Development of standardized tests for design skills

Jami J. Shah, S. M. Smith, Jay Woodward

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

14 Scopus citations


A number of cognitive skills relevant to design have been identified. Formal methods for evaluating these skills in engineering students are needed. Towards that goal we are developing a battery of standardized tests for the most critical of these skills. These tests are based on research in design thinking, human problem solving, cognitive psychology and psychometrics. Tests for Divergent Thinking, Visual Thinking, Spatial Reasoning, Qualitative Reasoning and Problem Formulation are in various stages of development. This paper describes the procedure and rationale for test development. Tt involves characterization of design skills in terms of measurable indicators; devising skill measurement instruments (problems, metrics, scales); conducting trials to collect data and evaluation of tests for criterion and construct validity. Beta trials are in progress involving undergraduate and graduate students at multiple universities and engineers in industry. Possible applications of these tests include evaluating students in design classes, forming of balanced design teams that posses skills necessary for a given project and evaluating the effectiveness of design courses and curricula.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDS 58-10
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2009
Event17th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 09 - Palo Alto, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 24 2009Aug 27 2009

Publication series

NameDS 58-10: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design


Other17th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 09
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityPalo Alto, CA


  • Design education
  • Design thinking
  • Psychometrics
  • Skill evaluation
  • Teamology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Modeling and Simulation


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