How to prepare your Arts Award portfolio for moderation

An interview with Arts Award moderator Judy McFall

How to prepare your Arts Award portfolio for moderation

Hi Judy! What’s the first thing you look for in a brilliant Arts Award portfolio?

Whether or not they have met criteria! A brilliant portfolio will demonstrate all the units and parts required and if their adviser has supported the young person well and has a clear understanding of what is needed then the student will have a wonderful creative journey and gather evidence. A brilliant portfolio is very personalised and demonstrates an individual’s creative and reflective arts journey.

If an Arts Award student is collecting their portfolio online, what should they watch out for?

It’s really useful if it can be ordered and put into parts and units rather than generating one long narrative blog, e.g. Unit 1 and Unit 2 being separate in Silver and Gold levels, and then broken down into each of the parts such as A-D for Unit 1 and A-E in Unit 2.  

Folders or sections are a good idea to keep it in order, it is then much easier to navigate online and it also helps the young person identify the different elements that they have achieved or what is left to gather evidence for. Remember you can’t use the same evidence for different parts so make sure you have all the evidence needed and uploaded in the correct section. 

Try to gather the evidence as you go along, don’t leave it to the last minute! Also, if it is online then think about whether you want it to be a private space (perhaps password protected) or open to the public. It’s useful if your adviser can view it so they can support you and offer advice throughout your journey.

Alternatively, if an Arts Award student has created a video, audio or on-paper portfolio, what should they bear in mind?

They will need to upload portfolios online currently for moderation so if it is on paper then they will need to scan or photograph and upload it into spaces such as Google Docs or Dropbox for the moderator to access and view them.  This will take time so plan this in for your moderation process! 

Any audio or video will also need to be uploaded so maybe password protect it if you need to and think about the size of your file.  Keep them in the relevant units and parts so they are still easy to navigate. Make sure you upload ALL of your portfolio!

What can students do to ensure their portfolio is clear and allows assessors to navigate around the work easily?

Put the evidence into the separate units and parts please!  As a moderator, we don’t have much time to look through portfolios so we need to grasp the content and navigate through them quickly. Try to put them in order, using folders or sections helps, labelling is also really useful and being clear in your evidence such as annotating photographs. Always spell it out to your moderator - remember they don’t know you or what you have done so please be very explicit. 

Do you have any top “dos” and “don’ts” for when Arts Award students are preparing their portfolio for moderation?


  • Do order and compartmentalise your portfolio.
  • Do make sure ALL the evidence is there for every part.
  • Do use the guidance available online to support you, have a look at what others have done and examples of online portfolios.
  • Do be creative and use whatever evidencing methods suit you.


  • Don’t imply things or presume your moderator knows what you did, please be explicit!
  • Don't forget to specifically label your evidence. 

For more portfolio inspiration, visit examples of Arts Award portfolios and find out how to use Voice's portfolio function to organise your award. 

Header Image Credit: Frans Van Heerden via Pexels


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