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Throughout literature, there are varying schools of thought on what constitutes object-oriented design (OOD). Does OOD encompass the selection of the appropriate interfaces? Does reusing classes represent "good" OOD? And what about UML, if we have class interaction diagrams, is this OOD? There is a need to establish a set of requisite competencies to guide teaching of OOD. Within this paper, we present a comprehensive analysis of seven essential principles of object-oriented design. In order to validate the effectiveness of the guiding principles OOD, we developed the design readiness assessment scale (DRAS). The DRAS provides a classification of one's design ability in relation to the testing population. We further discuss a study of the DRAS using a subject pool consisting of freshmen computer science (novice designers) and graduate/professionals (expert designers). We present the preliminary results of this study and its impact on the future OOD education.