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NSW Department of Education and Communities

Curriculum support for NSW Public Schools

Assessment in Drama


Drama Curriculum K-12

Assessment is the process of identifying, gathering and interpreting information about students’ learning. The central purpose of assessment is to provide information on student achievement and progress and set direction for ongoing teaching and learning. (Principles of Assessment and Reporting in NSW Government Schools DET NSW 1996)

Other purposes for assessment include gathering information and making judgements about student achievement for reporting to the student, and to other parties such as parents, other teachers and prospective employers.

Assessment should

  • inform teaching and learning
  • give students information about what they can do and how they can improve
  • provide information about student achievement and progress

Faculties should

  • have assessment plans which provide opportunities for students to demonstrate achievement of  syllabus outcomes at the relevant stage of learning
  • ensure that assessment strategies are valid and reliable
  • ensure that the assessment program allows for the collection of data over time
  • have assessment practices which are time efficient and manageable

Teachers should

  • plan assessment when planning teaching and learning activities
  • make additional assessment judgements during teaching and learning
  • design assessments which are appropriate for judging student achievement in relation to standards
  • be able to support judgements with examples or evidence of student work (This does not mean that work samples are required to support every judgement but that teachers can articulate the basis on which judgements were made)
  • use appropriate assessment strategies for the information they are trying to collect
  • maximise the usefulness of assessment strategies selected (for example by addressing several outcomes in one assessment task) 

Standards and Outcomes

The OBOS in Curriculum K-10 Framework (2002) and current Stage 4 and 5 syllabuses state that:

  • Syllabus standards (outcomes and content) articulate what is to be taught and learned Syllabus outcomes and content show the continuity and developmental sequence of intended learning for each stage and highlight knowledge, skills and understanding that students should learn as they progress through their schooling. They assist teachers to plan further learning opportunities
  • Performance Standards (Stage statements, levels of achievement) articulate in summary form a description of the quality of performance in meeting the outcomes for a stage of learning. They describe the degree to which students demonstrate the expected knowledge, skills and understanding.
  • Outcomes are central to teaching and learning.
  • Levels of achievement for Stages 4 and 5 describe the degree to which students can demonstrate the knowledge, skills and understanding of a course at the end of a Stage.

Assessment Terminology

Outcomes              Explicit statements of the knowledge skills and understanding expected to be learned by students

Criteria                   Descriptive statements that markers will use for making judgements about the marks to be awarded for different levels of performance

Rubric                    General criteria at the beginning of a section that will be taken into account in marking questions

Marking Guidelines    Provide the criteria for making judgements about the different levels of student performance and the marks to be awarded

Marking scheme      May be identical to the marking guidelines or elaborate the marking guidelines in the light of student responses

Work samples          Provide responses that illustrate particular outcomes and provide an indication of levels of student performance


Assessment for learning

Assessment for learning is ongoing and allows teachers to plan future teaching and learning activities. It gives students opportunities to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills.

It occurs as a regular part of teaching and learning. It informs judgements about student achievement and progress and allows for future planning. It can be both formal and informal.

Assessment of learning

Assessment of learning involves teachers making judgements about student achievement at key points in the learning process, an example being at the end of a semester, year or stage.

These judgements may also be made when schools wish to report on the knowledge, understanding and skills demonstrated by students.

Key questions

The Assessment Task

  • Does it relate to teaching and learning?
  • Is it linked to syllabus outcomes?
  • Does it have clear and explicit instructions?
  • Does it have clear and explicit criteria for making judgements?
  • Does it provide an opportunity for feedback?
  • Does it encourage students, parents and teachers as active participants in the process where possible?

Recording and Reporting

  • Have we identified the important elements to report upon at a given time?
  • Does the faculty assessment program collect relevant evidence?
  • Is it valid and reliable?
  • Does it indicate what students know, understand and can do and how that compares with the standard expected by the syllabus?
  • Is there a consistent approach to the collection of evidence?
  • Is the information presented in a consistent way across the school?
  • Have we involved parents in the development of assessment and reporting processes?
  • Is the information provided meaningful?
  • Does the information indicate achievement of course outcomes?

Assessment links for drama

Assessment K-10:

General Principles for Planning, Programming, Assessing, Reporting and Evaluating

Principles of Assessment for Learning

School Certificate course descriptors

BOS assessment site for SC

Areas for assessment

Student work samples for drama


Street Theatre

Practices to support School Certificate grading

Frequently asked questions about School Certificate grading

Years 11-12 (including Higher School Certificate)

Other BOS resources

Standards Package for HSC drama


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