Raising the bar for theatre educator professional development.

High School Tech Model Cornerstone Assessments

A Model Cornerstone Assessment is a model of assessment with guidance for instruction which may be customized for use in your classroom.  Model Cornerstone Assessments (MCAs) are aligned to the 2014 National Theatre Standards and illustrated with examples of adjudicated student work.  MCAs have been created for high school in both performing and technical theatre tasks at three levels: proficient, accomplished and advanced. 

Advanced Design Concept Presentation: High School Advanced Model Cornerstone Assessment

MCA Title:  Advanced Design Concept Presentation
Grade Level:  High School Advanced III
Artistic Processes:  Creating, Performing, Responding, Connecting

Task Description:  Students will create a design concept presentation for a published play. They will write a clear design concept that includes a description and reflection on the play’s theme and respond to questions from peers and teachers. They will include all technical elements of design – lighting, scenic, costume, props, sound, make-up and graphics – to describe the overall design concept. They will create three-to-five minute presentation of the design concept that includes written documentation, visual/audio/physical samples and/or digital artifacts. The purpose of this exercise is not to generate actual designs but to demonstrate the learner's ability to analyze the design requirements of the play and to create an overall concept for expressing the theme of the play through design.

"Advanced Design Concept Presentation" demonstrates ways to measure student learning in theatre using the development of an advanced design concept as a tool for instruction and assessment. This Model Cornerstone Assessment (MCA) is based on a unit which was piloted in a variety of classrooms across the nation. Although in an MCA the emphasis is on the evaluation tools, an MCA does offer enough information for any teacher to create a similar unit of their own. Click on "View the full MCA" below to see strategies for embedding in instruction as a guide for re-creating this unit and assessment customized for your classroom. 

MCAs model effective assessment practice and demonstrate that teaching theatre is specific, rigorous, and measurable by sharing a glimpse into one teacher's classroom. The MCAs on this website come packaged with a suggested strategy for assessing student learning, types of evidence to collect, model rubrics, and samples of student work demonstrating their process and learning. The samples of student work illustrate the unit in action by providing a snapshot of a moment in time showing student response to instruction.

View the full MCA

Illustrating the Process: Sample of Student Work

Illustrating the Process: Measuring Student Learning

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Additional Tools and Resources

View and download the MCA and any additional materials.

  • HS-III Advanced Design Concept Model Cornerstone Assessment Unit
    Access the full Design Concept MCA unit for High School Advanced students.
  • HS-III Advanced Design Unit Student Design Presentation
    Download the student design presentation.
  • HS-III Design Unit Student Reflection
    Download the student reflection here.

Other Grade Levels

Elementary MCA Packages

Middle Grades MCA Packages