Practice makes perfect

20th June 2008 at 01:00
This year's Higher was a good example of its type - but a narrower scope of assessment continues to put practically-minded pupils at a disadvantage
This year's Higher was a good example of its type - but a narrower scope of assessment continues to put practically-minded pupils at a disadvantage.

Graeme Trotter, Edinburgh Academy's head of drama, thought the open-ended questions of Section A provided several ways for candidates to write about Arthur Miller's The Crucible, the set text studied this year.

Section B, on contemporary Scottish theatre, also served up questions that could apply to a wide range of plays. One demanded analysis of theatrical techniques used by contemporary playwrights to bring history to life, which tied in well with both texts pored over by Edinburgh Academy pupils: Liz Lochhead's Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off, and Tally's Blood, Ann Marie di Mambro's play about Italian immigrants in Scotland.

Higher drama also involves an exam earlier in the year that assesses acting but practical skills, such as set design, do not contribute to candidates' final mark, although they have in the past.

Mr Trotter contrasted this with the GCSE exam - offered at Edinburgh Academy instead of Standard grade or Intermediate - which does test practical skills. He is concerned that candidates who do not excel at acting or essay-writing may be at an unfair disadvantage.

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