A few years ago, all Standard grade drama candidates sat the same paper, regardless of ability. A subsequent move to separate Foundation, General and Credit papers has not been without controversy, but this year they appear to have been pitched right.
Hamilton Grammar drama teacher Graham Parry recalled that last year Foundation was too easy and Credit too hard. There was also concern that Credit candidates had to give word-for-word definitions of dramatic terms. Rather than showing knowledge, they were "regurgitating" information and being penalised if they strayed from the precise answers required.
Mr Parry believes this year's exams show that teachers' concerns have been taken on board. Credit candidates were, in contrast to last year, given definitions and asked to name the term being described.
Mr Parry thinks Foundation questions can be "condescending", but this paper was complex. Candidates were asked, for example, to do a "ground plan", or map, of a stage, a task he described as "very technical".
Standard grade has also become better preparation for Higher drama. Credit candidates were asked, for example, to explain how they would direct an unseen excerpt from Iron, a play by Rona Munro. This required a depth of analysis similar to that demanded in Higher.