2012, Reconstructing a Framework for Criteria-Based Assessment and Grading in Architecture Design Studio, Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 60 ( 2012 ) 30 – 35, 1877-0428 © 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.09

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The design process in architectural studios is based on some small well defined projects during the semester and on the final project at the end which will be defined and in larger scale. Students should finalize their project before the deadline and
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   Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 60 (2012) 142 – 149 1877-0428 © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer reviewed under responsibility of the UKM Teaching and Learning Congress 2011doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.09.360 UKM Teaching and Learning Congress 2011 Reconstructing a Framework for Criteria-Based Assessment and Grading in Architecture Design Studio  Nangkula Utaberta a,b,  and Badiossadat Hassanpour   b a Centre for Engineering Education Research, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia b  Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Abstract The design process in architectural studios is based on some small well defined projects during the semester and on the final project at the end which will be defined and in larger scale. Students should finalize their project before the deadline and presentit on submission day with proper documentation. During this day they have a chance to see other students’ project and get thecomments from peers and experts and finally they will get marked. All the educational systems have some sort of officialexamination, assessment or grading policy to measure students learning. In a typical policy, students are told clearly about the proposed assessment program and the relative weightings of the various components and they are given timely and helpfulfeedback after each assessment episode. Internationally, in this decade, universities and educators have become increasinglycommitted in making assessment and grading more effective in promoting student learning. Appraisal methods and gradingsystems in studio based educating systems, such as architecture, needs attention and scrutiny more than other majors and fields.Because transmitting the success amount of solving defined problems in design studios to grading symbols are more difficultthan multiple choice tests and even open ended questions. The primary interest of this paper is in grading methods that claim to be criteria–based.© 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer reviewed under responsibility of the UKM Teaching and LearningCongress 2011.  Keywords: Architecture education; criteria-based assesment; grading; architecture design studio 1.Introduction The design process in architectural studios is based on some small well defined projects during the semester and on the final project at the end which will be defined and in larger scale. Students should finalize their project beforethe deadline and present it on submission day with proper documentation. In this day they have a chance to see other students’ project and get the comments from peers and experts and finally they will get mark. Experience show thatstudents are worry about their grades to the extend as they won’t attend in discussions if they think their commentswill affect grades and with small negative comments or finding fault in their project they get disappointed and loose  Corresponding author. Tel.: +6-019-242-3816; fax: +6-03-8921-6841.  E-mail address : nangkula_arch@yahoo.com.  Available online atwww.sciencedirect.com   © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer reviewed under responsibility of the UKM Teaching andLearning Congress 2011  143  Nangkula Utaberta and Badiossadat Hassanpour / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 60 (2012) 142 – 149 other statements and suggestions coming after. Most of the student’s complain is about unfairness and inequitable of grades. This may rout in unawareness of the way they evaluate and graded.On the other hand, analysis shows that there is no common understanding of how the grading process is done inarchitecture and what occurs in the faculty is just based on the instructors experience. This has inhibited high-qualitydiscourse, research and development of grading system in architecture education. First of all, we have to investigatethe past and current grading systems implemented in architecture faculties to find the characteristics and attributes of idealistic grading systems Since different definitions of some terms related to the discussion are used differently indifferent countries, and even within a single country, in different education sectors, finding an appropriateterminology to use in analysis of assessment and grading is essential. For instance, ‘assessment’ in some contexts inthe USA refers to the evaluation of a wide range of characteristics and processes relating to higher educationinstitutions, including entry levels, attrition rates, student services, physical learning environments and studentachievements. In the UK, assessment can mean what students submit by way of project reports, written papers, and the like as distinct from what they produce under examination conditions. Similarly, a ‘grade’ may refer to theclassification of the level of a student’s performance in an entire degree, the summary of achievement in a singledegree component or the quality of a single piece of work a student submits in response to a specified task.Assessment in this article refers to the process of forming a judgment about the quality and extent of student’sachievement or performance. Such judgments are mostly based on information obtained by requiring students toattempt specified tasks and submit their work to instructors or tutors for an appraisal of its quality.Scoring and marking are used interchangeably in this article to refer to the processes of representing studentachievements by numbers or symbols. Scoring includes assigning a number to reflect the quality of a student’sresponse to an examination item. In most cases, scoring and marking apply to items and tasks rather than to overallachievement in a whole course (Sadler, 2005).Grading refers to the evaluation of student achievement on a larger scale, either for a single major piece of work or for an entire course. Scores or marks often serve as the raw material for grade determinations, especially whenthey are aggregated and the result converted into a different symbolic representation of overall achievement (Sadler,2005). Grading symbols may be letters (A, B, C, D, etc.) descriptive terms (such as Distinction, Honors, Credit,Pass, etc.), or numerals (such as 7, 6, …, 1). Numerals are usually deemed to represent measurements, and this provides a straightforward rout to the calculation of grade point averages (GPAs). The other symbols follow a tableof numerical equivalents.Students deserve to know which of their work and under what type of criteria will be assessed. This will enablethe students to shape their work appropriately during the design process and specify the basis for grading to help provide a rationale for grading judgments after they have been made and the results given back to the students.In all studio based education systems such as architecture studios, we can find different grading models, in whichthe principles maybe deduced from either the policy document or from accepted practice. One of these systems is bycomparative method. In this appraisal model the student’s project will be compared with each other. In fact jurors or the related tutors that are going to give marks in submission day, judge the quality of projects holistically. Then theyrank the projects. Grades follow in descending from the best project to worthy ones. This method is unfair. Studentsdeserve to be graded on the basis of the quality of their work alone, uncontaminated by reference to how other students in the studio perform on the same or equivalent tasks, and without regard to each student’s previous level of  performance.In comparative system, the holistic attitude to the projects judgment leads to neglection of Student’s Creativityand abilities in some contexts. Students can’t be aware of their weak and strong points. Therefore, student cannot put in more effort to increase their marks and just lucky students who are skillful in graphic design are able toimpact jurors for better grades. On the other hand, making pair-wise comparisons just among small set of studentssubmissions is possible. It will be very difficult in large amounts of projects and students. Albeit this method is notobjective based (we can know it as a subjective method), this method is still use by instructors all around the world.In recent years, universities have made explicit overtures towards criteria-based grading and reporting. Under these models, grades are required to show how well students achieve the juror’s expectations. These expectationscan be explained in different forms. We name these expectations as course objectives. The objectives are assumed to provide the basis for the criteria, but exactly what the criteria are, is in essence left undefined (Sadler, 2005). Theseobjectives should be known by instructors, students and especially external jurors. This is because invited jurors  144 Nangkula Utaberta and Badiossadat Hassanpour / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 60 (2012) 142 – 149 have their certain tendency and assumed objectives that would be the base of their grading. This incoherency maylead to varian in given marks by different instructors and students dissatisfaction.One of the implemented methods under this way is grading system base on marking forms. These gradingcriteria sheets (Montgomery, 2002) typically do not map in any simple way into course objectives. They are scoringrubrics which shows some tasks and their marks portion. These tasks outline some of the knowledge and skills thestudents ideally should be able to exhibit by the end of the course. For instance, 3D model and executive details, boards, oral presentation are classed as tasks and 5 mark allocated for each of them. The given mark is based on thequality of presented documentation. This holistic method cannot explain the expected details in each task and willleave the doors open to enter the personal opinions and subjective decisions in evaluation. An underlying difficultyis that the quality of performance in a course, judged holistically on the basis of the quality of work submitted, maynot agree well with the attainment of course objectives.It is obvious that in all grading models, transforming students work to marks, grades or scores is very difficult because whenever the projects are encoded with symbols the connection between course objectives and projects is broken. After that just the grade exists and show the student’s success. This has lead to many efforts to define and implement some norms and criteria in appraisal methods. Despite the broad desirability of criteria- based grading ineducating systems to implement these methods and ways, there are different conceptions of what it means in theoryand practice. This article is based on a review of the most common grading policies and tries to hybrid the criteria based models to introduce a new appraisal method in evaluating architectural projects in universities. 2. Criteria Based Grading Models Since criteria are attributes or rules that are useful as levers for making judgments, it is useful to have a generaldefinition of what the criteria is. There are many meanings for criterion but many of them overlap. Here is a workingdictionary style definition, verbatim from Sadler 1987, which is appropriate to this discussion and broadly consistentwith ordinary usage (Sadler, 2002). Criterion (n): A distinguishing property or characteristic of anything, by whichits quality can be judged or estimated, or by which a decision or classification may be made. (Etymology: fromGreek kriterion: a means for judging). Grading models may be designed to apply to the whole course or alternativelyon specific assessment tasks and some can be appropriate for both. For all grading models explained below, theinterpretation of criteria is same with the general definition given above and all of them make a clear connection between the achievement of course objectives and given grades, without reference to other students achievements. 2.1. Verbal Grade Description In this model, grades are based on students’ achievement of the course objectives. In this table, the given gradesare based on interpretations which clarify the attainment amount of course objectives in Table 1. This kind of grading method is based on holistic attitude in evaluation. Table 1. Interpretation in giving grades  145  Nangkula Utaberta and Badiossadat Hassanpour / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 60 (2012) 142 – 149 2.2. Objective Achievements In this model the course objectives will be portioned into major and minor and the achievement of each can bedetermined by a Yes or a No and the achievements of each objective will be computed. This is show in Table 2.Both of these two objective-base models make clear connections between the attachments of course objectives and the grades awarded but students cannot easily make close connection between the course objectives and assessmentitems and they are not in a strong position to judge how much they have reached to the objectives. Table 2. Major and minor objectives achieves Therefore, these types of models have little prospective value for students. Also there are no indications of onwhether given grades are for attainment in objectives of a special task or for whole objectives and it will be assessed  by its own or in combination to other objectives.Most educational outcomes and attainment amount cannot be assessed as dichotomous states like yes or no or even zero and one, because learning is a continuous process while in contrast with discrete scales it can just bedivided into segments satisfactory and dissatisfactory (Sadler, 2005). 2.3. Qualitative criteria Teachers specify the qualitative properties as criteria to be closer to teaching and learning and assessmentgrading. In this method teachers are obliged to make a judgment about the quality of student responses to eachassessment task and objectives. The grades will be given followed Table 3. Table 3. Qualitative properties criteria In this model, the grades are given in simple verbal scale for each task such as poor, acceptable, good and excellent. But since in reality students’ work are not perfect and there are different descriptions for these verbalscales and some teachers believe that excellent and A is just for god and no one deserve grade A, the distribution of grades and marks can’t be appropriate.  146 Nangkula Utaberta and Badiossadat Hassanpour / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 60 (2012) 142 – 149 In this model, scores for different assessment tasks are added together and finally the 100 point scale may bedivided into segments according to the number of grades. 3.Proposed Criteria Based Model in Architecture Assessments All aforementioned methods have weak and strong points. For instance, the first model has tried to avoid dispersion of interpretations for grades between different assessors which can affect the given marks. But there is noroom for expected objectives and their definitions in design process and final projects. So doors of subjective judgement will still be open.The second model is based on dividing the expected objectives into major and minor and the evaluation iscompletely related to the student’s achievements to these objectives but as mentioned before it is not possible to judge the attainments and achievements in continuum process just by a Yes or a No.In the third model, tasks are introduced as criteria for grading and verbal definitions for students level of achievements. This has improved the two previous models but objectives and importance amount of them are stillunclear for students and external assessors. So we have to hybrid these methods to reach the improved model.What makes the definition of different projects (their scale, title, objectives) in architecture education istransmitting new knowledge and experience based on the related topics, issues and projects in continues process of learning. So the aim of each project is unique to itself and has different layers.In all submission days, students prepare the required needed documentation such as sheets including plans,evaluations, sections, perspectives etc and 3D models which may be determined by instructors or left arbitrary. Butthese are not just the things that are going to be assessed by jurors. Primary goals that were the basis of problemsolving process are the most important part of assessment. So the criteria to be used in assessment and grading arelinked directly to the way objectives expressed (Biggs, 1999).Since this approach has some conceptual parallels with the behavioral objectives movement. (Mager, 1962),a behavioral objective is not properly formulated unless it includes a statement of intent, descriptions of the final behavior desired, the conditions under which this behavior is to be demonstrated and the minimum acceptable levelof performance that signifies attainment of that objective.Defined architecture assignments, depending on their type, scale and duration, have different objectives and expectations to assess the student’s submissions and different tasks are required. These tasks are based on some practical necessity and some personal standards aligned with course objectives. These tasks will create policies for assessors to take into account in judgment. Eyeballing different evaluation sheets in variety of studios for different projects results in the rubric of the tasks is as follows:(a)Critical Explanation(b)Logical Development(c)Proposal and recommendation(d)Oral and Graphic PresentationThe potential number of tasks relevant to the projects are large but these are enough to be illustrated and discussed in this paper. For each rubric and task, some criteria will be defined. Segregating evaluation extended tomore tasks will increase student’s opportunities to show their capabilities and sufficiency, and gain more chance toget better marks. But in contrast, the more objectives expressed for each task, the more they will operate in isolationand will recede from the overall configuration that constitutes a unit of what the students are supposed to do. Inaddition, it will restrict assessors between these defined boarders and will confine their authority and experiences incognition and analyzing students hidden intentions in their design. This is completely in opposition with the maintarget of inviting external jurors which is to benefit from a diversity of expert ideas and critical attitudes. So,characteristic of objectives are more effective that their numbers in defining flexible evaluation borders.Since not all criteria types are the same, there is no necessity for the number of criteria to be the same in differenttasks. In fact these are subtitles for what is expected from students to do and they elaborate the borders of courseobjectives for assessors. For instance, in Figure 1 we can see tasks with some of their criteria which have beendefined by related instructor based on course objectives and implemented strategies in studio. Each of the criteria isincluded in the marking grid.
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