionnaire they completed at the end of the course. These project components were conducted to learn what students retained and how they perceived the assessment forms. In addition, the instructors provided their perceptions and time allocated to using each tool. The outcomes of the study revealed that the digital assessments were more efficient to complete than the handwritten form. Students noted little difference in their satisfaction between the digital and handwritten forms when the wording stayed consistent. However, they did prefer comments that were personal and related to each specific project. The students retained more information from assessments that included a clear visual hierarchy and eliminated ambiguous titles. These findings informed the proposal of visual and textual considerations that should be taken into account when creating assessment forms for use in design classrooms.

 

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