[Design and Technology] Further concern about VCE Product Design and Technology assessment

Lorraine Tran tranlorraine at gmail.com
Thu Aug 20 02:25:36 UTC 2020

Hi VCE Product Design and Technology teachers,

I have been following the discussion on this list and can sense the 
passion and concern you are all expressing. I can only hope, along with 
you, that there will be a resolution to the issues you have raised 
within this group and to Leanne.

There is one thing that I'd like to raise with you that is of real 
concern to me. Much of the discussion so far has centered around the SAT 
and how it will be assessed. I'd just like to say how important that 
discussion is as I know you want your students to achieve the best 
scored assessment for your students; and also you want the perceived 
inequities to be addressed.

However, I'd like to address what Peter has mentioned in his email below.

/On 20/08/2020 10:56 am, Peter Murphy wrote://
> /My students will only be completing detailed CAD models (of every 
> component) of their products that they will use in a detailed 
> storyboard of how the product would be assembled if possible. These 
> could potentially be 3D printed at some stage but I am not concerned 
> about whether we achieve that or not as I suspect we will be in 
> lockdown longer than anticipated. The focus is now on SACs and exam 
> prep and criteria 1-5. I agree with others that Criteria 6-9 should be 
> removed or at least made optional./

Front and centre of what is taught should be the study design. 
Assessment is included in the study design, but other assessment 
materials are also published annually by the VCAA, such as the detailed 
description of the task and assessment criteria. This year, the study 
design for Unit 4 was modified slightly, however, there were NO changes 
made to the outcomes in the study design that relate to the SAT (Unit 4, 
Outcomes 2 and 3). I see this as a key issue. All teachers must assess 
their students in terms of whether they have demonstrated achievement of 
the outcomes. Not all students studying VCE Product Design and 
Technology do a scored program. What does that mean if a student has not 
completed a product and evaluated it, as prescribed in the study design, 
because they have not had access to tools, machines, equipment and 

So what Peter has outlined above and what others have proposed in 
relation to removing Criteria 6 - 9 is only part of the problem. The 
wording in the study design outcomes must also be changed, otherwise 
many students will get an 'N' because they have not produced work that 
demonstrates achievement of the set of outcomes in Unit 4.

Yesterday, I sent an email (see below) to Leanne raising this issue and 
a few others with her. I await her reply.

*Concerns about VCE assessment for the 2020 modified study design*

*VCE Product Design and Technology Study Design 2020*

Note: quotes are from the 2020 study designs and assessment material on 
the VCAA website.

Unit 4, Outcome 2

'On completion of this unit the student should be able to apply a range 
of production skills and processes safely to make the product designed 
in Unit 3, and manage time and resources effectively and efficiently.'

1.///How can students demonstrate satisfactory completion of this 
outcome (i.e. to get a S for this outcome) if they have not had access 
to workshops (including resources such as materials, tools, equipment) 
for the majority of Terms 2 and 3? Note the reference in this outcome to 
the //product //they have designed in Unit 3 (not a model or prototype 
of it, see Unit 4, Outcome 3)./


/2.//How can students show that they have been able to manage time and 
resources effectively in relation to this outcome when they have not had 
access to the resources needed to make the product nor the time normally 
available to make the product?/

Unit 4 Outcome 3

'On completion of this unit the student should be able to evaluate the 
finished product through testing and feedback against criteria, create 
end-user/s’ instructions or care labels and recommend improvements to 
future products.'

/How can students test and evaluate the //finished product //when 
students have not had access to tools, equipment and materials needed to 
make the finished product? How can students demonstrate satisfactory 
completion (i.e. to get a S for this outcome) of this outcome when they 
have not had access to school equipment during most of Term 3? /

The VCE Product Design and Technology: Administrative information for 
School-based Assessment in 2020, page 4 and 5 states:

/‘Production work to realise a quality, three-dimensional product that 
includes appropriate production processes, including some that are 
complex. The product should be the realisation of the preferred option 
(including modifications approved by the end user/s) that meets the 
accepted standards and expected quality. While making the product, 
students should refer to their scheduled production plan and demonstrate 
the safe application and management of processes and safe use of tools, 
equipment and machines. /

/‘A record of production progress using images and/or video and text 
making reference to decisions made and to end user/s feedback, including 
documenting any outsourcing or support used./

/‘A justified explanation of modifications to the design and scheduled 
production plan indicating how these have been negotiated and 
communicated to the end user/s. /

/‘An evaluation report documenting:/

/-checking, testing and evaluation of the finished product using 
evaluation criteria for the finished product, and how well it meets the 
needs and requirements of the end user/s/

/-identification of, and recommendations for, areas for improvement in 
the finished product.’/

/How can students perform these activities when they have not had access 
to workshops, materials, tools and equipment during the majority of 
terms 2 and 3, 2020? /

5.///How can teachers assess criteria 6, 7, 8 and 9 when students have 
not had access to tools, equipment and materials needed to make the 
finished product? /

·Criterion 6 Skill in the application of appropriate processes, 
including risk management and recording progress

·Criterion 7 Skill in project management and justifying modifications in 
realising the preferred option

·Criterion 8 Skill in developing a quality product that is creative and 

·Criterion 9 Skill in evaluating the finished product; user 
instructions/care labels which communicate product features, care, use 
and/or assembly

6.In normal circumstances, when teachers assess the SAT they consider 
each criterion, and use the related indicators to make an on-balance 
judgement based on the evidence they have from each student (or 
documented observations, such as safe working practices). For 2020, 
teachers have been asked to assess students using one or more indicators 
associated with each criterion, making sure that the same indicators for 
each criterion are used for each student in their cohort./Are they to 
apportion a certain amount of marks to each indicator, depending on its 
degree of importance or the amount of work involved? /This could result 
in a student only getting 2 marks out of 10 for a particular criterion, 
drastically reducing their overall graded assessment for the SAT. This 
must be explained to all teachers of the study design.

7.///Is it appropriate to mark students twice for the SAT – the first 
mark reflects the evidence the student produces in relation to each 
criterion; the second mark a teacher estimation that takes into 
consideration what the student could have potentially received had 
circumstances been different (in relation to the effects of COVID-19)./

/Why was the workload substantially reduced for the 2020 SAT for VCE 
Systems Engineering (students do an aspect of their system), but not for 
VCE Product Design and Technology SAT? /The workload for the Unit 4 SAC 
was reduced, however, much of the learning for this can be done via 
remote delivery.

Kind regards, Lorraine Tran.

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