The Arts Support Materials
Assessment Principle 6
Assessment should lead to school-wide evaluation processes
Drama snapshot: School review of good assessment practices
The Arts/Drama/Making/Drama processes and the elements of drama/ Drama conventions
Drama processes through exploration of one or more elements of drama (role, character and relationships; voice and movement; space, time and situation; mood, atmosphere and dramatic tension) to establish dramatic meaning and action-audience relationships
Improvisation conventions (establishing scenarios and role/character)
Nature of the assessment
A whole school review of formative assessment practices with a particular focus on providing feedback to improve student learning
Purposes of the assessment
The drama teachers agreed to use one of their assessments as a case study for all teachers to discuss.
Stage in the Teaching sequence
End of a series of lessons – formative assessment
The teachers devised an assessment task in which their students were required to plan, develop, workshop and present an improvisation (2–3 minutes) based on a close reading of one of two script extracts. They also developed a set of structured interview questions to assess students’ ability to reflect on their work.
During the assessment, the teachers collected examples of the type of feedback that they provided to students in relation to the use of:
- elements of drama for dramatic storytelling
- spaces of performance for defining status, relationships and place/time
- drama conventions to extend the dramatic story and heighten audience engagement
- improvisation conventions such as breaking patterns to add variety and intrigue for an audience
- drama conventions to develop dramatic action that explores conflict, dramatic tension and builds a dramatic story towards climax, dénouement and resolution.
They also collected examples of key moments where they had to adjust their approach to meet the needs of particular groups of students.
Using the information
The drama teachers led a presentation to their colleagues in which they explained the assessment task, the marking key they used and its alignment to the key content.
They then presented examples of students’ performances and the feedback they had provided to these students. They explained where they adjusted their approach to meet the needs of particular groups of students.
The staff discussed the assessment tasks and drama teachers’ use of feedback. They reflected on their own formative assessment practices, what they did well and where they might adjust these to further improve student learning. They also discussed how formative assessment might differ across learning areas.
The school leadership team drew on this discussion, as well as the principles of Assessment in the Western Australian Curriculum and Assessment Outline and a number of readings on effective formative assessment practices, to inform their drafting of the formative assessment section of their school assessment policy.