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Level 8 drama achievement objectives

The four arts strands work in combination. Together they provide the basis for a well-rounded programme. They weave through all aspects of learning in drama such as role, performance, role, audience, and so on.

Generally, the strands are not taught alone. When focusing on teaching achievement objectives from one strand, teachers will usually find they can incorporate objectives from another strand.

The strands are separated here as a way of helping teachers to unpack the language of the strands and the objectives at this level.

Indicators are examples of the behaviours and capabilities that a teacher might expect to observe in a student who is achieving at the appropriate level. Teachers may wish to add further examples of their own.

For any terminology used in the achievement objectives, or the indicators, check (and download) the Arts Online drama glossary.

Understanding drama in context (UC)

Achievement objective

Students will:

  • research, analyse, and critically evaluate how drama, including New Zealand drama, interprets, records, or challenges social and cultural discourse.


  • Examines theatre forms in their context and identifies and compares how each theatre form was developed in reaction to the social, cultural, or political conditions of the time. For example, ancient Greek drama began as a religious observance in honour of Dionysus, Greek god of wine and drunken revelry, patron of the theatre, and agricultural/fertility god. Greek drama engaged with stories of myth and legend and provided audiences with a social commentary on the political leaders of the time.
  • Views theatre and examines what the play communicates about the playwright and the time/place in which the play was written and how the particular interpretation of the play in this performance may reflect or challenge the world of the audience and the performers. For example, Murray Lynch’s 2011 production of The End of the Golden Weather (Bruce Mason) for the Auckland Theatre Company communicated the playwright’s concerns about the impact of the Depression on a 1930s Auckland family and, through the use of chorus and sharing of roles, brought these concerns from the particular into the universal and also into the world of the current audience.

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Developing practical knowledge in drama (PK)

Achievement objective

Students will:

  • research, analyse, and integrate elements, techniques, conventions, and technologies in dramatic forms for specific purposes.


  • In scripted and devised contexts, makes informed choices about the use of drama elements and conventions to communicate specific perspectives or to challenge or highlight specific social or political messages.
  • Examines the use of set, costume, lighting, make-up, props, and sound in differing and contrasting dramatic forms, contexts, and situations.
  • Explores and applies drama techniques (voice, body, movement, space) to different acting styles, for example, gestus in Brecht’s epic theatre, or acting for camera.

Developing ideas in drama (DI)

Achievement objective

Students will:

  • research, critically evaluate, and refine ideas to create original drama work.


  • Investigates and examines a range of drama work through observation, experience, and theory to explore concepts, characters, action, issues, and stories to use in the development of dramas.
  • Views a wide selection of live drama and evaluates these in terms of how ideas have been translated into performance.
  • Synthesises research, images, and ideas into a coherent form to create own drama work that communicates something personal or important in a new way.
  • Shares own performance and drama ideas with peers, teacher, and artists in the community, with the view to gathering feedback. Uses feedback to rework, shape, and develop own work.
  • Selects, modifies, and uses images, sounds, music, and other stimulus materials to ignite and develop ideas for the use of drama technologies to enhance and communicate important themes and concepts in own drama work.

Communicating and interpreting in drama (CI)

Achievement objectives

Students will:

  • analyse, rehearse, and perform works in a range of dramatic forms, assuming a variety of artistic and technical responsibilities
  • reflect on and critically evaluate a wide range of works and performances.


  • Performs dramas in a variety of forms and cultural contexts, taking on different roles, for example, actor, director, production manager, designer.
  • Views a wide range of theatre performance in differing forms and contexts. Discusses, examines, and evaluates, performances in terms of the effectiveness of interpretation, communication, and impact on the audience and of the use of drama techniques, conventions, and technologies.
  • Examines the role of the audience in terms of interaction, participation, and positioning and how the audience contributes to the performance.
  • Examines the role of space, context, and location in performance and how these may impact on the performance, for example, Marae-based drama, theatre in the round, virtual drama worlds.

Assessment for qualifications

At the time of publication, achievement standards are in development to align them with The New Zealand Curriculum. Aligned level 1 achievement standards were registered for use in 2011 and level 2 in 2012. Level 3 will be registered for use in 2013.

Please ensure that you are using the correct version of the standards by going to the NZQA website.

The NZQA subject-specific resource pages are very helpful. From there, you can find all the achievement standards and links to assessment resources, both internal and external. Drama teachers can choose from two domains.

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Not all learning in drama needs to be assessed. There is value in drama creation and the exploration of genre and style that may not be assessed but could be a valuable step towards more complex work in the following year of study.

Level 3 achievement standards

  • 91512 Drama 3.1 Interpret scripted text to integrate drama techniques in performance (drama performance); Internal, 4 credits
  • 91513 Drama 3.2 Devise and perform a drama to realise a concept (drama creation); Internal, 5 credits
  • 91514 Drama 3.3 Interpret a prescribed text to demonstrate knowledge of a theatre form or period (drama studies); External, 4 credits
  • 91515 Drama 3.4 Select and use complex performance skills associated with a drama form or period (drama performance); Internal, 4 credits
  • 91516 Drama 3.5 Demonstrate understanding of the work of a drama or theatre theorist or practitioner (drama studies); Internal, 4 credits
  • 91517 Drama 3.6 Perform a substantial acting role in a significant production (drama performance); Internal, 5 credits
  • 91518 Drama 3.7 Demonstrate understanding of live drama performance (drama studies); External, 4 credits
  • 91519 Drama 3.8 Script a drama suitable for live performance (drama creation); Internal, 5 credits
  • 91520 Drama 3.9 Direct a drama performance (drama studies); Internal, 5 credits

Last updated August 28, 2020