SDA assessment

What do I need to do to gain the SDA?

  • Show an understanding that there are issues of sustainability in all designing and making activities
  • Show the ability to translate that understanding into practice in A2 work.
  • Successful completion of A2 level would lead to SDA Part 2.
  • ensure that your product meets the needs of your client as expressed in your original specification


    The overall aim of the assessment criteria is to enable students to show an understanding that there are issues of sustainability in all designing and making activities. They should show this throughout the different elements of their design folder.

    Teachers can use the criteria for continuous assessment of students’ work. They also provide a checklist for students. However, it must be remembered that sustainability issues are only ONE part of exam board criteria and that those criteria offer students far more opportunity for scoring marks.

    In order to receive an SDA Part 1 the student must show evidence of having met the compulsory criteria (in bold) as well as three of the other criteria.

    N.B. The AS level criteria are intended to show a progression to A2, where a broader and higher level of understanding of sustainability is expected.

    The first box is intended for students to record where, in their folder, they meet the criteria. The second is intended for teachers to verify that the criterion has been met.

    F1. Has shown an understanding of the need to consider whether the product needs to be made at all (e.g. has asked whether we could do without the product, or asked why we are making it?).

    F2. When a decision to make a product has been made, has shown an understanding that sustainability issues should be considered in the designing and making processes (e.g. indicates concern about environmental, social and economic issues as well as fitness for purpose, aesthetics etc.)


    A1. Includes at least one source of information about how environmental, economic and social/cultural issues relate to the design context (e.g. evidence of research into product/s that minimise environmental impact).

    A2. Presents an analysis of the information on at least one of the environmental, economic or social/cultural issues (e.g. shows there are economic implications in mass production manufacturing).

    A3. Investigates the sustainability requirements of the client (e.g. asks client if they wish to use recycled materials where practicable).


    D1. Develops a specification/brief that includes relevant criteria for the development of a design solution that addresses at least one aspect of sustainability (e.g. specifies that the product manufacture should use renewable energy or material sources wherever possible).

    G1. Considers at least two aspects of sustainability in their design ideas (e.g. shows evidence of having asked questions or completed research about environmental, economic or social/cultural issues).

    G2. Generates ideas that build towards a proposal that meets the previously identified specification with particular reference to sustainability (e.g. shows how a proposed solution may have maintained a social/cultural tradition).


    C1. Experiments with different materials and considers the potential for reducing, re-using or recycling the materials or components chosen in at least one stage of the product’s life cycle (e.g. tries to ensure the least possible quantity of material is used in packaging).

    C2. Provides evidence of objective evaluation that the sustainability ideas generated , including the requirements of the client, have been incorporated into design proposals (i.e. show that ideas generated in G2 are incorporated into proposals)

    C3. Shows an understanding that the skills and techniques needed in product manufacture are appropriate to the context for which it is intended. (e.g. gives evidence that local skills and equipment available have been investigated to
    ensure it can be made in the locality for which it is intended).


    P1. Shows an awareness of at least one sustainability issue in planning
    manufacture at an appropriate scale of production
    (e.g. ensures that product components can be easily disassembled at end of life cycle or that materials chosen are non-toxic or renewable).

    P2. Demonstrates a willingness to modify the original design, where appropriate,
    to include methods that would improve an aspect of the product’s sustainability
    (e.g. includes a method of filtering and re-using water in the manufacturing


    M1. Shows how sustainability decisions made earlier have been incorporated into the manufacture of the product (e.g. shows that the amount of waste material has been reduced to a minimum).


    T1. Gains objective evaluation of the finished product against the specification (D1), including the client’s sustainability requirements (e.g. gives clear evidence of comparing the product against the specification and of having sought feedback from the client or an SDA partner, or others with sustainability expertise).

    T2. Shows a willingness to modify the manufacturing process in the light of feedback on ways of making it more sustainable.

    SDA assessment
    SDA assessment criteria
    AS assessment criteria
    OCR AS Product Study assessment criteria
    A2 assessment criteria
    An example of A2 Assessment