Mr Swinney is set to lay out the government’s commitment to teacher-led learning at the Scottish Learning Festival in Glasgow on Wednesday.
In his keynote speech, he is expected to reject a return to “top-down diktats” and vow that upcoming reforms to school governance will build on freedoms within the curriculum.
Mr Swinney said: “When Scotland set out to reform our school curriculum, a critical question was how we break free of the top-down diktats that dominated Scottish school education.
“Teachers were teaching to the test and children were not receiving the broad knowledge and skills they needed.
“We chose to free our teachers to teach, to be free to educate our young people and prepare them for a world that is ever-changing.
“We will not go back to an approach that was designed for a previous era and that, bluntly, would leave our young people ill-prepared for the modern world.
“Instead, we will go further. We will give schools and teachers more freedom.”
The Scottish Learning Festival is an annual conference and exhibition for the teaching profession in Scotland.
Taking place on Wednesday and Thursday, it attracts more than 4,500 delegates and hosts over 200 suppliers of educational resources.