Digital Grades and Diplomas – why go digital for drama?
BY: Annabel Thomas
06 January 2021
This year has brought with it so many challenges and changes. Zoom-induced fatigue, endless online quizzes, more time spent on the sofa than can be healthy, and a rapid pivot to digital teaching, learning and work for many of us. At Trinity we have also been doing lots of fast work behind the scenes, to ensure that our exams, which have been running for over 140 years already, continue to be relevant and beneficial to learners in this new world we find ourselves in.
In November 2020 we launched our first permanent digital drama exams. Our Digital Grades & Diplomas provide solo assessment opportunities for candidates across our Acting, Speech & Drama, Musical Theatre and Performance Arts syllabus specifications, from Initial-ATCL levels. In time we also intend to expand this to cover pairs, groups, Communication Skills and more but we are delighted to be able to release these in time for what would be the traditional autumn exam session.
Currently we aren’t running face-to-face exams in order to safeguard our examiners and candidates, however in time you will be able to choose between a face-to face-exam, or entering for our Digital Grades. But why choose a digital exam for drama?
- You enter when you are ready. Our Digital Grades will be open for entry throughout the year – there will be no need to work towards a set exam date. Candidates can enter as soon as they are ready, and are confident that they can perform at their best. For our Private Centres, you can make your entry as usual via the Centre Portal – again as soon as your candidates are ready to film their submission.
- There is no need to travel to an exam centre. If you usually enter via one of our public centres you will no longer need to arrange transport, or plan a whole day around your exam. You can take the exam in an environment you and the candidate are familiar and comfortable with, which may be particularly useful for younger candidates or those with SEND. In current times this also reduces the risks associated with coronavirus, as there is no need to be in a room with an examiner, or potentially using public transport to get to an exam centre.
- Private centres can plan their filming schedule based on candidate’s timetables or availability. This means that you can fit your exams around other commitments, which may be more beneficial to students – especially if this means they no longer need to miss other lessons for their exam. Just remember that you will need to film and upload any submissions in the same week, using the correct time-bound supporting tasks. For private centres there is also no minimum spend – so you can enter as many or as few candidates as required, when they are ready.
- They’re cheaper! While not a sole reason to choose a digital exam, all our Digital Grades and Diplomas are 10% cheaper than the equivalent face to face exam.
- Some candidates may feel more at home and confident submitting a recorded performance, and therefore may give a more secure performance than they would in front of an examiner. All our examiners are friendly and supportive, but we recognise that an exam day can still be a stressful experience for candidates nonetheless.
- You can film multiple takes, and upload the best one (ensuring your final submission is one unedited take of all performance pieces and Supporting Tasks, where required). Part of the Digital Grades & Diplomas academic construct is the notion of reflective and iterative improvement. This means that candidates are encouraged, if they wish, to review a take, assess their performance and make any changes they think are required to improve their work. This mirrors how a rehearsal room operates, as well as how TV and feature films, or radio plays, are developed, grounding this aspect of our Digital Grades in real-life performance skills.
- For candidates who may be less confident, younger or have SEND, all reflective questions for Digital Grades & Diplomas (replacing the conversation with the examiner element in the face to face exam) can be found in our Supporting Guide. Supporting Tasks are updated weekly, and can be accessed prior to filming your exam in that same week. This means that candidates may have a bit more time than usual to prepare, and won’t be presented with any surprises in the exam.
- These exams are marked by exactly the same examiners as you would see in a face-to-face exam. You will still receive marks and personalised feedback just as you would in a face-to-face environment.
- Our Digital Grades & Diplomas carry all the same UCAS points at higher grades as our face to face exams – and are regulated and recognised in exactly the same way, so you can be assured that the high standard of Trinity exams you have come to expect is maintained.
- As with our face-to-face exams, our principle of free choice of text remains a core feature of all our Drama Digital Grades & Diplomas – so be as creative as you want with your text choices, or make use of our Online Anthology to help build your unique programme. Reflective and supporting tasks have been developed to maintain this element of all our exams, allowing for maximum flexibility for candidates and teachers.
We hope you see our Digital Grades & Diplomas as another accessible and welcome addition to the Trinity suite, and we look forward to continuing to develop and expand this exciting offer.
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