St John Plessington Catholic College

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A Level - Level 3

This subject is offered as an A Level course over two years.

The course is focused towards consumer products and applications; their analysis in respect of materials, components, and marketability to understand their selection and uses in industrial and commercial practices of product development. In Product Design, materials and components are studied from the perspective of analysing modern consumer products that are designed to meet identified consumer needs, their design and manufacture. During this course you will build upon and develop your knowledge and understanding from GCSE whilst also having the freedom to focus in more depth on areas of design and technology that most interest you.

How is the course structured?

During the two year course, you will study a range of materials including timbers, metals, plastics and paper boards. You will develop a technical understanding of how products function and how they are made to appropriately support the design and manufacture of your own design solutions. You will learn about wider design principles and the effect of design on users and the world we live in. You will identify market needs and opportunities for new products, initiate and develop design solutions, and make and test prototypes/products. You will develop your subject knowledge, including how a product can be developed through the stages of prototyping, realisation and commercial manufacture. This subject also requires you to apply mathematical and scientific knowledge, understanding and skills.

A Level Assessment
Unit 1: Coursework
Topic: Iterative Design Project
Weighting: 50% of A Level
In Year 13 you will commence a non-examined ‘Iterative Design Project’, a substantial design, make and evaluate project centred on the iterative processes of explore, create and evaluate. It is worth 50% of the A Level qualification. You will be required to identify a design opportunity or problem from a context of your own choice, and create a chronological portfolio supported by real– time evidence of your project development. Innovative approaches will be required resulting in a final prototype that can be tested against the user and the market.

In the first year of this course you will take part in a range of design and make activities and projects to build on you designing and manufacturing skills in preparation for your A Level coursework project which commences following the Easter holidays in Year 12.

Unit 2: Written Exam

Topic: Principles of Product Design
Weighting: 26.7% of A Level
Exam – 1 hour 30 minutes
The ‘Principles’ examination paper is worth 26.7%
(80 marks) of the A Level qualification and assesses analysis of existing products, technical knowledge
and understanding of materials, product functionality, manufacturing processes and techniques and allows you to demonstrate your understanding of design thinking and wider social, moral and environmental issues that impact on the design and manufacturing industries.

Unit 3: Written Exam

Topic: Problem Solving
Weighting: 23.3% of A Level
Exam – 1 hour 45 minutes
The ‘Problem Solving’ paper is worth 23.3% (70 marks) of the A Level qualification and requires learners to apply their knowledge and understanding through higher level thinking skills, reflecting on the viability of products and possible design solutions in context and being able to make critical judgements on the most appropriate methods and outcomes.

Is there anything else I should know?

For candidates wishing to study Product Design, Graphic Design or Illustration at higher education the desirable subjects to choose along with Design & Technology are Art & Design, Media, Mathematics, Science (Applied), Physics, Business Studies and ICT. However, other combinations are acceptable depending on the type of higher education establishment

Progression Routes

Success in this course can lead to higher education qualifications and careers in Product Design, Graphic Design, Illustration, Animation, Industrial Design, Computer Aided Design, Architectural Design Technology, Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering as well as other creative, design and engineering disciplines.