There are six assessment criteria that are used to assess the work of both SL and HL students.
• Planning—P
• Research—R
• Development—D
• Evaluation—E
• Manipulative skills—MS
• Personal skills—PS
The first four criteria—planning (P), research (R), development (D) and evaluation (E)—are each assessed twice, once during investigations and once in the design project.

Aspect 1
Aspect 2
Aspect 3
Defining the problem
Formulating a brief or research question
Selecting variables or specifications
Identifies a focused problem for a design project or investigation.
States a detailed brief or research question that is appropriate to the level of study.
Selects and explains appropriate variables or specifications.
Identifies a suitable problem, but lacks detail in the explanation.
States a brief or research question, but this is not explained in detail.
Selects some appropriate variables or specifications.
Not at all/0
Does not identify a suitable problem or repeats the general aim provided by the teacher.
Does not state a brief or research question or the brief or research question is inappropriate.
Does not select appropriate variables or specifications.

Aspect 1: defining the problem
Students should be given the opportunity to explore open-ended problems. The need or opportunity for formulating a suitable design brief or research question should be identified and fully explained. A particular design context will normally offer a variety of potential problems to solve.
Although the general aim of the investigation may be given by the teacher, students must identify a focused problem for themselves. It is not sufficient for a student merely to restate the research question provided

Aspect 2: formulating a brief or research question
Having explored the design context, students will need to formulate a brief for a project or a research question for an investigation. The brief or research question needs explanation or justification. A project brief will explain the nature of the intended outcome and the target market. A research question will be justified in relation to the design context. For example, a question that states that the investigation concerns testing a range of timbers to compare their properties is not as good as one that relates the question to the appropriate selection of timbers based on their properties for a floor covering, for which the criteria for selection of a suitable timber will be explained.
Aspect 3: selecting variables or specifications
Having formulated their own brief or research question, students will select appropriate variables for an investigation or specifications for a project. Variables are factors that can be measured and/or controlled. Independent variables are those that are manipulated, and the result of this manipulation leads to the measurement of the dependent variable. A controlled variable is one that should be held constant so as not to obscure the effect of the independent variable on the dependent variable.
The initial design specification for a project needs to be explained in relation to the design brief, and priorities for research and development should be stated. The specifications should be justified as a list of requirements against which ideas will be evaluated and the final outcome assessed.

Aspect 1
Aspect 2
Aspect 3
Data collection
Data processing and analysis
Identifies suitable strategies for research
Collects appropriate research materials
Processes research material astutely with detailed analysis
Identifies some relevant strategies
Collects some useful research material
Process researsh material appropriately, though analysis is limited.
Not at all/0
Does not identify strategies or strategies are teacher directed
Does not collect any research material or the research material is inappropriate.
Processes research material inappropriately.
Aspect 1: strategies
A variety of sources for collection of suitable data should be identified and priorities made clear. Research for the project or investigation should anticipate the collection of sufficient data so that the brief or research question can be suitably addressed. Research may take many forms depending on the design context chosen.
Aspect 2: data collection
For a design project, there should be a balance between qualitative and quantitative data collection, and between primary and secondary data. Investigations may be focused on strategies for collection of one particular category of data, usually quantitative. Data may be presented in a variety of forms, for example, tables, graphs or photographs, and so on.
Aspect 3: data processing and analysis
In a design project, research material will form the basis for generation of ideas. Analysis of data that has been suitably processed should relate the usefulness of the research material to the design brief or research question. Errors or uncertainties should be identified where appropriate, and the effect on the reliability of the data quantified. Students should show that they can take raw data, transform it and present it in a form suitable for analysis.

Aspect 1
Aspect 2
Aspect 3
Uses a range of
innovative ideas to solve
the problem.
Uses a wide range of
appropriate techniques.
Arrives at a good
solution to the problem.
Uses limited innovative
ideas to solve the
Uses a range of
appropriate techniques.
Arrives at a satisfactory
solution to the problem,
but with aspects
Not at all/0
Uses ideas that are
mundane or irrelevant.
Does not use a
range of techniques
or techniques are
Arrives at an
inappropriate solution
to the problem or does
not arrive at a solution.
Aspect 1: creativity
Students should demonstrate originality in tackling the project or investigation. When addressing this criterion, teachers will need to ensure that projects and investigations have enough scope for innovation.
Aspect 2: techniques
Techniques should be chosen that are appropriate to the task and provide evidence of innovative ideas. This may be in the form of detailed drawings, models (physical and/or CAD), tests, experiments, and so on.
Aspect 3: solution
The final solution needs to be described in appropriate detail. The solution may be the result of an experiment or the use of the design process to design a product or system. For a design project, the detailing must be sufficient for the solution to be realized, with materials and manufacturing techniques made explicit. Formal drawings should be produced in an appropriate format.

Aspect 1
Aspect 2
Aspect 3
Provides clear evidence
of a valid conclusion
that addresses the brief
or research question.
Includes comprehensive
evaluation of
procedures at
each stage of the
investigation or project.
Makes realistic
recommendations for
Provides a reasonable
conclusion that makes
reference to the brief or
research question.
Includes limited
evaluation of
Makes some useful
recommendations for
Not at all/0
Provides no valid
Includes no evaluation
of procedures or
procedures are
Makes no valid
recommendations for

Aspect 1: conclusion
The validity of the solution to the problem should be evaluated and justified. Evidence may be provided via testing of a designed product and expert appraisal or astute interpretation of data for an investigation, even if the conclusion appears contradictory to the accepted theories.
Aspect 2: procedure
The suitability of chosen strategies at each stage of the investigation or project should be assessed taking into account available resources, including time. Students should not only state weaknesses, but also indicate how significant the weaknesses are. For a design project, procedures will also relate to testing the solution in relation to the specifications stated at the planning stage and gaining user research.
Aspect 3: recommendations
Suggestions for improvements should be based on the weaknesses and limitations identified in aspect 2. Improvements may be presented in a variety of forms, such as drawings, a modified design specification, or a new set of variables. For investigations based on data collection, modifications should address issues of precision, accuracy and reproducibility of the results. The modifications proposed should be realistic and clearly described. It is not sufficient to state that more precise equipment should be used or more time allocated. Modifications for a designed prototype should consider changes to the design for scaling up production and to produce a design family of products.

Manipulative skills (MS) will be assessed once only and this is during the design project.
Personal skills (PS) will be assessed once only and this is during the group 4 project