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MarylandFine Arts Education Instructional Tool Kit
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Maryland Fine Arts Education
Developing Fine Arts Assessments
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Assessment Outcomes and Implications

Stimulus Materials for Theatre

Stimulus materials are resources used in assessment activities to help establish context, purpose, and focus.   They should be developmentally appropriate and essential to the contextual framework of the task.   Stimulus materials for theatre items may be aural and/or visual.   They should be selected to represent the genres, styles, and forms of both Western theatre and the dramatic traditions of a variety of other cultures. They may include music, still and moving images, literature (e.g., stories, poems, and dramatic forms like skits and plays), film clips of performances in drama, music, and dance, and an array of artifacts.

In most instances, stimulus materials are presented to students at the time of test administration.   However, some tasks may require advance listening, viewing, or other exposure to the material.   Students should not be expected to be familiar with particular works other than those for which preview instructions are provided.  

Obtaining Permission for Use of Copyrighted Material

Every published work of art is subject to restrictions for use.   Before downloading or reproducing any material for any purpose, it is important to research the conditions under which it may be used.   Works considered to be products of creative expression (or “intellectual property”) are protected by prevailing copyright laws.   Materials may take various forms such as text-based material, film or audio recordings, visual images, etc., and may be accessed from various sources such as books, commercially available video or audio tapes or CDs, or through the Internet.   Prior to making a stimulus selection for an assessment task, it is important to research the conditions under which materials may be downloaded, duplicated, and distributed.   The penalty for violating copyright law can be very severe.

Possible sources of stimulus materials for theater include:

  • Commercial film recordings, recordings of public events such as school or community-based plays and enactments (with permission), along with film recordings made specifically for assessment purposes;
  • Visual resources including still images such as pictures, photographs, or drawings of stage settings, props, and costumes; and
  • Dramatic texts, including skits, one and multi-act plays, radio plays, texts intended for dramatic readings like poems for two or more voices, and relevant literary and historical texts (e.g., folktales and legends and historical texts about actors, acting, or theatres).

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