A significant part of each of the design programmes is the final project, leading to a technological design. The final project takes the form of a realistic design assignment, carried out in an industrial context. Every final project is unique; supervisors differ from project to project and the methods to be followed in the project vary drastically over the various programmes. This makes the task of doing a fair and objective assessment far from trivial. Still, to ensure a uniform quality standard among the SAI programmes, an unbiased assessment procedure is of paramount importance.
Therefore, we have developed a set of criteria for technological designs and for design processes that serves as a generic instrument of assessment. These criteria can be used as a guideline for supervisors and evaluation committees; they are intended to help assess the candidates' achievements. The designed artifact is measured against 5 aspects and 12 criteria. The design process is measured against 4 criteria and 14 indicators. These criteria (design) and indicators (design process) are detailed further in terms of independent scales. Every scale comes with a five-point set of scores, ranging from fail to excellent. Not all scales apply to every final project, but together they are designed to give a complete overall judgment of the candidate’s performance.
Criteria are the yardsticks to assess candidate’s performance. For fairness’ sake, they are therefore communicated to the candidates. Criteria, moreover, also serve as a means to help and inspire candidates to excel. Indeed, criteria that are explicitly formulated and made operational form an ideal checklist for prospect designers who seek ways for improving their work. To this aim, a course is offered where candidates, prior to work on their final project, are made familiar with the criteria by means of hands-on exercises.