The pattern for learning in Drama does not resemble a linear approach; however it does address the need for progression in terms of three basic principles:
These three principles underpin all areas of the curriculum and attempts at assessing them are made in terms of Knowledge and Skills.
The schemes of work involve a theme/issue or skill that can be responded to in a variety of ways. In order to respond the student must have a basic understanding of the context in which they are working. Understanding may be a result of personal experience or knowledge from another source. The students will use their knowledge as a basis to create and perform. It is expected that through these processes of experiential learning, deeper understanding of form, context and content will be developed. Deeper understanding will then be allowed to inform evaluative response to the stimuli/theme.
Drama is not attempting take the place of actor training however performance is to be viewed as a presentation of ideas. Through a process of understanding and creating development has informed a product. The product may for example be a rehearsed improvisation, a series of tableaux etc. Knowledge of understanding and creating and skills of understanding and performing are the areas that are assessed. It is recognised that in Drama there is learning that takes place which cannot be assessed as it can be unseen. This unseen learning cannot be easily assessed; however personal responses and feelings are the realm of the drama classroom and as such are recognised as learning outcomes.
Verbal feedback informs the main type of assessment within Drama, allowing students to gain regular formative comments to assist with learning. Students are given both individual formative comments during each lesson which takes place once a week for Year 7. At KS4 GCSE students are given verbal feedback in each of their allocated teaching hours. The short term targets provide students with clear areas for improvement which can be used directly after being given, therefore informing immediate work.
Verbal feedback also works in conjunction with self and peer assessment, as many students are able to fully explain ideas and conventions via a verbal explanation. Both teachers and students are encouraged to give positive feedback. This work should be completed in context wherever applicable e.g. teacher in role using an accent or tone of voice.
Assessment for Learning: Drama and Dance
In both Dance and Drama, students at KS3 are assessed at the end of each scheme of work. The assessment is standard across the department and students receive a level* following a practical performance which is then recorded as part of the standard monitoring and reports for each year group/class. Students study a wide range of skills including, Contemporary, Street dance and Jazz. In Drama students build up a core tool box of skills that encourage stylised and contemporary work, as well as classic texts such as Shakespeare and Alice in Wonderland.
Summative assessments are video recorded at the digression of the class teacher and are then watched by individuals to assist assessment, evaluation and to standardise marking across the department. Summative assessments are used to inform future planning and attainment levels set. Students also complete a summary of the skills that they have learnt in the Unit, in their work books.
Key Stage Four: GCSE Performing Arts Assessment
Students are internally assessed and externally moderated for both Units 1 and 2 of the course. As well as practical workshops for both Units students complete coursework under controlled conditions in school which forms 60% of the final assessment. Students work on various drama strategies and are encouraged to work both independently and actively as part of a group. A wide variety of stimuli is offered e.g. poems, scripts, music etc. to enable students to explore the drama medium and develop a bank of drama techniques to assist them through the course. Unit 2 is set externally and students develop a piece of Drama for performance. The final performance piece is externally assessed by a visiting examiner and forms 40% of the students overall mark.
NB: Drama levels are taken from the Arts Council. Dance levels are taken from PE level descriptors for Dance.
Extra-Curricular Performing Arts
Students also have the opportunity to perform in extracurricular Drama, Dance and Performing Arts. Whole school productions and talent shows are held each year, as well as visits to local theatres and performing arts venues.
Performing arts is extremely popular at Lostock and many students have gone on to study it further at A level and BTEC at local and national colleges.