Level 3 Drama and Performing Arts (L3DRA)


At Level 3 students can choose to attempt all Drama standards OR make a course up of Drama standards, Performing Arts Technology standards and Dance Standards. Students can also prepare a programme of work throughout the year that will allow them to enter the practical performance externally assessed scholarship exam.

Level 3 is all about a student’s ability to make their own decisions when bringing roles or work to the stage. Students must have clarity with what they want to achieve and an ability to select appropriate dramatic styles, techniques and conventions to get there.

The Drama course covers all four Drama Strands of the New Zealand Arts Curriculum. You will study Dramatic techniques and be able to apply them in a highly integrated way to character roles. You will Study conventions of drama, and use dramatic processing skills to create a devised performance. You will play a role in a major class production performed to a wider community audience. You will have the option to be assessed on other individual standards as deemed appropriate for individuals. These may include examining, and then interpreting for performance, a complex historical theatre form in its context or studying the work of a practitioner. As part of your wider learning, you will view live theatrical performances and critically analyse them. You will reflect on your own work through verbal and written forms.

What will I learn?

Students who make a passionate commitment to this course can expect to achieve, alongside excellent results to contribute to NCEA Level 3, confidence and fluency in the Performing Arts (both on stage and off) that they can apply to many practical situations. The Key Competencies are part of our daily classroom process. You will develop a sense of self through developing an understanding of the eight C’s of Drama – Creativity, confidence, communication, compassion, culture, collaboration, critical thinking and challenge.

At Level Three you choose to work either as an individual or as a group for assessment. In class, and during workshop style practical learning, you will work as part of a larger ensemble (though your contributions are assessed individually), and through this, you will quickly learn the vital importance of teamwork and open, clear communication.

For students who wish to learn Performing Arts Technologies, there will be opportunities to be assessed on set and prop making, lighting, costume, sound, set, make-up and stage management.

If appropriate dance standards may be selected by some students to complement their programme and may include work being prepared for extra curricular activities.

Special note

The Department works under the umbrella of BOX THEATRE COMPANY. This allows a greater depth and wider context of learning, maximising all performance opportunities both within the school and the wider community. It also provides opportunities for students to gain further knowledge and leadership in the many and varied roles of professional theatre both on and off the stage. Students ability to include the Performing Arts Technology standards into their personal learning programme will greatly increase in this structure. Further information on the Performing Arts Technology standards can be found on the NZQA website.

What should I have done already?

It is advisable that you have demonstrated a commitment to Performing Arts between Year 9 and Year 12. Anyone intending to study Level 3 Drama and Performing Arts is advised to have studied Level 2. However, students who have not previously studied Drama have found success in a Level 3 course, therefore, any student is encouraged to come and chat to the HOD of Drama Emily McRae.

Assessment outline

The course will be assessed using a range of NCEA Level 3 Achievement Standards. Students need to aim for 18 credits to make a full program. 14 of these will be assessed internally through live performances and classroom workshops. These will come from three assessment opportunities. The fourth will be assessed in an external examination at the end of the year. Students can self select a range of other standards to compliment their program if they wish.


Three other achievement standards may be offered for students who are deemed suitable ( 3.8, script a drama suitable for performance (W) (3.9) Direct a drama performance.(R) Students who wish to submit work for a different standard will need to indicate a commitment by the beginning of term 2. Both standards contribute to literacy credits.

Performing Arts Technologies: Unit Standards at A,M, E Level

Students can choose to replace a Drama standard with one technology standard if appropriate. These can be any of costume, makeup, set, sound, lighting, stagemanagement.

If appropriate dance standards may be selected by students. You will need to talk to the HOD of Drama.

Assessment regulations

You can gain the following grades in the Achievement Standards:

  • Not Achieved N Did not meet the required Standard.

  • Achieved A The Standard was met.

  • Merit M The Standard was met demonstrating very good work.

  • Excellence E The Standard was met demonstrating excellent work.

Total credits available: 18 Compulsory


The Achievement Standards offered in this course may not be resubmitted, however, a reassessment opportunity may be offered to students who do not achieve the standard on the first attempt. This opportunity will only be offered to students who have shown a reasonable initial effort and who can demonstrate that further learning has occurred since the initial assessment opportunity.

All reassessments are composed of an entirely different assessment task.

Late work

Work submitted late for the internal assessment Standards will not be marked. You may have the opportunity to gain the credits through reassessment, if available.

If you have a genuine reason why you are unable to submit work by the due date, then you are able to apply for an extension. However, this should occur prior to the due date, not after it. Absence from school due to sickness is not normally regarded as an acceptable reason for the non-submission of assessed work. Alternative arrangements, electronic or otherwise should be made in this event.

What written work is required in drama?

There is a compulsory written statement of intention, annotated scripts and other relevant information that is required to be handed in with each achievement standard. Other recorded information is not officially graded. In order to record learning and progress students will need to set up a note google doc where they will record thoughts, learning and relevant theoretical information updating it at least once a week. Separate google docs or participation in google classroom will be required for compulsory written work that is assessed. IF preferred handwritten notes and documents can still be used for assessment. Access to templates and internal assessment documents will be given via a class google classroom page set up at the beginning of the year. You will need to join this to submit work electronically. NB - any student can choose to submit their support documents orally recorded to audio or visual files.

Where does this course lead?

Level 3 Drama is essential for those wishing to study Drama, Acting, Theatre Studies and aspects of Theatre Technologies at tertiary level.

This Arts subject has at its heart, social health and empathy. Drama is valued in a diverse range of careers including medicine, counselling, teaching and social work, as well as any aspect of professional theatre. It also offers development of rich problem solving and communication skills valued in all workforces.

Students of Drama leave school ready to offer the workforce competent and effective skills in all forms of communication. They are problem solvers and able to find solutions thinking on their feet. They are adaptable and not afraid to risk and fail as it is in the very failures they have experienced in the process of their learning, that new and exciting ideas have generated. They are able to work effectively in group and collaborative contexts understanding how to maximise their own skills alongside the skills of others making all work stronger. They are able to read people and situations with insight and adapt their responses according to the needs of what is immediately at hand. They are also able to be accountable as individuals, understanding through experience the effort and discipline required to achieve work that has an impact in the world.

Indicative costs

Read more about indicative course costs.