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What's changing to Ƶ Drama and why?

We’re very excited by the 2023 revisions to our Drama syllabuses. Whereas the suite of revisions affects only Key Skills and Reflection tasks, we hope the positive impact for candidates will be significant.  

Tasks to reflect current teaching practices

Our revision process began with a brilliantly instructive series of conversations with teachers on their experiences of preparing candidates for these tasks across both digital and face-to-face submission methods. Our ambition was to make sure our tasks reflect current teaching, rehearsal and preparation practices. It’s very important, of course, our exams respond to developments and changes in our field and in education contexts more broadly - we want our assessments and the skills they engender to be properly useful for candidates wherever their training takes them.

Tasks that support candidates to secure vital skills

We have focused these revisions on tasks that support candidates in securing the skills necessary for sharing the very best of their performance work with our examiners. We scrutinised where a skill is best placed in a candidate’s preparation journey, we asked what skills are needed for the creation of a performance and what skills are used in the sharing of that performance, the two aren’t always the same of course. Crucially the element of ‘in the moment’ liveness, an essential ingredient to any successful performance, remains a key part of our Drama exams.

What candidates can expect

So, with an emphasis on creating a framework that more fully supports candidates in their preparation and with a focus on relevant, forward-facing, skills candidates can expect, in the reflection task:

  • Greater opportunity to embed reflection processes at the heart of exam preparation – we recommend using the published reflection questions as prompts for thinking and discussion throughout the preparation process

And in the Key Skills tasks:

  • Expressive Reading replaces Sight Reading to engender text-based skills without the use of memorisation; reading aloud is a key ‘real-world’ literacy skill required across a range of educational and professional contexts

  • Improvisation is relocated as a process-based activity used to work on character development; rather than being an assessed skill in-and-of itself improvisation is understood as a generative rehearsal tool used in the creation of an assessed outcome

  • Candidates wishing to submit digitally no longer need to access time-bound key skills stimulus material on the Ƶ website

Face-to-face and digital exams

These changes are common to both digital and face-to-face submission formats. Where we currently have a subject syllabus for digital submissions and the same subject syllabus for Face-to-Face submission, the two now become one syllabus, so for example, the 2023 Speech and Drama Syllabus offers all the information candidates need to submit to either the face-to-face or digital version of the exam. And whereas Key Skill and Reflection tasks worked a little differently across the two syllabuses our 2023 revisions see those tasks taking one form – so there is no difference in preparing for a digital or face-to-face exam. 

So, we’re really excited by these revisions, we think they offer a smooth and intuitive experience for candidates, who can prepare for all aspects of the exam and feel truly confident in the work they share with examiners. We can’t wait to see it!

Professor Gregg Whelan
Director of Performance,
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