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A Critical Analysis of Assessment for Learning in Drama


In order to prepare classes that increase student participation and boost learning outcomes, aspiring instructors must have a comprehensive understanding of the secondary school curriculum, with a focus on the high-stakes assessments that are a regular component of secondary schooling. The purpose of this paper is to familiarize pre-service teachers with the understanding, knowledge, and abilities required for teaching drama at a secondary education level while also promoting the growth of pedagogical knowledge.

Current issue relating to assessment for learning in drama

The audience factor

In the drama learning assessment context, learners have a special interaction with their audience. While reacting to an assessment task, learners have two goals. They would like to do well in order to get good grades, but they also want to please their audience. The principle of authentic assessment is crucial. Authentic assessment is defined as having parameters that match the “world today,” whereby discipline-specific learning processes are established and a product is made that has worth both in and out of the educational context (Artsedsearch, n.d.). One of the prerequisites for a dramatic performance evaluation to be regarded as authentic is the involvement of an audience. The audience also subjects the performance to a double examination. The instructor assessor as well as their peer audience provide feedback to learners. Audience feedback is instantaneous and follows suit. After each performance, people in the audience give remarks or criticisms to student performers, emphasizing the idea that art is experienced from different points of view.

Formative assessments

Instructors employ formative assessments to track students’ development and adjust their practice. Formative assessments can be a straightforward and simple approach to monitoring student development, as many drama instructors only visit learners once a week. Here are some drama teachers’ preferred formative assessments:

Anecdotal records assessments (ARA)

The instructor can use these observational notes to document unique experiences, unforeseen literacy advancement consequences, willingness to engage, interest, motivational variables, and much more. These records help teachers and others have more productive evaluation discussions (Guhlin, 2017). Anecdotal records assessments can be utilized in a number of ways. One of the anecdotal records of OneNote recommendations is:

Monitoring students in the classroom: Where students should be monitored in small clusters of 2 to 4 people, per this recommendation. One of the fears is that the instructor might forget what they observed. Building an observational database by monitoring various pupils during the week is beneficial.

OneNote Connection: Instructors may use OneNote to build a website for each student, complete with video and audio clips, and rapidly move back and forth to write things down regarding individual learners.

Fist to five

An instructor can conduct a brief formative evaluation after completing a course by requesting students to evaluate their degree of knowledge using their hand signal. Fist to Five is a high-quality voting system. It incorporates features of agreement and can help organizations migrate to agreement if they choose. The majority of the population is used to the convenience of “yes” and “no” voting instead of the more complicated and community-oriented agreement decision-making technique. The aspect of the “yes” characteristic is introduced in fist to five. A fist represents a “no,” but any number of fingers represents a “yes,” with the number of fingers indicating how wonderful a “yes” it is. To maintain learners’ honesty in their self-evaluation, instructors can ask the “5-fingered” learners to clarify sections of the lessons covered for the class (Plymouth Community School Corporation, 2017).

Entry Tickets

They are the first quizzes given at the onset of each class. Instead of making them a formal question, give them out to learners as they arrive. As learners remove their jackets and backpacks, they have the time to reflect and ponder the responses to the questions, and even chat with their colleagues concerning solutions. Because it is a retrieval activity, it performs effectively when the queries are related to the information they have to recall for the next session. The questions must also be understandable and not too difficult for the learners. More complicated information will emerge through the teacher’s lecture and follow-up questions. Before actually moving on to the next section of the session, we should take a moment to read over the responses and use these queries as a type of formative assessment. Begin by reading through the questions and answers, ensuring that learners self-correct their work by marking or redoing their responses as needed.

Exit Tickets

Exit tickets are used to measure students’ abilities. They are concluded when the pupils leave the class at the end of the day. They are a set of questions based on the topic of the subject you just delivered, and they are meant to give you an idea of your students’ overall comprehension level. After that, you will be able to make judgments based on the facts you have gathered. If the students continue submitting exit tickets with questions, you should go over the material again in your next session or at a later time that is convenient for you. If the students’ exit tickets have a mixed response, you may have to go over some of the material again (Burts Drama, 2020). It could be time to move on if the students are submitting exit tickets with appropriate responses.

Summative Assessment

The most popular sort of assessment in learning is summative assessments. They are an essential component of every study course since they enable learners to exhibit what they have learnt in a concrete manner. There are many different sorts of summative assessments, and it is a great idea to use several specific varieties over the course of a study course for customized learning and simple diversity. Here are some drama teachers’ preferred summative assessments:


A critique is a thorough examination of a piece of writing. Learners are supposed to know how to critically evaluate a production, identifying exceptional and worse instances of the aforementioned themes. It is critical for theater learners to critique others in order to enhance their personal skills and to exercise and enhance their writing skills. Students may be required to critique an act of drama to share their knowledge of dramatic conventions, performing tactics, or topics.

Creating a Design Concept

Using written material, learners will be required to communicate their design concept. Learners will have the chance to interact with other class members and explore their design concepts and ideas regarding their particular scenario. They will develop a conceptual design declaration for their work based on their research, readings, and evaluation. The instructor should illustrate how all of the principles they have studied up to that point can aid the learners in deciding how they want to depict the atmosphere and essence of the drama using their scenic design.

Constructing tests

Test design is a crucial aspect of evaluating students’ grasp of course material and their ability to utilize what they have learned. Whether you utilize minimal, frequent-evaluation questions or elevated, infrequent-evaluation semester and final exams, meticulous strategy will help you get more calibrated outcomes. In a written test, learners can exhibit their knowledge and grasp of drama fundamentals.

Reflective Journal

Journaling is an important aspect of any drama lesson. Learners can use the notebook to reflect on and analyze themselves, as well as gain experience analyzing and monitoring others. These features are not only necessary in the classroom, but they also assist students in developing real-world abilities (Price, 2021). The capacity to constructively analyze what you are doing and what others are doing is extremely valuable in all aspects of life. In most drama classes, what transpires on stage is not the only place where students learn. What transpires during rehearsal, amongst characters, and how difficulties develop and are handled are all aspects that cannot be defined in a final piece. Journaling allows students to keep track of their progress, monitor it, and comment on it.

Aspect of pedagogy in drama

Across all curriculum areas, drama-based pedagogy uses active and dramatic ways to immerse students in academic, emotional, and artistic education via interactional meaning-making. Drama-based pedagogy is a set of instructional methods (such as initiating conversation, using theatre games as metaphors, picture work, and role-playing) that can be applied in the classroom (DBI Network, 2022). The virtue of these strategies is that they quickly help learners and aid in the development of a framework conducive to concentrated inquiry and cross-curricular study. Furthermore, these strategies accommodate a wide range of learning patterns and keep the learners engaged in the process of learning. Drama as a medium of instruction throughout the education system originally became popular in the United States in the 1920s under the name “creative dramatics.” Over the years, instructors in numerous countries have experimented with and improved these priceless educational tools.

Cold calling pedagogy

Cold calling is a practice that introduces accountability into the classroom right away. That is self-evident. However, at its finest, it promotes a very good sort of accountability. Cold calling entails formulating an efficient inquiry and then picking a student to answer, whether or not they have expressed an interest in doing so (Uncommon Schools, 2021). To look at it another way, the cold call has already done a serious job of establishing that learners should always be prepared to offer their opinions and contribute, and that being in class means being a part of the discussion. Considering that, one of the teacher’s roles is to inject a smile and some friendliness, to say, “Well, I need everyone to contribute when I call on you; however, I am doing so because I would like to know what you are thinking, and I am concerned about what you’re thinking.” To state, “I am concerned about what you’re thinking,” is to reassure a learner that they are important.

However, trying to make accountable interaction a pleasant and enjoyable experience is only part of what cold calling is all about. It is not the same as requesting to be called on and really raising your hand. Similarly, generating valuable opinions and proposing to express them are two distinct tasks, and this is true in a wide range of educational situations. For instance, in a tenth-grade English class, students read wartime diaries. Their teacher instructed them to concentrate intently on the words used most recently in a certain passage: “They’ve been conditioned to suffer… to go murder other women’s lads, to take away all the light from other mothers’ faces.” Outside of its true definition, what did that word convey? What was the most effective way of expressing last’s emotions?

Students were given a minute to write down their comments before being called back by the teacher. Although the teacher had not specifically requested hands, you could be forgiven for assuming that if he had, there would not have been one in the air. Their looks were enigmatic. Their gazes were drawn away from each other. They had stooped shoulders. The teacher, on the other hand, was not intimidated by the situation. He cold called and questioned a young man about what he noticed in the lines. He swiftly looked around. Then he pointed out that removing all of the light implied enveloping the moms in darkness, which reminds you of the loneliness they would experience if their sons died. His colleagues shuffled in their seats. The teacher cold called again, but this time it was a girl who said that impressions of light and darkness capture the imagination of good versus evil. The teacher, both orally and via her attitude, indicated his gratitude for the intensity of their reasoning, and he cold called another boy.

The culture was transforming in a noticeable way. The ice had been broken, and it was now OK to disclose your most private ideas, to demonstrate that you were indeed contemplating significant thoughts. Moreover, it seemed obvious that no one would consider that strange. You were not always the type of person who walked around telling everyone what he had been contemplating about darkness and light, but if anyone forced you to, there it was. It was becoming clear that the frequent hand-raisers were not the only ones who had academic development.

The cold call was effective for two reasons. It succeeded since it was part of the class’s fabric. Teachers asked learners what they were thinking during each session and if they felt ready or not. The second reason the cold calling was so successful was that it made it possible for some students to participate. In some respects, the more dangerous the idea, the better it is to discuss when you have not offered. Cold calling can be done for a variety of reasons, e.g.

  • To see if the students have grasped the concept.
  • In order for learners to remember something.
  • To motivate learners to express their thoughts and opinions.
  • To promote a more thorough grasp.
  • To assist learners in connecting data, making judgments, and seeing trends.
  • In order to aid learners in committing material to long-term memory.
  • To assess students’ progress, competencies, and capacities so that learning and teaching can be adjusted.
  • To evaluate a learner for the purpose of grading.

Cold calling contributes to learning in the classroom in the following ways:

  • Whether or not a hand is raised, Cold Call acts as an entertaining and difficult yet helpful technique to keep students accountable for addressing verbal queries posed by the teacher. Even if they do not answer correctly, Cold Call forces learners to think about and engage with the subject at hand.
  • Cold Call also fosters equality in the classroom by allowing students who often monopolize the discussion to step aside and enable others to express their skills and knowledge.

Opinions between questioning and cold calling as well as the measure of success for each

Excellent questioning is the sign of a truly good instructor, and it ranks towards the number one spot of skills instructors can and should work on (Sherrington, 2018). Supporting instructors with questions is considerably more essential than fussing over the level of their grading or the correctness of their data input. The function of questioning in achieving positive outcomes has been well documented. It is the most important part of formative assessment and is a crucial instrument in concrete learning. Instructors want feedback from a variety of pupils in order to determine how effective they have been in ensuring learning from their lessons. Effective instructors, according to Rosenshine, pose more detailed questions to learners, test for learning, engage all learners, and examine thinking patterns, including misunderstandings as well as accurate responses. To measure if questioning has succeeded, the instructor will cross-check the responses provided to the questions by the learners. If the responses are appropriate, the questioning will be successful.

When called on to respond to questions, many learners shake their heads. Others murmur that they have no idea. Then there are students who shout that they do not even understand and that the instructor should quit calling on them. You must never cease calling on them as an instructor. One strategy that allows learners to acclimate to this approach is to only put their hands up when they want to pose a question, not when they want to respond. Because the instructor asks each question to a learner of his choice by name and calls on all learners equally, it is meaningless for learners to volunteer as it is for students to attempt to hide. This is ineffective because humiliating, agitating, and alienating learners is more likely than motivating them to pay attention. It is also unethical to force alert learners to wait for their colleagues to react (or not answer) to queries they were not ready to explain, in many instances, they did not really hear (New University, 2017). To measure if cold calling is effective, the students must be able to respond to questions anytime they are called on, instead of nodding their heads and shouting back at the instructors that they do not have the answers.

How to root these pedagogy skills in practice

These pedagogical skills can be rooted in practice through hot seating. Hot Seating is a tactic wherein the rest of the group interviews a person or characters (performed by the instructor or a learner) (DBI Network, 2022). This assignment enables learners to recall a particular occurrence, investigate inspiration, and consider many viewpoints or experiences on a theme, concept, incident, or topic. First, equip the individual or individuals who will be on the hot seat to undertake their roles effectively before implementing this technique. The individual in the hot seat (either an instructor or a learner) must decide who they are in the question and answer session with, where they would be (that is, the questioning environment), and their reasons for being in the hot seat (that is, the driving force behind their actions and statements). Make preparations using supporting details, other types of study, or personal observations.

Next, decide whether the audience/learners (outside of the hot seat position) will act in character (e.g., as a media reporter looking for a response) or as themselves. If the audience/learners are in a role, they may require assistance in preparing queries from their own point of view to question the character on the hot seat, or in researching a new character’s point of view to analyze and operate from in the exercise. Launch and control the activity after the participant (instructor or learner) is on stage and the audience is prepared. Motivate the audience to raise powerful, meaningful questions that fit the dramatic situation, and rephrase any questions or contribute to answers that are ambiguous. You can help learners develop critical thinking, involvement, and devotion to their character(s) by demonstrating significant dedication to character and circumstances in your own presentation.


This study employs a social constructivist strategy to improve awareness of planning and assessment, as well as abilities in implementing appropriate pedagogies, through active participation and cooperative learning.The assessment assignments are intended to help pre-service teachers assess their progress toward the course learning objectives by exhibiting professional and academic requirements. The pedagogy and assessment modules in this paper emphasize creating skills and knowledge throughout the professionalism, practice, and involvement areas that are required to satisfy the standards of practice for teachers’ objectives.


Artsedsearch, n.d. Drama and authentic assessment in a social studies classroom | ArtsEdSearch. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 28 February 2022].

Burts Drama, 2020. Entrance and exits tickets in Drama. [online] BURT’S DRAMA. Available at: <> [Accessed 28 February 2022].

DBI Network, 2022. Drama-Based Pedagogy | Drama-Based Instruction. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 28 February 2022].

DBI Network, 2022. Hot Seating | Drama-Based Instruction. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 28 February 2022].

Guhlin, M., 2017. anecdotal records assessment Archives. [online] TechNotes Blog. Available at: <> [Accessed 28 February 2022].

New University, 2017. How Cold-Calling Hinders Student Learning Experience. [online] New University | UC Irvine. Available at: <,and%20distracts%20students%20from%20learning.> [Accessed 28 February 2022].

Plymouth Community School Corporation, 2017. Signals. [online] Available at: <,rate%20their%20level%20of%20understanding.&text=Teachers%20can%20call%20on%20%225,truthful%20in%20their%20self%2Dassessment.> [Accessed 28 February 2022].

Price, L., 2021. The Drama Journal. [online] The Theatrefolk Blog. Available at: <,students%20build%20real%20world%20skills.> [Accessed 28 February 2022].

Sherrington, T., 2018. Great Teaching: The Power of Questioning. [online] teacherhead. Available at: <> [Accessed 28 February 2022].

Uncommon schools, 2021. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 28 February 2022].


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