Non-examination assessment - Practical examinations
GCSE Drama is a stimulating and challenging course that encourages students to become confident performers and designers with the skills needed for a bright and successful future.
The AQA specification offers students as much opportunity as possible to do what they like best, participate in performance and they can choose to develop as a performer and/or designer of lighting, sound, set, costume and puppets. It also ensures continuity for those students who progress from GCSE Drama to A-level Drama and Theatre.
The course provides students with an abundance of transferable skills that students can take into their future careers. Students learn to collaborate with others, think analytically and evaluate effectively. They gain the confidence to pursue their own ideas, reflect and refine their efforts. Whatever the future holds, students of GCSE Drama emerge with a toolkit of transferable skills, applicable both in further studies and in the workplace.
Component 1: Understanding Drama (written examination)
Understanding Drama is a written examination worth 80 marks. It is externally marked and represents 40% of the GCSE. Students are assessed on their knowledge and understanding of how drama and theatre is developed and performed. This will be explored through the study of a set play and an analysis and evaluation of a live theatre production seen during the course.
The paper is divided into three compulsory sections:
- Theatre roles and terminology
- Study of set text – Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
- Live theatre production
Component 2: Devising Drama (practical and written)
Devising Drama is a practical component in which students are assessed on their ability to create and develop theatrical ideas to communicate meaning, apply theatrical skills to realise artistic intentions in live performance, and analyse and evaluate their own work. It is internally marked and externally moderated and represents 40% of the GCSE. For this component students are required to complete the following two assessment tasks:
- produce an individual Devising Log documenting the process of devising [60 marks]
- contribute to a final devised duologue or group performance [20 marks]
Performance material is devised in response to a given stimulus which might include photographs, paintings, poetry, news articles, stories, music or historical events. Students can opt to be assessed as a performer or designer of lighting, sound, set, costume or puppets.
Component 3: Texts in Practice (practical)
Texts in Practice is a practical component in which students are assessed on their ability to apply theatrical skills to realise artistic intentions in a live performance of two key extracts from a given play [40 marks]. Students in Year 11 are currently preparing key extracts from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Teechers, My Mother Said I Never Should, DNA and Two. They can choose to perform a monologue, duologue or within a group. The performance of these two extracts are marked by a visiting examiner and represent 20% of the GCSE.
Students can opt to be assessed as a performer or designer of lighting, sound, set, costume or puppets – this choice can be different or the same as their choice for Component 2.
This component is entirely practical with no written assessments.
During the two-year course students will see between four and five different live productions in local theatres.
Whilst preparing for practical assessments, it is expected that students schedule Practical Homework sessions at lunch or after school with their peers. Rehearsal spaces can be reserved daily in the Drama department and Mr Townsend and Mrs Gilligan support students during these sessions as required.
There is also a weekly KS4 Study Support session which is open to all students.