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Middle Grades 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 the middle grades students at grade 8.  

Pantomime: 8th Grade Model Cornerstone Assessment

MCA Title:  Pantomime
Grade Level:  8th grade
Authors:  National Theatre Standards Writing Team
Artistic Processes:  Creating, Performing, Responding, Connecting

Task Description:  Students will create, rehearse, revise, and present a short pantomime in the form of a story with a beginning, conflict, and ending resolution that expresses meaning, emotion, and character. This pantomime will be done in small groups around a theme that involves solving a community issue (e.g. need for a new park, clean ground water, healthier cafeteria food). Proficiency will be demonstrated through the use of facial expression, gesture, full body movement (stage picture), movement in space (blocking), and cessation of movement (tableau). Although done in small groups, the assessment should be done individually. 

"Pantomime" demonstrates ways to measure student learning in theatre using the development of a collaborative pantomime performance 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

Although the 8th grade pantomime was a collaborative group task, students may be scored individually, using the rubric at the end of the unit.

Illustrating the Process: Measuring Student Learning

Pantomime Rubric


Additional Tools and Resources

View and download the MCA and any additional materials.

  • 8th Grade Pantomime Model Cornerstone Assessment Unit
    Access the full Pantomime MCA unit for 8th Grade students.

Additional Model Cornerstone Assessments