Assessment Report

Level 3 Drama 2019

Standards 91514  91518


Part A: Commentary

It was pleasing to see there was a considerable number of candidates meeting the criteria for higher levels of achievement across both standards.

Thoroughly understanding the context of the text or performance studied is crucial for success at Level 3. This enables candidates need to make clear links between the work studied and the wider context. Candidates need to make perceptive connections between drama components such as the features of the form, use of conventions, techniques and technologies in performance and their intended purpose and effect.

Candidates should have a sound understanding of the terms 'elements', 'techniques', 'conventions', and 'technologies'. The assessment specifications and the explanatory notes in the standard are useful guides to the terms that can be expected in questions.

Candidates need to be able to provide well-supported evidence, with examples and details from the text as it would have been typically performed or from within the live theatre performance. A confident use of drama terminology enables insightful explanations and vivid descriptions of what is happening on stage.

Candidates who clearly noted key words and requirements of questions provided stronger answers. Bullet points in questions are a guide as to the selection of relevant information not a list of what must be covered in their answer. The bullet points are intended as prompts for candidates indicating the depth of understanding required, particularly at Excellence.


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 all questions in a straightforward manner
  • made with some reference to the text they had identified
  • used sketches to support their answers
  • described a theatre form convention correctly
  • explained the use of technology with some reference to the chosen text.

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • did not answer all of the questions
  • did not make clear references to the chosen text in their answer
  • incorrectly identified a technology as a convention
  • described a technology but did not relate it to a chosen text.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • answered all questions
  • supported answers with detailed reference to the chosen text
  • used the sketch page very well to add detail which was often not included in the written answer
  • identified an acting convention and discussed its use in a persuasive and detailed manner.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • wrote fluently with specific details in all questions
  • used the sketch page to further illustrate written answers, often with detailed annotations
  • demonstrated perception in their understanding of the chosen text
  • perceptively discussed how technology, conventions and character relationships were used
  • understood the socio-political context that the playwright was responding to or was influenced by
  • used well-chosen detail to back up opinions
  • supported discussion with reference to the chosen text without deviating from questions
  • structured their responses and did not include opinions unrelated to the text.

Standard specific comments

2019 candidates were more able to identify a convention than in previous years. However, some still incorrectly identified the following as an acting convention:

  • Social status (describing a character’s place in society)
  • Voice (describing volume, pitch and tone)
  • Culture identity
  • Fast paced speech (an acting technique)
  • Poverty
  • Relationships

Many candidates were able to write about conventions in a way that was acceptable, but some showed confusion regarding the definition of conventions and how to write about them clearly.

There were instances where candidates’ responses bore little relation to the question and appeared to be rote-learned answers that were rewritten in the exam. Fortunately, this was not a wide-spread occurrence.



91518:  Demonstrate understanding of live drama performance

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • used drama terminology
  • sketched simply, with labelling rather than annotation
  • explained drama processes in a brief, simple way with limited evidence
  • explained technology, simply
  • supported their response with evidence from the play, but often in an unclear manner
  • had a simple understanding of the purpose of drama and the world of the play
  • made simple links to the wider context (the social, historical, political or geographical world of the play)
  • described and explained in general, rather than giving details of a specific moment.

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • did not complete questions
  • misinterpreted questions
  • discussed the plot
  • described aspects rather than explaining them
  • described drama processes in a general way
  • described technology in a simple way, by labelling what they saw onstage, without annotated detail
  • confused technology with drama techniques
  • made statements without a link to evidence or connections to details from the production.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • used drama terminology in detail, in an informed manner
  • wrote about drama processes in a detailed way
  • sketched, with clear annotations, to provide supplementary evidence
  • supported their explanations with detailed examples from the performance
  • linked answers to a key moment in the performance and created a clear picture of what was happening on stage
  • made links to the wider context and the world of the play, demonstrating their own understanding with supporting detail and well-chosen examples.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • used drama terminology with clarity and perception
  • answered with sustained focus on key words in questions
  • discussed the use of drama processes in performance in a detailed and insightful manner
  • sketched in a detailed manner and provided perceptive annotations that added to their written discussion
  • used specific language and examples
  • understood technology on a deeper level and discussed in very specific detail using language that was specific to the production elements
  • discussed their personal understanding supported by details from the directors’, designers’ and actors’ contributions
  • discussed the purpose of theatre and linked responses to the wider context or wider world of the plays seen
  • understood the production elements role in evoking an authentic response from the audience
  • understood, on a deeper level, the style, direction and purpose of the performance.

Standard specific comments

Candidates, as part of their learning, should be encouraged to look at glossaries that outline more sophisticated technology terminology. This would enhance their ability to clearly discuss the production team’s choices and the intended effect. 

Many schools viewed productions in a school context whilst others travelled to bigger centres to see theatre companies’ productions. When performances were complex in their key ideas or themes, and used more sophisticated execution of techniques or technologies, candidates were more able to discuss the production in a detailed and perceptive manner.

Drama subject page


Previous years' reports
2016 (PDF, 213KB)

2017 (PDF, 46KB)

2018 (PDF, 108KB)

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