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    NAAB - Student Performance Criteria (boring?)

    Steve Fuchs
    Oct 20, '06 11:58 AM EST

    Yesterday, I was asked to update SCI-Arc's site with the NAAB Student Performance Criteria. Seeing as how WASC is visiting, I think everyone is trying to put on the "best face" for the visiting review team. After reading the criteria, I finally got a clear picture of what it means to be educated as an architect. It's funny how it took a month after completing graduate thesis to figure this out. Or, maybe, just maybe, schools need to be a bit more involved in fully developing their students--at least make this kind of information readily available. Now I have a much more focused set of targets to pass on to my future students. Read on...

    From NAAB Conditions for Accreditation for Professional Degree Programs in Architecture, 2004 Edition.

    3.13 Student Performance Criteria

    The accredited degree program must ensure that each graduate possesses the knowledge and skills defined by the criteria set out below. The knowledge and skills are the minimum for meeting the demands of an internship leading to registration for practice.

    The school must provide evidence that its graduates have satisfied each criterion through required coursework. If credits are granted for courses taken at other institutions, evidence must be provided that the courses are comparable to those offered in the accredited degree program.

    The criteria encompass two levels of accomplishment:

    • Understanding—means the assimilation and comprehension of information without necessarily being able to see its full implication.

    • Ability—means the skill in using specific information to accomplish a task, in correctly selecting the appropriate information, and in applying it to the solution of a specific problem.

    The NAAB establishes performance criteria to help accredited degree programs prepare students for the profession while encouraging educational practices suited to the individual degree program. In addition to assessing whether student performance meets the professional criteria, the visiting team will assess performance in relation to the school's stated curricular goals and content. While the NAAB stipulates the student performance criteria that must be met, it specifies neither the educational format nor the form of student work that may serve as evidence of having met these criteria. Programs are encouraged to develop unique learning and teaching strategies, methods, and materials to satisfy these criteria. The NAAB will consider innovative methods for satisfying the criteria, provided the school has a formal evaluation process for assessing student achievement of these criteria and documents the results.

    The APR must include the following information:

    • An overview of the school's curricular goals and content.

    • A matrix cross-referencing each required course with the performance criteria it fulfills. For each criterion, the school must highlight the cell on the matrix that points to the greatest evidence of achievement.

    For the purpose of accreditation, graduating students must demonstrate understanding or ability in the following areas:

    1. Speaking and Writing Skills. Ability to read, write, listen, and speak effectively

    2. Critical Thinking Skills. Ability to raise clear and precise questions, use abstract ideas to interpret information, consider diverse points of view, reach well-reasoned conclusions, and test them against relevant criteria and standards

    3. Graphics Skills. Ability to use appropriate representational media, including freehand drawing and computer technology, to convey essential formal elements at each stage of the programming and design process

    4. Research Skills. Ability to gather, assess, record, and apply relevant information in architectural coursework

    5. Formal Ordering Systems. Understanding of the fundamentals of visual perception and the principles and systems of order that inform two- and three-dimensional design, architectural composition, and urban design

    6. Fundamental Design Skills. Ability to use basic architectural principles in the design of buildings, interior spaces, and sites

    7. Collaborative Skills. Ability to recognize the varied talent found in interdisciplinary design project teams in professional practice and work in collaboration with other students as members of a design team

    8. Western Traditions. Understanding of the Western architectural canons and traditions in architecture, landscape and urban design, as well as the climatic, technological, socioeconomic, and other cultural factors that have shaped and sustained them

    9. Non-Western Traditions. Understanding of parallel and divergent canons and traditions of architecture and urban design in the non-Western world

    10. National and Regional Traditions. Understanding of national traditions and the local regional heritage in architecture, landscape design and urban design, including the vernacular tradition

    11. Use of Precedents. Ability to incorporate relevant precedents into architecture and urban design projects

    12. Human Behavior. Understanding of the theories and methods of inquiry that seek to clarify the relationship between human behavior and the physical environment

    13. Human Diversity. Understanding of the diverse needs, values, behavioral norms, physical ability, and social and spatial patterns that characterize different cultures and individuals and the implication of this diversity for the societal roles and responsibilities of architects

    14. Accessibility. Ability to design both site and building to accommodate individuals with varying physical abilities

    15. Sustainable Design. Understanding of the principles of sustainability in making architecture and urban design decisions that conserve natural and built resources, including culturally important buildings and sites, and in the creation of healthful buildings and communities

    16. Program Preparation. Ability to prepare a comprehensive program for an architectural project, including assessment of client and user needs, a critical review of appropriate precedents, an inventory of space and equipment requirements, an analysis of site conditions, a review of the relevant laws and standards and assessment of their implication for the project, and a definition of site selection and design assessment criteria

    17. Site Conditions. Ability to respond to natural and built site characteristics in the development of a program and the design of a project

    18. Structural Systems. Understanding of principles of structural behavior in withstanding gravity and lateral forces and the evolution, range, and appropriate application of contemporary structural systems

    19. Environmental Systems. Understanding of the basic principles and appropriate application and performance of environmental systems, including acoustical, lighting, and climate modification systems, and energy use, integrated with the building envelope

    20. Life Safety. Understanding of the basic principles of life-safety systems with an emphasis on egress

    21. Building Envelope Systems. Understanding of the basic principles and appropriate application and performance of building envelope materials and assemblies

    22. Building Service Systems. Understanding of the basic principles and appropriate application and performance of plumbing, electrical, vertical transportation, communication, security, and fire protection systems

    23. Building Systems Integration. Ability to assess, select, and conceptually integrate structural systems, building envelope systems, environmental systems, life-safety systems, and building service systems into building design

    24. Building Materials and Assemblies. Understanding of the basic principles and appropriate application and performance of construction materials, products, components, and assemblies, including their environmental impact and reuse

    25. Construction Cost Control. Understanding of the fundamentals of building cost, life-cycle cost, and construction estimating

    26. Technical Documentation. Ability to make technically precise drawings and write outline specifications for a proposed design

    27. Client Role in Architecture. Understanding of the responsibility of the architect to elicit, understand, and resolve the needs of the client, owner, and user

    28. Comprehensive Design. Ability to produce a comprehensive architectural project based on a building program and site that includes development of programmed spaces demonstrating an understanding of structural and environmental systems, building envelope systems, life-safety provisions, wall sections and building assemblies and the principles of sustainability

    29. Architect's Administrative Roles. Understanding of obtaining commissions and negotiating contracts, managing personnel and selecting consultants, recommending project delivery methods, and forms of service contracts

    30. Architectural Practice. Understanding of the basic principles and legal aspects of practice organization, financial management, business planning, time and project management, risk mitigation, and mediation and arbitration as well as an understanding of trends that affect practice, such as globalization, outsourcing, project delivery, expanding practice settings, diversity, and others

    31. Professional Development. Understanding of the role of internship in obtaining licensure and registration and the mutual rights and responsibilities of interns and employers

    32. Leadership. Understanding of the need for architects to provide leadership in the building design and construction process and on issues of growth, development, and aesthetics in their communities

    33. Legal Responsibilities. Understanding of the architect's responsibility as determined by registration law, building codes and regulations, professional service contracts, zoning and subdivision ordinances, environmental regulation, historic preservation laws, and accessibility laws

    34. Ethics and Professional Judgment. Understanding of the ethical issues involved in the formation of professional judgment in architectural design and practice


    • and few years later after schooling, those are the areas you are pretty much will be examined for your licensure as well.

      Oct 21, 06 3:01 pm  · 

      ya, i'm getting ready to send in my naab stuff and start studying for the ARE in california. any tips?

      Oct 21, 06 3:31 pm  · 

      archicards are good way to study for multi choice tests. don't put it off. study for each test and you will pass.

      Oct 22, 06 12:23 am  · 

      excellent. i'd like to make this a goal over the next year or two.

      Oct 22, 06 2:43 am  · 

      "Or, maybe, just maybe, schools need to be a bit more involved in fully developing their students..."

      I agree. Most architecture firms I know of are in dire need of project managers who have a solid grasp of many of the 34 areas NAAB lists above. As a result, I believe many firms are unduly burdened with a disproportionate amount of professional development (overly extensive mentorship) for areas that should otherwise be developed in school.

      Good luck on the testing Steve…I received my CA, AZ & CO license’s earlier this year....major relief! It’s definitely no easy task, but I’m sure it will be a cakewalk for you compared to your last few years.

      So I assume your not going to be calling Mal Pais or Playa Hermosa your home break anytime soon…?

      Oct 25, 06 5:28 pm  · 

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