Scheme of assessment

Find past papers and mark schemes, and specimen papers for new courses, on our website at aqa.org.uk/pastpapers

This specification is designed to be taken over one or two years.

This is a linear qualification. In order to achieve the award, students must complete all assessments at the end of the course and in the same series.

AS exams and certification for this specification are available for the first time in May/June 2017 and then every May/June for the life of the specification.

All materials are available in English only.

Our AS exams in Dance include questions that allow students to demonstrate their ability to:

  • draw together their knowledge, skills and understanding from across the full course of study
  • provide original practical responses
  • provide short and extended written responses.

Synoptic assessment of AS Dance should require students to:

  • develop a broad and deep understanding of the connections between the knowledge, understanding and skills set out in the specification as a whole
  • demonstrate their understanding of the relationships between theory and practice and the ways in which dancers and choreographers make and implement artistic decisions.

Aims

Courses based on this specification should encourage students to develop:
  • knowledge, understanding and experience of performance, choreography and appreciation of dance as an art form (this will be achieved through exploring and making connections between theory and practice, critically engaging in the analysis of own work and that of professional repertoire, leading to a holistic approach to the study of the subject)
  • the necessary skills as a performer through the areas of technical training and performance development
  • the necessary skills as a choreographer through further experimentation and application of choreographic and structuring devices
  • the necessary skills to engage in critical enquiry about the art form through the areas of written communication, reflection, analysis and evaluation
  • the necessary awareness of safe practice
  • their artistic and historical knowledge of dance in the wider cultural context
  • particular strengths, skills and interests which will encourage life-long learning, equip students for study in higher education and provide access to future careers in dance
  • a range of skills relating to problem solving, organisation, team work and leadership.

Assessment components

Component 1: Performance and choreography

Safe practice

Students must be fully aware of the health and safety procedures recommended to ensure the health, fitness and injury prevention of dancers when taking part in dance activities. It is the responsibility of schools and colleges to ensure students research and adhere to the health and safety measures that should be taken. During the practical assessment, schools and colleges are reminded of the need to observe the health and safety requirements associated with dance.

Examiners are instructed only to conduct the assessments if these requirements are securely in place.

Assessment task 1: Performance of a solo choreography

Each student must perform and choreograph a solo which lasts for a minimum of        two minutes in a live performance setting. The maximum duration of the      complete dance must be no longer than three minutes.

If a student’s performance (of a solo choreography) does not meet the required duration a penalty is applied to the mark (the size of the penalty depends on the severity of the timing infringement). It may also result in schools or colleges being investigated for maladministration. Teachers must check the final performance for assessment of each student’s work, to ensure it meets the minimum and maximum duration requirements.

The solo performance must be in response to a choice of one task from an externally set task      list set by AQA.

The externally set task is published on        AQA        secure key materials (https://extranet.aqa.org.uk) by 15      September. Students must respond to one of the three set tasks published in the      academic year of certification.

The student must perform his/her own choreographed dance.

Students must be given the externally set tasks in their entirety; they must not be edited,      changed or abridged in any way.

For each student, teachers must ensure the following requirements are met in presenting the      final performance for assessment:

  • the created dance must be presented for live assessment in a setting which has been          formally risk assessed and deemed safe
  • the student must have sufficient time to warm up before the            final assessed performance
  • each student must be wholly responsible for the creation of a complete dance and this          must be their own unaided work
  • the student must select and develop movement material, rather than the teacher
  • the assessment must be under the supervision of a teacher, for authentication          purposes
  • the performance that is being recorded must be the            performance that is being assessed
  • the live assessment must take place in the academic year of certification.

The performance and choreography must address the content requirements specified in Performance and        Choreography and      address the requirements of assessment objectives AO1 and AO2.

An      external AQA visiting examiner        will        assess the live performance against the assessment criteria. See the        Assessment grids.

This task is marked out of 60 (40 for the choreography and 20 for the performance).

Assessment evidence

For each student, the following evidence must be submitted to the examiner with a signed Candidate record form, see Supervising and authenticating.

Programme note

The choreographer must clearly refer to the choreographic intention of the work in a Programme note, of no more than 300 words, which must be given to the external AQA visiting examiner at the start of the live performance assessment.

Audio visual recording the solo performance and choreography

The final performance presented for assessment must be recorded with a single camera from an audience perspective, from start to finish and be unedited. The student being assessed must be identified by name and candidate number at the start of the recording of the final performance for assessment.

The audio visual recording of the live choreography and performance for assessment must be given to the external AQA visiting examiner at the end of the live assessment session for each student.

Teachers must ensure they have followed the AQA Guidance for audio visual recording assessment on the AQA website.

Assessment task 2: Performance within a duet/trio

Each student must perform in a duet or trio, which lasts for a minimum of two minutes in a live performance setting. The maximum duration of the complete dance must be no longer than three minutes.

If a student’s performance (within a duet/trio) does not meet the required duration a penalty is applied to the mark (the size of the penalty depends on the severity of the timing infringement). It may also result in schools or colleges being investigated for maladministration. Teachers must check the final performance for assessment of each student’s work, to ensure it meets the minimum and maximum duration requirements.

This performance must investigate characteristics of style within any genre(s). The teacher/choreographer must clearly identify the style and genre(s) so it is clear to the  examiner on the day of the exam.

For each student, teachers must ensure the following requirements are met in presenting the final performance for assessment:

  • the created dance must be performed in a live setting which has been formally risk assessed and deemed safe
  • the student must have sufficient time to warm up before the final assessed performance
  • the assessment must be under the supervision of a teacher for authentication purposes
  • the performance that is being recorded must be the performance that is being assessed
  • the performance must take place in the academic year of certification.

The performance must address the content requirements specified in Performance within a duet/trio and address the requirements of Assessment objective AO1.

External visiting examiners will assess the live performance of the duet/trio performance against the assessment grid; see Performance in a duet or trio.

The externally set duet/trio performance task will remain unchanged for the lifetime of the specification. For ease of reference it will be published alongside the choreographic task list each year.

This task is marked out of 20.

Assessment evidence

For each student, the following evidence must be submitted to the examiner with a signed Candidate record form, see Supervising and authenticating.

Programme note

The teacher/choreographer(s) must clearly reference the style(s) (and the dance idea(s) if applicable) of the dance in a Programme note, of no more than 150 words, which must be given to the external AQA visiting examiner at the start of the live performance assessment.

Audio visual recording of the performance

The final performance presented for assessment must be recorded with a single camera from an audience perspective, from start to finish and be unedited. The student being assessed must be identified by name and candidate number at the start of the recording of the final performance for assessment.

The audio visual recording of the live performance for assessment must be given to the external AQA visiting examiner at the end of the live assessment session for each student.

Teachers must ensure they have followed the AQA Guidance for audio visual recording assessment on the AQA website.

Supervising students

You may provide guidance and sufficient support to students so that they are clear about the requirements of the tasks they need to undertake and the marking criteria on which the work will be assessed. You may also provide guidance to students on the suitability of the response to the task, particularly if it means they will not meet the requirements of the marking criteria.

Sufficient direct supervision must be provided to students to ensure that students work can be confidently authenticated as their own. See Non-exam assessment administration and the JCQ instructions for Non-examined assessment (NEA).

Component 2: Critical engagement

Exam paper

The written exam paper is two hours and is taken in the summer of the year of certification.

Students must respond to short answer questions on own practice and the compulsory area of study. They must also respond to two essay questions: one on the compulsory area of study and one other on their chosen area of study from the four options.

The exam is marked out of 80.

The question paper has three sections and covers the assessment objectives AO3 and AO4 as follows:

Section A: Own practice

Short answer questions – (15 marks).

Section B: Compulsory area of study

Short answer questions – (15 marks).

Section C: Compulsory and optional area of study

Essay questions – ( 50 marks).

Students are assessed on the Subject content outlined.

An examiner's report and mark scheme for the question paper set for the year of entry will be available on the e-AQA secure site in the August following the exam.

Assessment objectives

Assessment objectives (AOs) are set by Ofqual and are the same across all AS Dance specifications and all exam boards.

The assessments will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives.

  • AO1: Perform dance through the application of physical, technical, interpretative and performance skills.
  • AO2: Create dance applying choreographic skills to communicate artistic intention.
  • AO3: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of performance and choreography from different periods and genres.
  • AO4: Critically appreciate and assess performance and choreography through making analytical, interpretative and evaluative judgments.

Assessment objective weightings for AS Dance

Assessment objectives (AOs) Component weightings (approx %) Overall weighting (approx %)
Component 1 Component 2
AO1 25   25
AO2 25   25
AO3   25 25
AO4   25 25
Overall weighting of components 50 50 100

Assessment weightings

The marks awarded on the papers will be scaled to meet the weighting of the components. Students’ final marks will be calculated by adding together the scaled marks for each component. Grade boundaries will be set using this total scaled mark. The scaling and total scaled marks are shown in the table below.

Component Maximum raw mark Scaling factor Maximum scaled mark
Component 1 80 x 1.00 80
Component 2 80 x 1.00 80
Total scaled mark: 160

Assessment grids

Component 1: Performance and choreography

AO1: Perform dance through the application of physical, technical, interpretative and performance skills

Solo performance linked to solo choreography
The assessment objective is assessed through the following:
  • precision and control of physical/technical skills
  • spatial elements (personal and stage space)
  • dynamic elements
  • interpretative/performance skills in order to communicate the dance idea(s), including; (timing, musicality, focus, projection, emphasis and expression).
Performance within the context of a duet/trio linked to a style/genre

The assessment objective is assessed through the following:

  • demonstration of physical/technical skills
  • spatial awareness (including sensitivity to other dancers)
  • interpretative/performance skills (timing, musicality, focus, projection, emphasis and expression).

AO2: Create dance applying choreographic skills to communicate artistic intention

The assessment objective is assessed through the following:
  • selection of the three movement components (ie action, spatial and dynamic elements), in relation to the dance idea(s)
  • manipulation of the movement components through the use of choreographic devices, in relation to the dance idea(s)
  • structuring of movement material and sectional use of choreographic structures, in relation to the dance idea(s)
  • use of other constituent features: the aural setting (and physical setting where appropriate), in relation to the dance idea(s).

Solo performance of choreography assessment grid (20 marks)

Please refer to Performance of solo choreography in the subject content.

Mark Physical/technical skills Spatial elements Dynamic elements Interpretative/performance skills
5 Highly articulate and safe demonstration of precision and control of physical/technical skills. Highly articulate demonstration of spatial control (in individual space and in stage space as used). Highly articulate demonstration of rhythmic control, embodying the chosen dynamics. Highly articulate demonstration of the interpretation/embodiment of the student’s dance idea(s) through the use of interpretative/performance skills.
4 Proficient and safe demonstration of precision and control of physical/technical skills. Proficient demonstration of spatial control (in individual space and in stage space as used). Proficient demonstration of rhythmic control, embodying the chosen dynamics. Proficient demonstration of the interpretation/embodiment of the student’s dance idea(s) through the use of interpretative/performance skills.
3 Sound and safe demonstration of precision and control of physical/technical skills. Sound demonstration of spatial control (in individual space and in stage space as used). Sound demonstration of rhythmic control, embodying the chosen dynamics. Sound demonstration of the interpretation/embodiment of the student’s dance idea(s) through the use of interpretative/performance skills.
2 Adequate and safe demonstration of precision and control of physical/technical skills. Adequate demonstration of spatial control (in individual space and in stage space as used). Adequate demonstration of rhythmic control, embodying the chosen dynamics. Adequate demonstration of the interpretation/embodiment of the student’s dance idea(s) through the use of interpretative/performance skills.
1 Limited but safe demonstration of precision and control of physical/technical skills. Limited demonstration of spatial control (in individual space and in stage space as used). Limited demonstration of rhythmic control, embodying the chosen dynamics. Limited demonstration of the interpretation/embodiment of the student’s dance idea(s) through the use of interpretative/performance skills.
0 No work submitted or nothing worthy of credit.

Performance within a duet or trio assessment grid (20 marks)

Please refer to Performance within a duet/trio in the subject content.

Mark Physical/technical skills Spatial awareness (including sensitivity to other dancers) Interpretative/performance skills (timing and musicality) Interpretative/performance skills (focus, projection, emphasis and expression)
5 Highly articulate and safe demonstration of physical/technical skills within the context of a duet/ trio and in relation to the chosen style/genre. Highly articulate demonstration of spatial awareness (including sensitivity to other dancers) within the context of a duet/ trio and in relation to the chosen style/genre. Highly articulate demonstration of timing and musicality within the context of a duet/ trio and in relation to the chosen style/genre. Highly articulate demonstration of the use of focus, projection, emphasis and expression within the context of a duet/ trio and in relation to the chosen style/genre.
4 Proficient and safe demonstration of physical/technical skills within the context of a duet/ trio and in relation to the chosen style/genre. Proficient demonstration of spatial awareness (including sensitivity to other dancers) within the context of a duet/ trio and in relation to the chosen style/genre. Proficient demonstration of timing and musicality within the context of a duet/ trio and in relation to the chosen style/genre. Proficient demonstration of the use of focus, projection, emphasis and expression within the context of a duet/ trio and in relation to the chosen style/genre.
3 Sound and safe demonstration of physical/technical skills within the context of a duet/ trio and in relation to the chosen style/genre.. Sound demonstration of spatial awareness (including sensitivity to other dancers) within the context of a duet/ trio and in relation to the chosen style/genre. Sound demonstration of timing and musicality within the context of a duet/ trio and in relation to the chosen style/genre. Sound demonstration of the use of focus, projection, emphasis and expression within the context of a duet/ trio and in relation to the chosen style/genre.
2 Adequate and safe demonstration of physical/technical skills within the context of a duet/ trio and in relation to the chosen style/genre. Adequate demonstration of spatial awareness (including sensitivity to other dancers) within the context of a duet/ trio and in relation to the chosen style/genre. Adequate demonstration of timing and musicality within the context of a duet/ trio and in relation to the chosen style/genre. Adequate demonstration of the use of focus, projection, emphasis and expression within the context of a duet/ trio and in relation to the chosen style/genre.
1 Limited but safe demonstration of physical/technical skills within the context of a duet/ trio and in relation to the chosen style/genre. Limited demonstration of spatial awareness (including sensitivity to other dancers) within the context of a duet/ trio and in relation to the chosen style/genre. Limited demonstration of timing and musicality within the context of a duet/ trio and in relation to the chosen style/genre. Limited demonstration of the use of focus, projection, emphasis and expression within the context of a duet/ trio and in relation to the chosen style/genre.
0 No work submitted or nothing worthy of credit.

Solo choreography assessment grid (40 marks)

Please refer to Choreography in the subject content.

Mark Selection of the movement components Manipulation of the movement components Structuring of movement material Use of other constituent features including aural setting (and physical setting where appropriate)
9–10 Highly refined ability to select the movement components appropriately in relation to the dance idea(s). Highly refined ability to manipulate the movement components through the use of choreographic devices in relation to the dance idea(s). Highly refined ability to structure movement material in a coherent way in relation to the dance idea(s). Highly refined ability to use the aural setting appropriately (and physical setting where appropriate) in relation to the dance idea(s).
7–8 Proficient ability to select the movement components appropriately in relation to the dance idea(s). Proficient ability to manipulate the movement components through the use of choreographic devices in relation to the dance idea(s). Proficient ability to structure movement material in a coherent way in relation to the dance idea(s). Proficient ability to use the aural setting appropriately (and physical setting where appropriate)in relation to the dance idea(s).
5–6 Sound ability to select the movement components appropriately in relation to the dance idea(s). Sound ability to manipulate the movement components through the use of choreographic devices in relation to the dance idea(s). Sound ability to structure movement material in a coherent way in relation to the dance idea(s). Sound ability to use the aural setting appropriately (and physical setting where appropriate) in relation to the dance idea(s).
3–4 Adequate ability to select the movement components appropriately in relation to the dance idea(s). Adequate ability to manipulate the movement components through the use of choreographic devices in relation to the dance idea(s). Adequate ability to structure movement material in a coherent way in relation to the dance idea(s). Adequate ability to use the aural setting appropriately (and physical setting where appropriate) in relation to the dance idea(s).
1–2 Limited ability to select the movement components appropriately in relation to the dance idea(s). Limited ability to manipulate the movement components through the use of choreographic devices in relation to the dance idea(s). Limited ability to structure movement material in a coherent way in relation to the dance idea(s). Limited ability to use the aural setting appropriately (and physical setting where appropriate)in relation to the dance idea(s).
0 No work submitted or nothing worthy of credit.