An Evaluation of the Assessment of Graphical Education at Junior Cycle in the Irish System

Thomas Delahunty, Niall Seery, Raymond Lynch
2012, Vol. 17, No. 2,


Junior Certificate Technical Graphics was introduced
in Ireland in 1991 and aimed to develop innovative
problem solving aptitudes and knowledge of plane
and descriptive geometry (NCCA 1991). Despite the
philosophy of breadth and balance (NCCA 2004)
associated with educational outcomes in the Junior
Certificate curriculum, many subjects, Technical Graphics
included, employ a summative assessment strategy
(Griffin 1998). The summative measurement model
portrays a limited view of student learning (Lin and Dwyer
2006, Williams 2011) and has been found to exert
significant influence on teaching and learning throughout
the course of study (Bloxham and Boyd 2007).
This research study aims to evaluate the types of
approach to assessment of two different year groups
at different stages of the Junior Cycle. The core
hypothesis being investigated is whether there is a more
sophisticated approach to the assessment evident among
the older year groups. In order to achieve this aim a visual
protocol similar to Middleton (2008) and Lane et al.
(2010) was employed to capture the approach in solving
a prescribed graphical task among first and second year
students in the Technical Graphics classroom.
Findings indicate that the use of a traditional summative
approach to assessment has significant limitations
within the subject of Technical Graphics. There are
also notable trends occurring in students’ approach to
the assessment, which seem to rely on a low level of
graphical knowledge and problem solving skills.
The findings confirm that the older year group adopted
a more efficient approach to the assessment but
displayed unsophisticated approaches to the application
of graphical principles. Some limitations of the
summative measurement model are supported by the
results of this paper.


Design & technology ; Education ; Research ; Curriculum

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