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 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.

GCSE exams and certification for this specification are available for the first time in May/June 2018 and then every May/June for the life of the specification.

All materials are available in English only.

Our GCSE 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 GCSE Dance should require students to:

  • develop a broad 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.

Aims and learning outcomes

Courses based on this specification should encourage students to:

  • learn to choreograph, perform and appreciate dance as an art form
  • inform their development as creative and artistic individuals and broaden their aesthetic, social and cultural experience through a holistic engagement with dance.

GCSE specifications in dance must enable students to engage as choreographers through the:

  • creative and imaginative response to a range of stimuli
  • use of imagination, problem solving, creativity and the synthesis of ideas
  • application of knowledge, skills and understanding of choreographic forms and devices
  • communication of ideas, feelings, emotions, meanings and moods.
GCSE specifications in dance must enable students to engage as performers through the:
  • application of knowledge, skills and understanding of performing
  • development of physical, technical, mental and expressive skills
  • communication of choreographic intention and artistry.
GCSE specifications in dance must enable students to appreciate dance through the:
  • articulation of knowledge and critical reflection to inform artistic practice
  • critical appreciation of dance in its physical, artistic, aesthetic and cultural contexts
  • critical analysis, interpretation, evaluation and appreciation of professional dance works.
GCSE specifications in dance must enable students to:
  • participate in and appreciate dance from more than one style
  • critically appreciate at least two professional works by at least two choreographers
  • work collaboratively with others
  • develop knowledge, skills and understanding of health, well-being and safe and professional practice relevant to dance
  • improve own work through analysis, critical self-reflection and evaluation.

GCSE specifications in dance must reflect the learning outcomes in the content.

GCSE courses based on this specification should encourage students to be inspired, moved and changed by following a broad, coherent, satisfying and worthwhile course of study. They should prepare students to make informed decisions about further learning opportunities and career choices.

Assessment components

Component 1: Performance and choreography

Assessment task 1: Performance

The performance task is marked out of 40 marks. Each student must complete both parts of the task:
  • Solo performance (12 marks)
  • Duet/trio performance (24 marks)

A single overall mark out of 4 (in total) is also available for demonstration of each student’s mental skills and attributes shown during the performances.

The mark for mental skills and attributes can only be awarded to each student if they provide creditable evidence for both solo and duet/trio performances. A mark for mental skills cannot be awarded to a student if they produce evidence worthy of credit for only one performance.

Solo performance

Each student must perform the two selected phrases as a soloist in a live performance setting (approximately one minute).

If the student’s performance does not contain an attempt to reproduce both set phrases, it will not be accepted as assessment evidence. Teachers must check the final performance for assessment of each student’s work, to ensure it meets these requirements.

Duet/trio performance

Each student must perform in a duet/trio, in a live performance setting for at least three minutes in a single performance that is no longer than five minutes in duration. The duet/trio must include the specific choreographic requirements detailed in Duet/trio performance.

Administering the performance task

Updated

If a student’s performance 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. If the duet/trio performance uses the same set phrases as the solo performance, it will not be accepted as assessment evidence. Teachers must check the final performance for assessment of each student’s work, to ensure it meets these requirements.

For each student, teachers must also ensure the following requirements are met in administering the final performances for assessment:

  • the student must have sufficient time to warm up before the final performances for assessment
  • the final performances for assessment must be performed in a live setting which has been formally risk assessed and deemed safe
  • the dance created for the duet/trio performance assessment cannot be any that has been created to meet assessment objective 2 (AO2) in the same series
  • together the performances must allow for full coverage of AO1 and relevant content in every series
  • for the duet/trio performance the choreographic intent should be determined by teacher/practitioner but this does not preclude students from contributing to the choreographic process of the duet/trio performance
  • final performance for assessment must be under controlled supervised conditions.

The performances must address the content requirements specified in performance and address the requirements of AO1.

Marking the performance task

The solo performance is marked out of 12. The duet/trio is marked out of 24. A single overall mark out of 4 is also available for mental skills and attributes during the performances.

The final performance for assessment must be supervised by a teacher and must be performed in the academic year of certification.

Assessment evidence

The following evidence must be submitted for assessment with the teacher’s mark sheet and the signed Candidate record form. See Supervising and authenticating.

Programme note for the duet/trio performance

Teachers must provide a Programme note (approximately 150 words) to support the assessment of the duet/trio. This must be submitted to AQA with the audio visual recording. The Programme note must include the following information:

  • the choreographic intent, eg the idea(s), theme(s), mood(s), meaning(s) and/or style/style fusion(s) of the dance
  • the phrases that have been used for each student in the creation of the piece
  • citations of title and musician/artist for any aural accompaniment used.
Audio visual recording of the performances

For each student, the final presentation of the solo and duet/trio performances 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 on screen by name and candidate number. In the solo performance, students must name the set phrases they are performing at the start of the recording of their performance.

Teachers must ensure they have followed the AQA guidance for audio visual recording - Component 1 assessment evidence, available on the AQA website.

Teachers must check the recording of the final performance for assessment of each student’s work, to ensure it meets the minimum content requirements.

The audio visual recording of the live performance for assessment must be submitted to AQA for moderation by the specified deadline.

Please note: If a Programme note is not submitted for assessment, the audio visual recording of the duet/trio performance will still be accepted as assessment evidence. However, this will compromise how clearly the evidence supports the mark awarded by the centre, meaning centre marks are more likely to be adjusted at moderation.

Assessment task 2: Choreography

Updated

The choreography task is marked out of 40 marks. Students must demonstrate their creative response to a choice of one stimulus, from a prescribed task list set by AQA. The choreography must be a complete dance, including movement material and a selected aural setting, either as:

  • a solo dance of a minimum of two minutes and a maximum of two and a half minutes

or

  • a group dance of a minimum of three minutes and a maximum of three and a half minutes for two to five dancers.

If a student’s 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 externally set task list is published by the 15 September of the academic year of certification. Please visit e-AQA to view the externally set task list for the year of study.

Each student is required to select a single stimulus, from one of five options from the paper for which they have been entered. Students must be given the paper in its entirety; it must not be edited, changed or abridged in any way.

Each year, the tasks will relate to the following types of stimuli:

  • words, poem or a piece of text
  • a photograph/image
  • a prop, accessory or object
  • a feature of the natural world
  • an everyday activity or topical or historical event.

The choreography must address the content requirements specified in Choreography and address the assessment objectives AO2.

Each student must be marked individually within the piece performed using the criteria; please see Choreography assessment grid (40 marks) . This task is marked out of 40.

The teacher must assess the student’s live performance of the choreography.

Administering the choreography task

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

  • the student must have sufficient time to warm up before the final assessed performance
  • the final performance for assessment must be performed in a live setting which has been formally risk assessed and deemed safe
  • the final performance of the choreography for assessment must be under controlled supervised conditions
  • the dance created for the performance of the choreography assessment cannot be any that has been created to meet AO1 in the same series
  • together the performances must allow for full coverage of AO1 and relevant content in every series
  • each student must be wholly responsible for their own complete dance for final assessment
  • the live performance of the choreography that is assessed must be the one that is recorded
  • the live assessment of choreography must take place in the academic year of certification.

The student is not required to perform in their choreographed dance but may do so if they wish. Dancers chosen to perform in their choreographed dance must be under 19 years of age at the time of the assessment.

Marking the choreography task

The student's choreography must be marked using the criteria specified in the Choreography assessment grid (40 marks) .

The Choreography is marked out of 40.

The final presentation of the choreography for assessment must be under the supervision of a teacher for authentication purposes and must be performed in the academic year of certification.

Assessment evidence

The following evidence must be submitted for assessment with the teacher’s mark sheet and the signed Candidate record form; please see Supervising and authenticating.

Programme note

The student’s Programme note of approximately 120–150 words, which supports the assessment of the choreography must be given to the teacher/assessor at the start of the live performance assessment and submitted to AQA with the audio visual recording.

The Programme note must include the following information:
  • the choice of the specific assessment stimulus to which the student responded and the specific stimulus (eg poem, painting etc) that the student used
  • a description of how the choreographic intent of the work eg the idea(s), theme(s), mood(s), meaning(s) and /or style/style fusion(s) of the dance was achieved
  • citations of title and musician/artist for any aural accompaniment used.
Audio visual recording of the final performance of choreography

The final performance of choreography 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 on screen by name and candidate number at the start of the recording of the final performance for assessment.

Teachers must ensure they have followed the AQA guidance for audio visual recording - Component 1 assessment evidence, available on the AQA website.

Teachers must check the final recording of each student’s choreography before submission to AQA to ensure it meets the minimum duration requirements.

The audio-visual recording of the live performance for assessment must be submitted to AQA for moderation by the specified deadline.

Please note: If a Programme note is not submitted for assessment, the audio visual recording of the final performance of choreography will still be accepted as assessment evidence. However, this will compromise how clearly the evidence supports the mark awarded by the centre, meaning centre marks are more likely to be adjusted at moderation.

Supervising students

Teachers 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. Teachers 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 also Non-exam assessment administration.

Component 2: Dance appreciation

Written exam

This component is the written exam paper of one and a half hours, set in the summer of the year of certification. The question paper has three sections and covers the assessment objectives AO3 and AO4.

The exam will be marked out of 80.

Section A

AO3 relates to the knowledge and understanding of choreographic processes and performing skills. Questions will relate to a given stimulus for students to write a response.

Section B

AO4 relates to the critical appreciation of own work. Questions will relate to students’ own experience of performance, or choreography or both from within the course.

Section C

AO4 relates to the critical appreciation of professional works and students will answer questions relating to the GCSE Dance Anthology.

Students must be able to critically analyse, evaluate and identify similarities and differences and explain and justify their own opinions with reasoning.

Please see aqa.org.uk/dance to see the complete anthology for study.

Examiners reports and mark schemes for the question paper set for the year of entry will be available on the e-AQA secure site in the August following the examination.

Assessment objectives

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

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

  • AO1: Perform dance, reflecting choreographic intention through physical, technical and expressive skills.
  • AO2: Create dance, including movement material and aural setting, to communicate choreographic intention.
  • AO3: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of choreographic processes and performing skills.
  • AO4: Critically appreciate own works and professional works, through making analytical, interpretative and evaluative judgements.

Assessment objective weightings for GCSE Dance

Assessment objectives (AOs) Component weightings (approx %) Overall weighting (approx %)
Component 1 Component 2
AO1 30   30
AO2 30   30
AO3   15 15
AO4   25 25
Overall weighting of components 60 40 100

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
Performance and choreography 80 3 240
Dance appreciation 80 2 160
Total scaled mark: 400

Assessment grids

Level of response marking instructions

Level of response mark schemes are broken down into mark bands, each of which has a descriptor. The descriptor indicates the quality that will be expected in the student’s evidence for that mark band.

Identifying the correct mark band

The work must be assessed against each criterion separately. Start at the lowest mark band and see whether the evidence meets the descriptor for that mark band. If it meets the lowest mark band then go to the next one and decide if it meets this mark band, and so on, until you have a match between the mark band descriptor and the students’ evidence.

With practice and familiarity you will find that for better responses you will be able to quickly skip through the lower levels/marks of the mark scheme.

Duet/trio performance and choreography assessment grids

Duet/trio and choreography assessment grids have two marks within each mark band. Once you have identified the correct mark band (as above), you need to decide which mark to allocate within the band. The lower mark indicates that the student has just met the requirement described in the band, the upper mark indicates that the evidence is clear but that the student has not quite met the requirements set out in the next mark band.

Determine an overall mark

The marks for each criteria need to be added up to determine the final overall mark for the individual performance/choreography. For performance, marks for solo, duet/trio and mental skills and attributes also need to be added up to derive an overall mark out of 40.

Marking to the correct standard

Online exemplification materials are provided on e-AQA with written commentaries which explain how the marks have been awarded.

To ensure you use the assessment criteria grids correctly and mark to the correct standard:
  • access the online exemplification materials provided before you mark your own students' work
  • ensure a senior dance representative from your school, with responsibility for conducting internal standardisation, completes online standardisation.

Component 1: Performance and choreography

Solo performance (12 marks)

Students must be assessed on their ability to demonstrate:
  • physical skills and attributes safely during performance
  • technical skills accurately and safely during performance
  • expressive skills
in reproducing the content of the chosen two set phrases.

Duet/trio performance (24 marks)

Students must be assessed on their ability to demonstrate:
  • physical skills and attributes safely during performance
  • technical skills accurately and safely during performance
  • expressive skills
reflecting the choreographic intent of the duet/trio performance.

Mental skills and attributes during performance (4 marks)

Students must be assessed on their mental skills and attributes during the solo and the duet/trio performances.

Choreography (40 marks)

Students must be assessed on their ability to creatively and effectively select and use the following, as relevant to their choreographic intent:

  • action and dynamic content
  • spatial content (and relationship content where appropriate)
  • structuring devices and form
  • choreographic devices
  • aural setting (and performance environment where appropriate).

Solo performance assessment grid (12 marks)

For the list of knowledge, understanding and skills to be assessed, please refer to the subject content for Performance.

Marks Demonstration of physical skills and attributes safely to reproduce set phrases Demonstration of technical skills accurately and safely to reproduce set phrases Demonstration of expressive skills to reproduce set phrases
4 Exceptional ability to demonstrate physical skills and attributes safely. Exceptional ability to demonstrate technical skills accurately and safely. Exceptional ability to demonstrate expressive skills.
3 Highly developed ability to demonstrate physical skills and attributes safely. Highly developed ability to demonstrate technical skills accurately and safely. Highly developed ability to demonstrate expressive skills.
2 Sound ability to demonstrate physical skills and attributes safely. Sound ability to demonstrate technical skills accurately and safely. Sound ability to demonstrate expressive skills.
1 Limited ability to demonstrate physical skills and attributes safely. Limited ability to demonstrate technical skills accurately and safely. Limited ability to demonstrate expressive skills.
0 Nothing worthy of credit.

Duet/trio performance assessment grid (24 marks)

For the list of knowledge, understanding and skills to be assessed, please refer to the subject content for Performance.

Marks Demonstration of physical skills and attributes safely to reflect choreographic intent Demonstration of technical skills accurately and safely to reflect choreographic intent Demonstration of expressive skills to reflect choreographic intent
8 Clear Exceptional ability to demonstrate physical skills and attributes safely. Exceptional ability to demonstrate technical skills accurately and safely. Exceptional ability to demonstrate expressive skills.
7 Just
6 Clear Highly developed ability to demonstrate physical skills and attributes safely. Highly developed ability to demonstrate technical skills accurately and safely. Highly developed ability to demonstrate expressive skills.
5 Just
4 Clear Sound ability to demonstrate physical skills and attributes safely. Sound ability to demonstrate technical skills accurately and safely. Sound ability to demonstrate expressive skills.
3 Just
2 Clear Limited ability to demonstrate physical skills and attributes safely. Limited ability to demonstrate technical skills accurately and safely. Limited ability to demonstrate expressive skills.
1 Just
0 Nothing worthy of credit.

Mental skills and attributes during performance assessment grid (4 marks)

For the list of knowledge, understanding and skills to be assessed, please refer to the subject content for Performance.

Marks Demonstration of mental skills and attributes during the performances
4 Exceptional demonstration of mental skills and attributes
3 Highly developed demonstration of mental skills and attributes
2 Sound demonstration of mental skills and attributes
1 Limited demonstration of mental skills and attributes
0 Nothing worthy of credit.

Choreography assessment grid (40 marks)

For the list of knowledge, understanding and skills to be assessed, please refer to the subject content for Choreography.

Marks Selection and use of appropriate action and dynamic content to realise choreographic intent Selection and use of appropriate spatial content (and relationship content where appropriate) to realise choreographic intent Selection and use of appropriate structuring devices and form to realise choreographic intent Selection and use of appropriate choreographic devices to realise choreographic intent Selection and use of appropriate aural setting (and performance environment where appropriate) to realise choreographic intent
8 Clear Selection and use of action and dynamic content is exceptionally creative and effective, demonstrating a sophisticated understanding of choreography. Selection and use of spatial content (and relationship content where appropriate) is exceptionally creative and effective, demonstrating a sophisticated understanding of choreography. Selection and use of structuring devices and form is exceptionally creative and effective, demonstrating a sophisticated understanding of choreography. Selection and use of choreographic devices is exceptionally creative and effective, demonstrating a sophisticated understanding of choreography. Selection and use of aural setting (and performance environment where appropriate) is exceptionally creative and effective, demonstrating a sophisticated understanding of choreography.
7 Just
6 Clear Selection and use of action and dynamic content is highly creative and effective, demonstrating a coherent understanding of choreography. Selection and use of spatial content (and relationship content where appropriate) is highly creative and effective, demonstrating a coherent understanding of choreography. Selection and use of structuring devices and form is highly creative and effective, demonstrating a coherent understanding of choreography. Selection and use of choreographic devices is highly creative and effective, demonstrating a coherent understanding of choreography. Selection and use of aural setting (and performance environment where appropriate) is highly creative and effective, demonstrating a coherent understanding of choreography.
5 Just
4 Clear Selection and use of action and dynamic content is moderately creative and effective, demonstrating a sound understanding of choreography. Selection and use of spatial content (and relationship content where appropriate) is moderately creative and effective, demonstrating a sound understanding of choreography. Selection and use of structuring devices and form is moderately creative and effective, demonstrating a sound understanding of choreography. Selection and use of choreographic devices is moderately creative and effective, demonstrating a sound understanding of choreography. Selection and use of aural setting (and performance environment where appropriate) is moderately creative and effective, demonstrating a sound understanding of choreography.
3 Just
2 Clear Selection and use of action and dynamic content shows limited creativity and effectiveness, demonstrating a simplistic understanding of choreography. Selection and use of spatial content (and relationship content where appropriate) shows limited creativity and effectiveness, demonstrating a simplistic understanding of choreography. Selection and use of structuring devices and form shows limited creativity and effectiveness, demonstrating a simplistic understanding of choreography. Selection and use of choreographic devices shows limited creativity and effectiveness, demonstrating a simplistic understanding of choreography. Selection and use of aural setting (and performance environment where appropriate) shows limited creativity and effectiveness, demonstrating a simplistic understanding of choreography.
1 Just
0 Nothing worthy of credit.