Last Updated: Friday, December 30, 2022

Moderating planning and evidence of learning in expressive arts in primary

What is this?

This practice exemplar captures primary practitioners engaging in a moderation process over a block of learning in expressive arts.

Who is this for?

School leaders and staff in primary and secondary schools.

​​​​This practice exemplar captures primary practitioners engaging in a moderation process over a block of learning in expressive arts. The short videos, which are the main features of this resource, follow the moderation process through from discussions about planning for learning to discussions about the evidence of learning.​​​

The process was undertaken in a primary school but the approach could also be applied in a secondary school context in relation to moderation within the broad general education​.

How to use this exemplar

The information provided in this study, along with two reflective questions, invites you to consider the impact of your own arrangements for applying the moderation cycle within learning and teaching in expressive arts.

In ‘What was the impact?’, you are invited to watch the short videos of the practitioners reflecting on moderation discussions. Please also read the planning documents that were created and then modified following the moderation session. Then, individually or as a team, consider the following improvement questions in your own context:

  1. ​What is the extent of your knowledge of the moderation cycle, its purpose and resources to support it?
  2. To what extent has an effective moderation process been introduced in your school that can be used across different areas of the curriculum?

Explo​re this exemplar

What was done?​

A practitioner with music as a specialism leads learning in music across the primary school, planning blocks of learning for each class throughout the year. The classroom teachers then continue to develop learning in music with their classes on a day to day basis.

At the time of this study the school had two P7 classes in the final term of session 2017-18.

The practitioner with music as a specialism planned a block of learning with a specific focus on the P7 children’s celebration of their time in primary before moving to secondary. This was to culminate in an end-of-term performance before an audience.

The performance was planned as the key assessment for the block. However, the three practitioners involved (two P7 teachers and the teacher with music as a specialism) also used their notes and observations throughout the block to contribute to the overall assessment of the children. These notes and observations also helped inform the subsequent moderation discussions.

The teacher with music as a specialism was recorded over two videos, reflecting on the initial planning and assessment of evidence. The subsequent moderation discussions, recorded over two more videos, included the teacher’s P7 colleagues who taught the children on a daily basis. A video recording of the children’s reflections on their learning and excerpts from the class blog are also available as part of this resource​.


Education Scotland had asked local authority officers to nominate schools that were willing to be involved in the live narrative project. Its aim is to capture early developments in how schools were using a moderation process, incorporating Benchmarks, for areas other than literacy and numeracy.

The school had expressed an interest in working with Education Scotland to develop its approach to moderation for areas of the curriculum other than literacy and numeracy.

The senior education officer from Education Scotland was able to provide first hand guidance and assistance in relation to ​current national advice on assessment, moderation and Benchmarks.

What was the impact?

Practitioners at the school have gone through a moderation process for expressive arts for the first time, incorporating most of the stages of the moderation cycle.

They are now in a position to share the practice with colleagues throughout the school and apply the moderation process across other areas of the curriculum.

Over the period of the study, the moderation discussions opened up greater possibilities for broadening planning to include experiences and outcomes from other areas, for example, health and wellbeing and dance. Planning for assessment was included right at the start.

The practitioners engaged in discussions that allowed them to see the extent to which:

  • the planning and the evidence of learning matched up;
  • the intended learning had been achieved;
  • planning and assessment might be improved in future.​​

The teachers agreed that the experience of following the moderation process through the live narrative project had enabled them to reflect, in some detail, on their approaches to planning for learning and assessment. This had, in turn led them to make improvements at different stages in the process.


Planning using experiences and outcomes

Moderating and planning

Assessing evidence of learning

Ongoing assessment

Moderating evidence of learning

Pupil reflections on learning


PDF file: Scanned planning document (574 KB)

PDF file: Modified planning document (132 KB)

PDF file: Excerpts from P7 blog​​ (251 KB)

See Whitehirst primary twitter feed from June 20th – 25th 2018​.​