Drama - annotated exemplars level 1 AS91000

Demonstrate understanding of a significant play (1.5)

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This annotated exemplar is intended for teacher use only. The student work shown does not always represent a complete sample of what is required. Selected extracts are used, focused on the grade boundaries, in order to assist assessors to make judgements at the national standard.

Low Excellence

Commentary
Student response

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For Excellence, students need to demonstrate perceptive understanding of a play. This  means to make insightful connections between the play and the time it was set, or first produced.

The exemplified student speaks first in the video.

The student has used their research to make informed and perceptive links to the play The Pohutukawa Tree, and has created a PowerPoint embedded with video that includes detailed and insightful connections to the key themes and ideas in the play.

The student has shown a perceptive understanding of the attitudes of the key character’s relationship with the land, tension created around an unwanted pregnancy, and the ideas for technological possibilities to explore the dramatic purpose of the play.

00:18

The student is in role as Mr Atkinson and portrays his ideas about land ownership. The student draws a link between the text and the context, by discussing how Mr Atkinson is seriously considering selling the land despite Aroha Mataira’s cultural values that connect her ancestry to this land.

01:10

The slide ‘Relating the play to the world today’ includes a presentation written by the student. The dialogue is perceptive and it includes points of views around the use of land ecologically as well as culturally, and is set in the future.

02:26

The slide ‘Relating the play to the world today’ includes a presentation written by the student. The dialogue is perceptive and it includes points of views around the use of land ecologically as well as culturally, and is set in the future.

For a more secure Excellence, there could have been more detailed explanation of the attitudinal difference about land between Mr Atkinson and Aroha Mataira.

High Merit

Commentary
Student response

Student 2 (PDF, 76KB)

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For Merit, the student needs to demonstrate informed understanding of a significant play. This means to give detailed and well-illustrated references that link the play to the time it was set, or first produced, providing examples.

The exemplified student plays the pregnant daughter (dressed in black).

This student has shown an informed understanding of The Pohutukawa Tree, bringing in knowledge of the relationship between Aroha and both of her children. Well-illustrated references are used to support the student’s understanding (1).

This improvisation demonstrates a modern take on the issue of teenage pregnancy to contrast with the time the play was set.

The convention of voices in the head reveals a tension between the characters of the daughter and the mother. This references the lack of communication between Queenie and Aroha within the play itself. The girl’s physical stance demonstrates the barrier between mother and daughter, as illustrated in the play, and the inner thoughts reveal understanding.

The student has looked beyond the text to consider the relevant idea that both children have made mistakes as an ‘act of defiance’. She has considered Queenie’s need for fun (3) and Johnny’s hiding of the sketch book (2). This reference of Queenies’ motivation moves towards perceptiveness.

To reach Excellence, a more insightful understanding could be demonstrated by referencing how Johnny and Queenie could not be open with Aroha in terms of the broader text. For example, discussion of Queenie’s later role in Tamatea and how this contrasts with the world of her mother.

Low Merit

Commentary
Student response

Student 3 (PDF, 148KB)

For Merit, the student needs to demonstrate informed understanding of a significant play. This means to give detailed and well-illustrated references that link the play to the time it was set, or first produced, providing examples.

The student uses the significant George Bernard Shaw play, Pygmalion to demonstrate their understanding. They use some detailed references to illustrate the account of the play, linking it to the social conditions of its first appearance. The presentation is a convincing personal statement.

The student sets out an acceptable overview of the play, commenting on the playwright's own response to the principles of the time. The mention of Shaw's personal life echoes Higgins’ own self blindness, and reinforces the irony identified by the student (2).

Some detailed reference to Eliza and Higgins explains how they fit into Shaw's didactic and satirical intentions (3).

Thematic consideration is widened to include sexism with a general statement about the relative social position of men and women (6).

For a more secure Merit, the student needs to explain, through more specific and referenced detail, how Shaw explored the themes identified. The minor inaccuracy of the motives imputed to Henry Higgins are extended beyond those set out in the play to include aspirations of marriage (1), and need to be revised to strengthen the overall case for well-informed evidence.

High Achieved

Commentary
Student response

Student 4 (PDF, 62KB)

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For Achieved, the student needs to demonstrate understanding of a significant play. This means to make relevant references that link the play to the time that it was set, or first produced.

The student plays ‘The Mother’. Relevant references are made between the improvised scene and the world of the play The Pohutukawa Tree.

The students have chosen to show a mother with aspirations for her daughter that are so rigid and focused that she fails to see her for who she really is. The focus is less on the pregnancy, and more on the intensity of the high expectations that the mother has for the daughter. This references the relationship between Aroha and Queenie.

The character of Aroha is contrasted with that of the mother (1). This is later expanded, to demonstrate understanding of Aroha’s motivation within the text, and this adds to the evidence for Achieved.

The similarities and differences in the mother’s responses are discussed. There is specific reference to Aroha’s concerns within the world of the play (2) (3) (4).

To reach Merit, this student needs to demonstrate more detail in their understanding of the whole of the play, or the time that the play was first produced. For example, it would be necessary to demonstrate knowledge of the social response to a mixed race child, or an unwed mother, in the late 1940s.

Low Achieved

Commentary
Student response

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For Achieved, the student needs to demonstrate understanding of a significant play. This means to make relevant references that link the play to the time that it was set, or first produced.

The exemplified student plays Queenie’s grandaughter (wearing a red sweatshirt and and black tights).

The student has received this grade through the development of a contrasting improvisation that draws sufficient and relevant connections between The Pohutukawa Tree, its context, and the improvisation.

The timecodes listed are those that appear in the black box on screen.

10:24

The improvised scenes begin in the future, with Queenie now a grandmother.

10:42

 

Action establishes the situation of the boys meeting the old man/ghost. The use of projected image supports his tale about the war.

10:47

 

‘Didn’t the same thing happen to her?’ This question foreshadows the possibility that, in contrast to Aroha, Queenie is more accepting of change. It also, by inference, shows the attitudes of the period in which the play was first produced (compared to a more modern context).

The scene from the text is placed in the middle segment of the improvisation, and it is central to the ideas that are communicated in other scenes. Queenie is influenced by her own experience with Aroha and consequently deals with her own granddaughter, Marama, in a more open and accepting fashion.

For a more secure Achieved, the student would need to explore issues in greater breadth, and to have expanded on their ideas with documentation, or a presentation after the performance.

High Not Achieved

Commentary

For Achieved, the student needs to demonstrate understanding of a significant play. This means to make relevant references that link the play to the time that it was set, or first produced.

There is no student work currently available at this grade.

A student would receive this grade had a simple translation of the situation of a play been improvised into a modern context.

To reach Achieved using this approach, the improvisation needs to draw out the intention of the improvisation in a manner that demonstrates ‘understanding’.

There must be evidence (supported by documentation) that the student has, at the very least, an understanding beyond the plot itself. For example, the student must demonstrate understanding of the character relationships, ideas and concerns that are evident in the play, and provide some evidence of how this fits with the world in which the play is set or was first produced. With some or all of this information, the student can achieve the standard.

 
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