Posted by John Naples-Campbell on October 4, 2007
Well I was talking to a few friends about the Standard Grade (SG) course and how exciting I thought it was and we then began to discuss the Scottish Government thinking of getting rid of it and replacing them with Intermediate One and Intermediate Two courses… mmm having taught both courses i’m thinking it’s not a good idea. The debate also rose on TES and I feel it will be debated further before they make any decisions.
The Standard Grade is designed for pupils to sit over two years and gives students the flexibility to experience many aspects of theatre that suits them. It is marked on three areas; Creating, Presenting and Knowledge and Understanding. At the end of the two years students sit two exams; an acting exam (Creating and Presenting) and a written paper (Knowledge and Understanding). The course can be differentiated to suit the needs of the students with high learning outcomes based on improvisation. In SG Drama we aim to enable students to achieve the best grades they can. Students look at characterisation, theatre arts, various genres of theatre, script writing, play reading, improvisation etc.
The Intermediate Courses are split into three areas; Devising, Theatre Arts and Theatre Production. In Int One students are asked to devise their own piece for the final unit whereas in Int Two the students are asked to take on various roles to create a production for the final unit. The problem with the higher still courses is that they do not meet the right needs for those wanting to Higher Drama. I had a girl last year who chose to do make-up for her final exam and she done very well in it yet in Higher they must do acting so what about the skills she learnt in Int Two, how can thse be transfered? Saying this… the Int 2 course enables students who may not enjoy acting to take on various roles such as Lighting, sound, make-up, directing, set etc
Another issue is that the Int Two course is very reliant on people who can read scripts, a lot of my students in my previous school found it hard to be fluent readers yet in the SG course achieved excellent credit passes as they had to create their own pieces and although we studied some script owrk I did not have to assess them on it.
If the Scottish Government were to get rid of SG then they really have to make sure that the Higher Still courses enable students to carry on transferable skills throughout their school career, they must also take into consideration students who may have achieved an excellent grade at SG but may only have passed the Higher Still courses due to reading and writing levels. What do you think?