Marie Bessant, Lead Subject Advisor
Here at OCR we’ve had lots of queries from centres in recent weeks about marking non-exam assessment (NEA). For GCSE Drama (J316), this means Devising Drama and for A Level Drama and Theatre (H459), this means Practitioners in Practice.
There have been questions about how to apply the mark scheme. This isn’t surprising as it hasn’t been assessed for two years, and so a larger number of teachers than normal will be submitting marks for moderation for the first time. We’ve also had questions about administrative requirements, and most particularly about whether any allowances should be made when marking for the abnormal and difficult circumstances many students have had to contend with while completing their assignments.
Regarding that last point, the JCQ (Joint Council for Qualifications) has recently released guidance, which makes it clear that all NEA must be marked in the same way as before the pandemic disruption. This is really important, as it will help ensure that all students’ work is marked to the same standards.
As the JCQ guidance also says, the 2022 grading process that takes place after marking, when the grade boundaries are set, will provide a safety net. So please don’t think that by marking your students’ work to pre-pandemic standards this year, you are in any way doing them an injustice. (For more on 2022 grading, please see this Ofqual article from September last year.)
In the light of that recent JCQ announcement, and the queries we’ve had from you, we thought it would be helpful to provide a quick summary of the support available to ensure that you are marking to the correct standard.
There are several resources that will help you have confidence in your application of the mark scheme for drama NEA:
There are adaptations to the requirements this year, which are detailed in the Changes for 2022 section at the top of each subject webpage.
Key dates and deadlines: Internal marks need to be submitted by 15 May. Your sample for moderation will be sent to OCR after this.
A reminder that your text choices need to be entered into the drama text management service (DTMS). This is detailed on page 40 of the specification. If your choice is not on the list you can suggest it as a text using the ‘suggest a text’ form.
We also have a blog with more details about the DTMS.
For the next series, please note that the specification is clear that texts should be checked at the start of the course and before you start teaching the text (and then suggested if they are not yet on the DTMS database), to ensure texts are acceptable and combinations are valid. Texts should also be checked each year even if you have done the combination previously.
We will, as always, be offering CPD on all drama qualifications in the next school year. Keep an eye on the Professional Development section of our website and be sure to have signed up for drama updates (details below) to get details of when these become available.
If you have any questions, you can email us at email@example.com, call us on 01223 553998 or tweet us OCR_PerformArts. You can also sign up to subject updates and receive information about resources and support.
Marie joined OCR in July 2014 after teaching music and performing arts for 10 years. As one of our Lead Subject Advisors, Marie is also OCR’s performing arts specialist and led the development for the new Music GCSEs and A Levels, and now oversees the management, development and support of Music and Drama GCSE and A Level, and the Cambridge Technical vocational performing arts qualifications.
With experience as Head of Department at secondary schools and FE colleges, Marie has a wealth of experience teaching the performing arts at GCSE, A Level, and Level 2-4 vocational qualifications. Marie is an organist and pianist with a love for rock music, shopping, food, reading (anything from Austen to Atwood, and particularly anything fantasy and sci-fi) and a particular love of Kris Kristofferson.