Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


5.3 EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES, *training, *pedagogy

Publication Details

Successfully submitted to the Technologicl University Dublin in part fulfilment of the requirement for the award of Masters in Third Level Learning and Teaching, 2005


This investigative study is concerned with examining the current methods of assessment of architecture students in the system known as the “crit” and the associated methods of giving students feedback on their designs in a public forum. The aim of the research is to identify the main weaknesses of the crit system and to explore alternatives which perhaps would have more sustainable and transparent methods of assessment and feedback. Personal motivation for the research sprang from concerns regarding both the effectiveness of the crit from the pedagogical perspective of student learning and from concerns about it as a transparent and useful system of assessment for professional architects. Policy concerns in the research were informed by three immediate issues: an in-house concern regarding the relatively high number of examination appeals from architecture students compared to other design degrees which use a crit system, a national concern, based on the NQAI requirements that modules be expressed in terms of learning outcomes, and more global concerns for the five year undergraduate system of training architects in Europe generally arising form the preference for a three-year plus two-year degree systems manifest in the Bologna Accord. The research approach locates itself broadly within the postmodernist critical theory framework which acknowledges the complexity of the issues under study and the need for both the “distant” and the “close-up”. The research design is basically “bricolage” which allows for nonlinear exploration of discrete but related aspects of the study and which facilitates a range of researcher stances including detached interpreter, insider-intervener and dialogic commentator. A literature review, pedagogic interventions in class-based teaching and in-depth interviews with architecture graduates from DIT and other colleges were used. The research findings show a remarkably similar experience of architecture education through the crit system with broadly negative opinions on the value of the crit as a learning experience. The findings from the class-based interventions indicate that the crit systems which involves large numbers of students and staff is highly ineffective compared to small group crits and that the combination of oral and visual assessment feedback on designs is more effective than the traditional oral feedback system. The research offers a number of proposals regarding improvements to the crit system and suggest areas where further research is urgently required to make the system of assessment more effective and transparent and to ease the training system for architects toward the inevitable structural changes resulting from the Bologna Accord.