Assessment Report

Level 3 Drama 2020

Standards 91514  91518


Part A: Commentary

Candidates and teachers are to be congratulated for sustaining and succeeding in such a challenging year. There continues to be a notable number of candidates meeting the criteria for high levels of achievement in both standards.

An in-depth understanding of the performance and text and its context are essential for these high levels of attainment.

Candidates need to be able to make clear links between drama components (elements, techniques, conventions and technologies) and the features of the form. They must also clearly articulate the use of drama components, and their intended purpose and effect. Comments must be supported with detailed evidence and clearly linked to the wider context.

Discussing conventions with confidence is essential for these standards. Conventions are strategies in drama that can be found in all drama and theatre to explore and deepen meaning. The presence of conventions and their impact in candidates’ practical drama experiences of rehearsal processes, theatre forms, devising, technologies and performance viewing need to be made explicit, so this becomes easily accessible and applicable knowledge.


Part B: Report on standards

91514:  Interpret a text from a prescribed playwright to demonstrate knowledge of a theatre form or period

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • answered questions in a simple manner, with some suitable reference to the text they had identified
  • described simply the status of a character within the play
  • described simply the influence(s) on the theatre form.

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • did not answer all of the questions
  • were unable to identify a key idea or event
  • did not reference detail from the chosen text.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • answered all questions
  • supported answers with detailed reference to the chosen text
  • supported written work with sketches, which sometimes added to their score
  • identified a key idea or event and linked it to the chosen text, including details from the text
  • identified a character’s status within the play
  • described the key influence(s) on the theatre form.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • used the sketch page to further illustrate written answers
  • demonstrated perception in their understanding of the chosen text
  • discussed their understanding of social issues relating to the theatre form and in a wider context including influences on the form
  • answered the question asked without deviation, and supported discussion with reference to the chosen text
  • used well-chosen detail to back up opinions and support the ideas being discussed
  • wrote well-structured responses and included opinions related to the text.

Standard specific comments

In the 2020 examination, candidates were able to identify social status (describing a character’s place in society).

Selection of texts reflected a growing appreciation and awareness of New Zealand theatre history. The traditionally used texts – Pinter, Shakespeare, Beckett, Miller, Greek theatre – also featured heavily.

There were instances where some papers seemed to bear little relation to the question and seemed to be from memorised study material that the candidate tried to make fit into their response.


91518:  Demonstrate understanding of live drama performance

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • sketched simply, with labelling or brief annotations
  • wrote brief answers with brief examples to support the explanatory statements. For example, explained simply what the convention did in a key moment of tension but often omitted to explain the effect
  • wrote at length about plot, which described rather than explained. For example, wrote plot-driven responses on drama techniques used in the performance to show a character change
  • made a simple connection to the director’s intention
  • used drama vocabulary well and so demonstrated an understanding of the performance and how drama components – techniques, technologies and conventions – were used.

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • wrote briefly, without explanation
  • missed the opportunity to further their response by sketching; or provided a rudimentary sketch with little or no annotation or labelling
  • gave incorrect information or gave information that did not answer the question
  • gave a plot summary lacking regard for the use of techniques, technologies, conventions or directorial intentions
  • described rather than explained. For example, retold simply what they saw on stage or defined a convention used or stated the director’s intention rather than showing understanding of the intention
  • had a vague understanding of drama components and vocabulary.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • sketched well, with strong annotations that provided supplementary evidence to their written answers
  • gave supporting detail from the performance to enhance their answer, providing detailed examples and evidence. For example, wrote in some detail how technology enhanced a key moment of tension and also explained the effect of this
  • showed an informed understanding of drama components: techniques, conventions and technologies
  • had a comprehensive understanding of a convention and a clear knowledge of how conventions create dramatic meaning
  • identified director or designer intentions and discussed these superficially
  • linked briefly to wider context, although the discussion lacked depth.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • showed perception in their understanding of drama components – techniques, conventions and technologies – in their wider contextual discussion
  • sketched and annotated with perception and with reference to symbols, key ideas and themes in the performance
  • wove detailed examples and evidence into their answers and supported their argument
  • demonstrated a strong understanding of the purpose of the performance, its wider context and audience understanding
  • used terminology in a clear and comprehensive manner
  • discussed director and designer intentions in a perceptive manner, with direct quotations and evidence to support their argument
  • wrote with fluency while still being succinct and to the point
  • linked their answers to the wider context of the play or perceptively linked the performance to social, political or historical contexts.

Standard specific comments

The live performances or recorded live performance selected were varied and complex.

Changes to the specifications meant the viewing of high-quality theatre was available to all candidates. A heartening aspect of this was the clear strength in both the Merit and Excellence categories where the candidates, having been able to watch a performance more than once, showed insight and in-depth perception.

Drama subject page


Previous years' reports

2019 (PDF, 295KB)

2018 (PDF, 108KB)

2017 (PDF, 46KB)

2016 (PDF, 213KB)

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