STUDENT ASSESSMENTS with examples for Grades 9-12 Theatre Arts

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STUDENT ASSESSMENTS with examples for Grades 9-12 Theatre Arts by Mind Map: STUDENT ASSESSMENTS with examples for Grades 9-12 Theatre Arts

1. Assessments OF Learning: measurements of WHAT students have learned.


1.1.1. DEFINITION & PURPOSE: A collection of student work samples demonstrating proficiency in a particular subject area; sometimes showing levels of progression to demonstrate learning and growth.

1.1.2. ADVANTAGES: Portfolios can be used as assessments FOR learning when students have to compile them as a creative presentation and in a logical progression that shows their learning and growth. It teaches them how to create a dynamic resume of their work.

1.1.3. DISADVANTAGES: If a portfolio is merely a collection of the student's work, say a folder they've just dumped their graded assignments into, the student gains nothing.

1.1.4. EXAMPLE: Students create a 5 minute video or slideshow with images and video clips of their work throughout the term and reflections on what they have learned, how they have grown, questions they still have and goals for the future, whether in theatre or in a job or area of study where they can use skills learned in theatre.


1.2.1. DEFINITION & PURPOSE: Assessments that take place at the beginning of a unit or lesson to determine what students already know; essentially an assessment OF learning but can be used as an assessment FOR learning.

1.2.2. ADVANTAGES: They are great for reviewing terms and concepts that students need as a foundation for the upcoming lesson; they allow teachers to reteach anything the students are really shaky on.

1.2.3. DISADVANTAGES: Diagnostics are a waste of time if they don't serve as a scaffold to reinforce prior knowledge that is going to be built upon.

1.2.4. EXAMPLE: Students have completed a unit of study on theatre history. They are now moving into a scene study unit in which they will analyze a play and a character and perform in a scene. Success in this unit depends partly on a solid understanding of historical theatre terms that are still regularly in use today. So students play a game of Charades using those terms to assess their recall and understanding as well as to keep the terms fresh in their minds for this new lesson.


1.3.1. DEFINITION & PURPOSE: An end-of-lesson or end-of-unit cumulative assessment that determines the level to which a student has met the learning objective; often in the form of an exam; an assessment OF learning.

1.3.2. ADVANTAGES: Summative assessments in the form of a unit test are easiest to prepare and grade, and the data is the easiest to compile and compare. A well-constructed summative assessment, one that requires creation (aka synthesis) rather than mere information recall, becomes assessment FOR learning because it requires higher thinking and reasoning.

1.3.3. DISADVANTAGES: It is tempting to teach with the summative assessment rather than the learning goal/standard in mind. But a good grade on a summative assessment is not necessarily an indicator that meaningful learning has taken place. Nor is a poor grade an indication of lack of learning.

1.3.4. EXAMPLE: At the conclusion of a scene study unit, in which students have analyzed a play, its characters and performed in scenes from that play, they watch a DVD of a professional production of that same show. They then write a review of that production, focusing primarily on the acting and how well/accurately they feel the actors portrayed the characters. This essay will reflect their understanding of how script and play analysis relates to character interpretation.


1.4.1. DEFINITION & PURPOSE: Organization-wide standardized testing (at school, district, state and/or national level) to determine student proficiency in a particular subject at a particular level; designed to ensure that students are meeting similar learning goals; used for data collection and comparison purposes to gauge teacher/school effectiveness; also used to measure college-readiness with a minimum score required for college entrance by some schools.

1.4.2. ADVANTAGES: Well-designed high stakes tests can ensure that students from a variety of backgrounds are meeting the same standards, thus evening out the scholastic playing field.

1.4.3. DISADVANTAGES: Too much instructional time can be spent preparing students to score well on tests rather than on meaningful (retained and relevant) learning; many of these tests are not written for multiple learning styles.

1.4.4. EXAMPLE: There are no high school level standardized tests for theatre arts.

2. Assessments FOR Learning: tools that measure understanding but also help teachers plan for further progress towards the learning goal(s).


2.1.1. DEFINITION & PURPOSE: Multiple assessments in a variety of formats that take place during the course of a lesson to gauge how well students understand what they're being taught and allow teachers to make adjustments to better help the students meet the learning goals; assessments FOR learning.

2.1.2. ADVANTAGES: Assessing as you go helps get as many students as possible to the finish line successfully because teachers are able to scaffold and differentiate according to student needs; allows teachers to provide constructive criticism that directs students to higher learning.

2.1.3. DISADVANTAGES: It could be tempting to do so much adjusting/reteaching after formative assessments that a lesson could drag on too long which could create boredom and frustration in the students and possibly prevent the students from reaching the final goal(s) before the end of a term.

2.1.4. EXAMPLE: After pre-teaching theatre production terms and processes, students watch a documentary about the making of a Broadway show. Then they work in pairs to fill out a graphic organizer that plots the play production process. The completed chart is the formative assessment.


2.2.1. DEFINITION & PURPOSE: Students review each other's work and provide constructive criticism, requiring them to think critically about the process.

2.2.2. ADVANTAGES: In the process of reviewing their peers' work, students begin to recognize the hits and misses and can apply that knowledge to their work.

2.2.3. DISADVANTAGES: Low-readiness students and ELLs have a difficult time providing useful feedback. They might recognize that something is "good" or "bad," "right" or "wrong," but may not have the ability to articulate why.

2.2.4. EXAMPLE: During a scene study unit, students review each other's scene performances.


2.3.1. DEFINITION & PURPOSE: Students reflect on their own work, looking for specific areas of improvement, to become accountable for their own learning.

2.3.2. ADVANTAGES: Self-assessment puts learning in the hands of the learner; students are no longer passive but rather active participants in the learning process; the process of self-reflection and correction gives students a sense of ownership thus making the learning more personally relevant and therefore more memorable.

2.3.3. DISADVANTAGES: Unmotivated students who are not practiced in the art of self-reflection will be highly resistant to analyzing their own work.

2.3.4. EXAMPLE: During the rehearsal period of a scene study unit, students keep a daily journal reflecting on their work for that day, particularly how well they met that day's goal(s) and what they plan to do to improve areas where they struggled.

3. Assessments OF & FOR Learning: Measurements for how well students understand the unit/lesson which also serve as tools for reinforcing knowledge and refining skills.


3.1.1. DEFINITION & PURPOSE: An assessment of understanding via a real-world application; an assessment OF learning that becomes FOR learning because it is process oriented and often requires modification along the way.

3.1.2. ADVANTAGES: Because these assessments are practical, students learn and refine real-world skills.

3.1.3. DISADVANTAGES: These assessments require a lot of time to plan and execute and may require additional funding and/or technology.

3.1.4. EXAMPLE: Students work together to produce, direct, design and star in, a night of one act plays for a PUBLIC performance.


3.2.1. DEFINITION & PURPOSE: A summative assessment that measures understanding in the form of a hands-on project; like authentic assessments, performance-based assessments go beyond assessment OF learning to become FOR learning because projects inevitably require modification as students experience trial and error while moving towards the final product.

3.2.2. ADVANTAGES: Projects allow for differentiation according to student interests and needs.

3.2.3. DISADVANTAGES: Like authentic assessments, performance-based assessments take more time and resources to plan and execute. Grading them is also trickier, though rubrics help.

3.2.4. EXAMPLE: Instead of doing a traditional paper test on play analysis, students work together to write a one act play which demonstrates proper dramatic structure and character development.


4.1. Formative Assessment: Improving Learning in Secondary Classrooms. 2005. Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development. Retrieved from

4.2. Stiggins, Rick. Assessment FOR Learning Defined. September 2005. Assessment Training Institute. Retrieved from

4.3. Using Classroom Assessment to Improve Teaching. April 30, 2014. The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement. Retrieved from

4.4. Wormeli, Rick. Formative and Summative Assessment (video). November 30, 2010. Stenhouse Publishers. Retrieved from

4.5. Wylie, E. Caroline. Formative Assessment: Examples of Practice. 2008. Council of Chief State School Officers. Retrieved from