Assessment in Creative Arts and English:
This assessment task is designed for Stage three, year five and six students, and
assesses students’ knowledge of persuasive language and texts in the Key
Learning Area (KLA) of English, through a Drama making and performance task.
Outcomes being assessed:
Students will be assessed on their ability to demonstrate these indicators
relating to these syllabus outcomes. The students will be primarily assessed on
their ability to demonstrate the English indicators, for summative assessment
however, the drama skills used by students will also be noted, to be used for
English Outcome: Drama Outcome:
RS3.8- Identifies the text structure of a DRAS3.2- Interprets and conveys
wider range of more complex text dramatic meaning by using the
types and discusses how the elements of drama and a range of
characteristic grammatical features movement and voice skills in a variety
work to influence readers’ and of drama forms.
viewers’ understanding of texts.
English Indicators: Drama Indicators:
Demonstrates an understanding Manages the elements of drama
of the purpose of persuasive i.e. voice, space, mood, timing
texts. Uses and manipulates costumes
Uses modality to express and props
feeling. Collaborates on drama work.
Describes features of a product.
NSW Board of Studies (2007) , NSW Board of Studies (2006)
Prior to this assessment task, students will have spent many weeks learning in
English lessons about the language features of persuasive text, for example,
modality and connectives. Students will have had the experience of reading,
analysing and writing their own persuasive texts, as well as viewing examples of
advertising on the interactive whiteboard.
Learning opportunities in English prior to assessment:
What is a persuasive text? – Students spend time discussing what they
think the purpose of a persuasive text is, and the teacher will introduce to
the students some examples of persuasive texts.
Features of a persuasive text – As a class, students deconstruct a
persuasive text, and work out its features, i.e. modal words, connectives,
Identifying features – Students work individually to identify, label and
describe the features of a persuasive text, and explain why they think the
author may have used them.
Writing a persuasive text – As a whole class with teacher direction,
students will join construct a persuasive text (exposition) with a text
organiser, (Eather, 2010) on the subject of why cats make the best pets.
Different types of persuasive texts – Students spend time looking at
advertisements in both print and video media and discuss how these texts
persuade the viewer to buy their product.
Making a persuasive advertisement- Students work individually to
create a print advertisement that promotes recycling in the school.
Students need to make sure that they are using emotive language and
giving believable evidence to support their cause.
Learning opportunities in Drama prior to assessment:
Role Play – Students work in groups to perform small role-plays for the
rest of the class from scripts.
Performance making – In groups, students make their own drama
performances as a retelling of a well-known fairytale.
To assess student knowledge about persuasive texts through Drama,
students are required to work in groups to create their own three-minute
advertisement to be acted out to the class.
The teacher will place students into mixed ability groups with five students in
each group. Every group will be given a product (prop) they have to design
an advertisement for, and some dress up supplies and recycled materials to
make costumes and props to enhance their performance. The groups will
have an hour and a half lesson to script and practice their persuasive
performance, and then after lunch, students will perform their pieces to the
teacher and peers and these will be filmed to be shown at a school assembly
later in the term.
Introduction to the task: Write up on the board What makes a good Ad?
Brainstorm with the students what features make up a good advertisement
i.e. persuasive language and what purpose they have, i.e. to make people
want to buy the products advertised. (Activate prior knowledge)
Explanation of the task: Inform the students that they have been employed
by an advertising firm to create and perform an advertisement to sell one of
their products. Inform the students that you will be marking their
performances, paying attention to the way they use persuasive language.
Outline the task procedure to the class and put up instructions on the
- You must work cooperatively with your group.
- Every member must contribute to both the planning and performing of the task.
- Your advertisement must be three minutes in length.
- Use as much persuasive language as you can.
- Think of your audience and purpose.
- Make good use of props and costumes.
- You will be assessed on your use of language, performing skills and ability to
work well as a group.
- Have fun!
Implementation of the task: Split the class into six groups of five, mixed
ability groups and give each group a product that they have to advertise.
Spread out the groups to different parts of the classroom where they can
begin their work and provide them with some butcher’s paper and textas to
write up their ideas. As the students are planning and scripting their
advertisements, monitor the group work, to make sure that every student is
contributing to the group work and the students are on task. The students
have one hour and a half to plan and practice their performances, then after
lunch they need to present their performances, which will be filmed. This
gives students the chance to watch and reflect on their own performance, as
well as a way to display student work to the rest of the schools and reporting
to parents, at the school assembly.
Products to advertise (1 for each group): toothbrush, torch, apple,
remote control, cushion and a pair of socks.
Six pieces of butcher’s paper
Costumes: Class dress up supplies
Props: Recycled materials i.e. newspaper, paper towel rolls, wool etc.
Interactive whiteboard: to display the instructions
As this task is a group activity with mixed ability groups, the idea is for students
to be helping and extending each other naturally through cooperation and
collaboration in the task. However, for the low achieving students and gifted and
talented students, these differentiation strategies can be made.
- For low achieving students, the teacher can pre –write some persuasive
sentences and modal words for the student to chose the most appropriate
and suited to read out in the performance. This supports the student by
still having them involved in the task, and assessing the student on how
they can identify appropriate persuasive language for the task, even
though they may not be at the same level in their persuasive text
knowledge and understanding as others in the class.
- For Gifted and Talented students, the teacher can extend the task, by
having the students write a review of another groups’ performance. This
encourages the student to reflect on the persuasive language others use,
and when writing a review, develops their personal response writing
The aim of this assessment task is to give students the opportunity to apply their
knowledge and understanding of persuasive language and texts, in the context of
drama and performance. ‘Drama is a powerful tool that can be used to develop a
child’s written, visual and oral literacy (O’toole & Dunn, 2002)’ and through
students applying their English knowledge and understanding in a different way,
they’re developing their literacy in new directions, and are able to see how
English is used in many different contexts. Drama is a great way for students to
show their knowledge and understanding in a different and interactive way, and
it is useful to use with students who may be not very confident in writing or may
have English as a second language.
Vygotsky’s socio-cultural theory supports this assessment task, as group work
and collaboration is involved (Killen ,2007). Because students are working
together they are sharing ideas and understandings and helping one another
throughout the task.
This task is creative and student centred, as it gives students free range of where
to develop their learning and understanding. Instead of following teacher
directions, by answering set questions in a test format, which may occur in other
typical assessment tasks, students are actively constructing their own learning
experiences, where they need to work out what information is important and
apply English techniques to portray the group’s purpose of their ad. Piaget’s
theory on constructivism (Woolfolf & Margetts, 2007) is based on stimulation
and students reaching their own understanding through experience, and by
students creating their own advertisements, rather than just analysing one
already made, they are actively experiencing and applying their knowledge and
Holt (1997) illustrates this idea in his book Primary Arts Education:
It can be seen in this diagram that through this assessment task, the processes,
lay with the students and the teacher’s role is to evaluate and guide, not to direct
This assessment task aims to develop students’ higher order thinking skills,
metalanguage and their ability to contribute, cooperate and collaborate as a
group (DET, 2011). This task is a fun and interesting way for students to get
together and using higher order thinking skills to problem solve, combine
information and ideas and apply their knowledge and understanding in dramatic
Outcome Indicator Achieved Working Comments
Audience Engages Audience
Structure Uses persuasive language:
Using modal words, connectives
Using adjectives, verbs
Making Contributes to, collaborates and
cooperates in a group
Performing Use of voice, space & props
Justification of Criteria:
The marking criteria above has been designed for the assessment task, because it is an
easy and effective way of assessing if students have the ability to apply their English
knowledge and understanding in a dramatic way. The task does not give students a
numerical mark, because it is there to show the teacher a measure of understanding in
relation to the criteria not to the students in a comparative, ranking way.
Because this task is a group task, collaboration and cooperation, have to be significantly
considered, as it is the teacher’s judgement to whether individuals are displaying their
own ideas, or being told what to say by others in the class. The teacher, when observing
the group planning process, can start writing notes on this marking sheet, as a way of
assessing student’s contributions to collaboration. The main indicators that the teacher
is looking for in the assessment task is how the students use language, and what
techniques they are using to get the message across in their advertisements, i.e. modal
words, use of adjectives.
Assessment should ‘inform teaching and learning, give students information about what
they can do and how they can improve and provide information about student
achievement and progress (DET, 2011)’. This assessment task, aims at meeting these
This assessment task can be used in reporting, both to the students and to parents. It
would be part of the English component of the report, illustrating to parents how their
child can apply their knowledge and understanding of persuasive texts in a dramatic
context. The task can also be used to report on students’ social skills, and their ability to
work well in a group, vocalise their ideas, and present these to a large group.
Students will also have the chance to reflect upon their performances, by watching the
videos taken of them. The videos can also been shown to the parents at assembly,
demonstrating to parents, the great performances their children can make and perform,
and the drama skills that they can use and are developing.
This assessment task is both assessment of learning (summative) and assessment for
learning (formative) as it provides the teacher with feedback about student
achievement in English, but also gives the teacher feedback on the drama ability and
skills the students have, to be further developed in future lessons. Assessment of
learning involves teachers making judgements about student achievement at key points
in the learning process (DET, 2011), and as this task occurs at the end of the students
work on persuasive texts, it is designed to assess how students can apply their
knowledge using drama skills. However, if students do not perform well in the
assessment task, the teacher can be informed where the students may be lacking the
English understandings and continue the unit of work, to work on these issues.
Assessment for learning is ongoing, and allows teachers to plan future teaching and
learning activities (DET, 2011) and by using this task to assess where the students are
in their drama abilities and skills, the teacher can plan future lessons based on the skills
they already have achieved and develop these in a way that suits where the students are
This task has been designed to be reliable and valid tasting, because it is aimed at
assessing student achievement against the criteria. Because all students are being
assessed against the same criteria, results recorded will be valid and not biased. The
assessment data collected, can be used by the teacher to be informed on student
performance in English, drama and social skills. This data would not be used in
isolation, but in combination with other assessment tasks, and class observation,
because just one task cannot convey all student knowledge and understanding.
Alternative ways to assess this task in creative arts could be to have students design
and perform a jingle using persuasive language for music, and in visual arts students
could have to design and make a product out of recycled materials and make an
advertisement poster. A way of assessing this task in English, could be for students to
write an exposition, or write a persuasive text about a product, however, the social
skills, the drama techniques and the fun of performance would be missed.
Through designing this assessment task, I have become aware of how there are many
alternative ways of assessing progress, knowledge and skill achievement in the
classroom. Assessment in creative arts gives students the ability to demonstrate how
they can apply their knowledge and understanding, in a fun and interesting way.
Therefore it can be seen that assessment should not be confined to just the Key learning
area that is being assessed.
Department of Education and Training (2011) Assessment in Drama Retrieved 11th May
Department of Education (2003) Quality Teaching in NSW Public Schools Retrieved 10th
May 2011 from: https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/proflearn/docs/pdf/qt_EPSColor.pdf
Eather, J (2010) Writing Fun- Persuasion. Retrieved 11th May 2011 from:
Holt, D.(1997) Primary arts education: contemporary issues, Routledge p.14
Killen, R. (2007) Effective teaching strategies: lessons from research and practice (4th ed.)
Thomson/Social Science Press, Melbourne.
NSW Board of Studies, (2006) Creative Arts K-6 Syllabus, Board of Studies, Sydney
NSW Board of Studies, (2006) Creative Arts K-6Units of Work, Board of Studies, Sydney
NSW Board of Studies, (2007) English K-6 Syllabus, Board of Studies, Sydney
O’Toole, J. & Dunn,J. (2002) Pretending to learn : helping children learn through
drama,Pearson Education, Frenchs Forest
Woolfolf, A., & Margetts, K., (2007) Educational Psychology, Pearson Education
Australia, Frenchs Forest, NSW