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Elementary 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 National Theatre Standards and illustrated with examples of adjudicated student work.  MCAs have been created for elementary students at grades 2 and 5.  

Improvising a Folk Story: 5th Grade Model Cornerstone Assessment

MCA Title:  Adapting a character from literature or a folk story into an improvised scene
Grade Level:  5th Grade
Authors:  National Theatre Standards Writing Team
Artistic Processes:  Creating, Performing, Responding

Task Description:  Students will use physical and vocal characterization to interpret, through a planned improvisation, a scene from a work of literature or folk story. They will perform their improvisation for an audience and will reflect on a peer’s performance using drama/theatre vocabulary.

"Adapting a character from literature or a folk story into an improvised scene" demonstrates ways to measure student learning in theatre, by assigning the students the task of creating an improvised scene based on a folk story 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

In this 5th grade group performance, all students were scored individually using the rubric shown.

Measuring Student Learning

Improvisation Rubric

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Additional Tools and Resources

View and download the MCA and any additional materials.

  • 5th Grade Character Improvisation Model Cornerstone Assessment Unit
    Access the full Character Improvisation MCA unit for 5th Grade students.

Other Grade Levels

Middle Grades MCA Packages