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STAMP iT & App

Simple assessment system for creative work using a rubber stamp and digital app

Photo of Ruth Cochrane
5 5

Written by

I am a.....

  • Teacher

Tell us about your idea

Stamp iT -  An actual rubber stamp is used directly in student’s sketch books as an anchor for formative feedback tutorials.  It provides a framework for direct discussions about the student’s work in relation to the design process.   

The design of the stamp divides the design process into five simple elements:

  • Research: Be People Centred, Draw conclusions from primary and secondary sources
  • Ideas – Collaborate & Co-create, Generate and communicate a range of original ideas which respond to research
  • Fail & Fix – Iterate, Iterate, Iterate, Put ideas to the test by putting them into practice and making mistakes
  • Present – Visually & Inclusively Communicate your ideas effectively using appropriate media
  • Reflect – Working with pride and professionalism, analyse your work and work of others

For each element, a dot is circled showing the current status of student's work in that area - the further the dot from the centre, the better the quality of the work.  eg if the dot furthest from the centre is circled on the Research axis, this would mean the quality of work being discussed is excellent and in the A category.

STAMP iT is used regularly throughout a project, giving students clear feedback on their progress and what improvements can be made. 

The five axis format provides a simple framework which shows very clearly what is being assessed.  It simultaneously removes ambiguity while also allowing for complex and abstract conversations around each area of design and learning being undertaken. 

The assessment App provides a digital version of the stamp for summative feedback at the end of the project.  Marking the same 5 elements using digital sliders, it allows the assessor freedom to mark work in a tactile way, being able to recognise creative bravery and design process, without being completely focused on outcomes.  The App automates lots of the time consuming elements of marking and writing feedback, so allow for more focus on teaching and learning.

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

The way in which creativity is taught in High Schools is completely constrained by assessment. Teachers are forced to teach students how to pass the assessment, rather than creative problem solving skills. There is no room for failure in the classroom because of the obsessive focus on targets and achievement. This has led to Design and creativity generally being reduced to a tick box exercise, which has less than no value. Learning and creativity is being removed from our schools at a time when it is completely vital to society. Children who are not traditionally academic, are being robbed of their opportunity to develop a skill set which might suit their outlook and academic kids are being taught that creativity is not valuable enough for their participation and attention. COVID gave us an opportunity to forget about exams and results for a while and focus on creative problem solving and I hope that we never go back to the way things were.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

I have been using this system with my students (undergrad designers) for a few years and it is extremely successful.  I think that it has the potential to help change how creativity is assessed and therefor taught in high schools.  If I can work out how to disseminate my idea, I think COVID is giving us the chance to change how we teach our kids in schools.   

What region are you located in?

  • Europe

Where are you located?

I live and work in Edinburgh, Scotland. I teach in a new, red brick University which attracts students who might be the first to go to University in their family. We are dedicated to widening participation, inclusivity and diversity.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Paul Kim

Ruth. This is a great tool. I am wondering if you can share how this might help with remote learning environments (I can see a few uses). Also, can you share information about how one might get the stamp or the app?

Photo of Ruth Cochrane

Hi Paul, I'm working on an online shop where people can buy the stamp (I'll share the address when I have it) and the App is still in development (subject to finding a bit more funding) but once it's done I'd like to make it available to buy at very low cost to encourage it's use. I'm still considering how to use it remotely, as so far it's been most effective when sitting next to the student - I'd love to hear your thoughts?

Photo of Ken Soto

Hell Ruth, love this idea and the implementation. Makes me wonder if the app could have an AR component that recognizes the stamp image and permits the user to provide annotation/assessment when pointing the device at the sketches/writing/prototype.

Photo of Ruth Cochrane

That's a really interesting idea - I love the prospect that students could have the App and we could integrate self- assessment and peer assessment, AR could be a great way of doing that

Photo of Shivani Chakrachhattri