Raising the bar for theatre educator professional development.

Model Cornerstone Assessments

A Model Cornerstone Assessment (MCA) is a model assessment with guidance for instruction in your classroom.  The authors of the 2014 National Theatre standards created Model Cornerstone Assessments aligned to the standards for grades Pre K-8, and at three levels in high school - proficient, accomplished, and advanced. Model Cornerstone Assessments for all grades were piloted and student work was collected and adjudicated in a national benchmarking process, to be shared as samples showing how the standards come to life in a real classroom.  Since the standards were published in 2014, additional Model Cornerstone Assessments have been created and piloted by EdTA utilizing teams of teachers and teaching artists, offering a full spectrum of models of assessment across diverse areas of instruction. 

MCAs model effective assessment practice and demonstrate that teaching theatre is specific, rigorous, and measurable by sharing a glimpse into one teacher's classroom. Although an MCA places the emphasis on the evaluation tools, each MCA does offer enough information for any teacher to create a similar unit of their own. 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.

Laurie Melnik Allen, Executive Director of the  Southeast Center for Education in the Arts talks about the impact of Model Cornerstone Assessments on Theatre Education.

Elementary MCA Packages

Middle Grades MCA Packages

Download More MCA Units

Enjoy several free Model Cornerstone Assessment Units below. 

  • HS-II Accomplished MCA: Bringing Shakespeare to Life
    Using scenes from Shakespeare's 12th night students will analyze text and learn how to use the language of Shakespeare to guide their performance. Authors: Theatre Educator Maura Vaughn with Kristen Giroux, Oregon Shakespeare Festival
  • HS-I Proficient MCA: Costume Design
    Students will create a costume design for a character in a drama or theatre work by analyzing the work, identifying and researching a design concept, constructing a mood board, sketching renderings and estimating a budget. Authors: Theatre Educator Jessica Shaw with Shirlee Idzakovich, NYC Costumer
  • HS-I Proficient MCA: Creating a Devised Play
    Students will work collaboratively to create a devised play or scene based on a contemporary photograph, and present the resulting script as a staged reading. Authors: Theatre Educator Matthew Moody with Julia Cuppy, La Jolla Playhouse
  • HS-I Proficient: Sound Design
    Students will explore audio production for theatre, radio, film, television and other crative media by working to create a fully realized soundscape for a piece of literature. Authors: Theatre Educator Aileen Zeigler with Andre Rodriguez, Denver Center for the Performing Arts
  • HS-III Advanced MCA: Devising Theatre for Social Issues
    Students will create a collaborative devised theatre piece by engaging in active exploration of a theme/issue/idea, preparing a dramaturgical notebook, and using research and exploration to identify ways in which space, architecture, rhythm, movement, sound, light, text and tension can deliver the message. Authors: Theatre Educator Kristie Fuller with NYC teaching artist Kate Lee