Assessment Report

Level 1 Drama 2020

Standards 90011  90998


Part A: Commentary

Overall, candidates appeared to have been well prepared for the 2020 papers, with many candidates providing detailed responses to a rich range of performances and drama/theatre forms. 

It was pleasing to see that many candidates made use of the list of aspects, features and theatre forms at the start of each paper to support their responses.

Teachers are encouraged to check the specifications for the next examination round and plan their work accordingly, to give candidates the best opportunity to be successful in either standard. Selecting performances and forms that are accessible and appropriate for the standards and for the candidates is important.  

Part B: Report on standards

90011:  Demonstrate understanding of the use of drama aspects within live performance

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • described techniques, technologies and elements in the performance, with correct terminology
  • explained ideas supported with general statements
  • explained, with some understanding, the ideas or themes in the performance, though often repeated statements
  • provided a general description or explanation of tension in the performance, referring to a character
  • supported all responses with evidence.

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • did not use the terminology of Drama when describing techniques
  • confused terms such as techniques and technologies
  • gave a rudimentary description of technology
  • provided plot outlines rather than focusing on key words in the question
  • did not support their ideas with examples or evidence
  • used vague descriptions that were not easily visualised.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • described and explained in detail, techniques, technologies and elements in the performance, linking their ideas to the overall purpose
  • used quotes and specific examples from the performance to support their reasoning
  • provided specific descriptions or technical language when discussing technologies
  • annotated their sketches with details such as wider purpose or symbolism to help support their response
  • connected ideas back to the moment they were writing about
  • annotated their sketches with details to support their answer
  • communicated understanding of a wide range of Drama aspects by selecting relevant details to support their statements
  • conveyed a holistic understanding of the play as a whole.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • articulated their ideas in a concise manner, with thoughtful and perceptive connections
  • provided new information in sketch annotations to support and add depth to their response
  • linked details and key ideas to the wider world or wider play throughout their responses
  • used a mature personal voice and thinking that strongly related to key ideas identified within their discussion
  • provided well chosen, relevant evidence woven throughout the response.

Standard specific comments

Candidates are strongly advised to read all questions thoroughly before commencing their responses so that information can be targeted to each question, as well as to avoid repetition. In Question Three in particular, candidates tended to write in detail about plot rather than specifically respond to the question.

Candidates benefitted from having the opportunity to write about their own, live or recorded live performances. Although there are a wide range of plays available for viewing both nationwide and online, it is important that the chosen performance/s have sufficient depth, character development and use of technologies to allow candidates to succeed at a high level. 


90998:  Demonstrate understanding of features of a drama/theatre form

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • provided some reference to typical features and general information on the historical and social context of their chosen drama/theatre form
  • described in general terms how aspects of their chosen drama/theatre form were typically used in performance
  • described the typical use of techniques and technology in their chosen drama/theatre form
  • demonstrated an understanding of how plot points or descriptions of characters were typical of the drama/theatre form.

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • provided inaccurate information about the features of the drama/theatre form
  • gave information on the plot of plays, rather than the features of the drama/theatre form
  • gave responses about their own experience, or a modern performance, rather than features that are typical of their chosen drama/theatre form
  • demonstrated some understanding of the era of the drama/theatre form but did not provide evidence of the features, use technologies, or show an awareness of the attitudes/beliefs of the time.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • gave detailed, specific evidence that linked back to the question
  • provided explanations that linked each part of their response together, including the purpose or effect on the audience of the drama form/period
  • illustrated their points with detailed sketches that supported their response
  • provided specific examples or evidence in order to clearly explain their points, including plot, quotes, character information, technological and social/historical information.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • used specific and accurate language about their chosen drama/theatre form, demonstrating detailed knowledge
  • provided detailed annotated sketches to support and enhance their responses
  • demonstrated insightful understanding with well-chosen evidence of the purpose of the acting style, showing connections to the era and effects on typical audiences
  • gave succinct and thoughtful responses that were well-structured, including comprehensive information and insightful connections between the features of the drama/theatre form, the wider social/historical context and the era in which it was placed.

Standard specific comments

Candidates should be prepared to describe and explain features of the drama/theatre form that are specific to the time it was originally performed/in a traditional era or period, rather than in a modern context or their own practical exploration of the form.  

Candidates are encouraged to read the whole paper first and plan what knowledge and examples they will use before beginning responses, to avoid repeating information.

Drama/theatre forms with a rich social and historical context and features that could be clearly explained in depth often helped candidates to show the detail and insight necessary to access the higher grades. These forms included Greek theatre, commedia dell'arte and Victorian melodrama.


Drama subject page


Previous years' reports

2019 (PDF, 283KB)

2018 (PDF, 112KB)

2017 (PDF, 46KB)

2016 (PDF, 212KB)

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