Assessment Report

Level 1 Drama 2021

Standards 90011  90998

 

Part A: Commentary

Overall, candidates appeared to be well prepared for the 2021 examinations, with a range of detailed and high-level responses for both standards across the country. Many candidates made use of the list of terms and key features of theatre forms at the start of each paper. Candidates who included terms or aspects of the Drama components were able to strengthen their examples. Those who used bullet points for guidance or as a starting point, and then discussed the wider purpose or context of the performance or drama / theatre form, developed stronger responses than those who limited their focus to key words only. Candidates should be reminded to read and plan their answers, so they are not repeating themselves, and that responding to all parts of each question improves the likelihood of achieving. It is vital that the assessment specifications are clearly understood, as they can change from year to year.

Part B: Report on standards

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

Examinations 

The examination included three questions, and candidates were required to respond to all three. The questions covered the requirements of the 2021 Assessment Specifications, which were: conventions, purpose, use of technologies, and historical / social context of the drama / theatre form. The questions required the candidate to apply their understanding of a combination of features of their chosen drama / theatre form. Candidates needed to provide detailed examples of features of the drama or theatre form / period from the text to illustrate their statements.

Observations 

Many candidates were well-prepared and had investigated a drama / theatre form in some depth. It was clear that some candidates had explored their chosen drama / theatre form practically, and this had informed their responses. Candidates must be able to describe and explain features of the drama / theatre form that are specific to the time when it was originally performed. Candidates struggled the most with this question when they responded purely about the example they used (e.g. Hamilton the Musical) rather than the theatre form (e.g. musical theatre). This could suggest that students had studied a specific performance example rather than exploring a drama / theatre form in depth. 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.

Grade awarding 

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • attempted all sections of all questions
  • provided brief and generally accurate responses to questions
  • provided responses that described the typical use of techniques and technology in a drama / theatre form, but needed an explanation of why these techniques / technologies would be used in this way
  • wrote responses that demonstrated an understanding of how plot points were typical of the drama /theatre form
  • provided plot details or descriptions of characters in place of more detailed information about features of the drama / theatre form
  • described briefly the social / historical context of the drama / theatre form
  • tended to describe in general rather than in specific terms
  • repeated the same examples for each of the three questions
  • described or provided a labelled sketch to show how technology was used in their chosen drama /theatre form.

Candidates who were awarded as Not Achieved commonly:

  • did not answer all sections or questions, did not respond accurately to the question, or rewrote questions without responding to them
  • provided responses that purely described the plot of a play or performance
  • wrote responses that described performances they had created or seen, without giving a description of how this performance was typical of the chosen drama / theatre form, or wrote specifically about one play or production, rather than the features that are typical of a drama / theatre form
  • provided inaccurate examples of their chosen drama / theatre form, e.g. described a modern performance space rather than one that was typical of the drama / theatre form, or could convey understanding of the era of the drama / theatre form but did not provide evidence around the features such as prop / costume / conventions, or show an awareness of historical influences of the time.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • supplied detailed and specific responses and linked their responses clearly to the questions
  • provided details and facts about the drama / theatre form, including plot points, character information, and technological and historical information
  • described the performance style / technology / beliefs in a way that allowed the reader to visualise what was being described
  • explained clearly the reason for the aspect that they described, e.g. an over-exaggerated performance style was necessary due to the large size of the theatre
  • provided clear examples from different parts of a play, or different plays, in order to illustrate their points
  • used quotes and / or specific examples to support their answers, and annotated sketches to support their responses
  • provided explanations to support their responses, linking each part of their response, together with detailed information and a variety of examples from the drama form across the whole examination paper.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • made insightful connections between conventions / technology / historical influences and the wider social / historical context of the drama / theatre form
  • showed mature thinking and often comprehensive information on the social / historical context of the drama / theatre form
  • provided full and thoughtful answers that were well-structured and supported with well-chosen evidence
  • wrote succinctly and to the point, yet showed clear, insightful understanding of the drama / theatre form
  • responded with specific and accurate language about their chosen drama / theatre form, demonstrating detailed knowledge
  • provided detailed examples, with an explanation of the evidence provided and made links / connections with the wider world of the drama / theatre form and the era in which it was placed.

 

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

Examinations 

The examination included three questions, and candidates were required to respond to all three. The questions covered the requirements of the 2021 Assessment Specifications, which were: drama techniques, the use of technologies, role development, and mood. The questions required the candidate to apply their understanding of a live drama performance that they had viewed as a member of the audience or participated in as an actor. Candidates needed to provide detailed examples of Drama components and connect this to a wider context.

Observations 

Candidates often struggled to describe and explain technologies and techniques with clarity. To gain Achievement or reach Merit, it is important to include supporting details and explain the 'how and the why' to show purpose. To achieve at Excellence, it is recommended that candidates build greater understanding of the context of the selected play, and develop understanding of what relevant wider world connections look like for that context. Performances that had depth allowed candidates to explore ideas and provided an opportunity to connect key messages or deeper meaning to the world of the play, their own world, or the wider world. Candidates were able to reach all levels of the assessment when a performance had wider context, rather than shallow or undeveloped ideas. Candidates wrote poorly about most musical theatre performances. Musicals such as Blood Brothers and Les Miserables were the exception, as they have a strong historical / societal grounding and include strong messages for society.

Grade awarding 

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • provided general and sweeping statements
  • wrote shallow or repetitive answers with minimal evidence to support their points
  • did not clearly link points or stick to the question
  • used some examples that were clearly described
  • showed a basic understanding of the / their performance, or of the role and the situation, but were not able to explain or discuss the wider / deeper meaning of the context.

Candidates who were awarded as Not Achieved commonly:

  • provided imprecise or rudimentary answers
  • lacked examples or specific details
  • misinterpreted the question or did not answer all questions or all parts of the questions
  • displayed very basic knowledge or understanding of Drama components
  • used minimal or incorrect Drama terminology
  • wrote plot-heavy responses
  • struggled to identify a mood or link it to technology
  • did not use evidence to support their points.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • supplied clear knowledge of the Drama components being discussed
  • used Drama terminology confidently and correctly within their answers
  • backed up their points with relevant specific details within their examples
  • displayed strong understanding of play / role through their responses
  • showed sound knowledge of the world of the play or role they were discussing, or how it related to them / the audience; however the wider purpose or world-link was not fully connected to the key point of discussion, but rather was tacked on at the end
  • started to give some insight within their answers, but did not quite make the jump to wider world points.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • provided thoughtful and insightful detail in their answers
  • displayed insightful understanding of role, play, and context
  • supplied a wide breadth of examples to support their points and understanding
  • provided mature and relevant, well-chosen links between their own or viewed work linked to the wider world; this was woven into their answers, and different purposes / effects / world contexts would often be discussed
  • showed a breadth of knowledge by not repeating information
  • picked up on smaller details that impacted overall performance / understanding / purpose of the performance, influence on the audience, world of the play, and  / or historical and societal contexts.

Drama subject page

Previous years' reports

2020 (PDF, 156KB)

2019 (PDF, 283KB)

2018 (PDF, 112KB)

2017 (PDF, 46KB)

2016 (PDF, 212KB)

 
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