Periodic Assessment of Personal Learning and Thinking Skills
Use of a learning platform to enable periodic
assessment of Personal, Learning and
Walton-le-Dale Arts College and
Learning platform (Moodle and Mahara)
Personal, Learning and Thinking Skills
(PLTS) mapped onto Opening Minds
Periodic self, peer and teacher
assessment of the PLTS via assessment
tools on Moodle, learning logs and e-
portfolios in Mahara.
Modifications of medium term planning
Walton-le-Dale Arts College
Small 11-16 comprehensive school on the
southern edge of Preston, Lancashire.
Mission statement - “Learning for Life”
Seeks to recognise the uniqueness of every
child and to support and challenge them as
Concerned about the core skills of
students on entry to the school.
Introduced the Opening Minds
curriculum into Years 7 & 8.
PLTS mapped onto the Opening Minds
Periodic assessment of competences/PLTS
Competences/PLTS to be assessed through the
development of learning logs and e-portfolios.
Self, peer and teacher assessment to inform
medium-term planning and student target
Key priority in the school development plan is
to raise achievement, particularly at Key Stage
3, through Assessment for Learning (AfL).
Significant development of Moodle in several
areas of the school (for example supporting
the OCR Nationals in ICT).
Moodle hosted by CLEO (Cumbria and
Lancashire Education Online).
Mahara e-portfolio system locally installed
Mahara install by CLEO during the second half
of the project overcame access problems.
Initially self-assessment with all Year 7
Then worked in detail with one mixed-
ability group of 25 students creating e-
portfolios, modifying teaching and re-
assessing the competences/PLTS.
5 statements from the
competences/PLTS were selected.
Students assessed themselves using
Red/Amber/Green traffic lights (see
Students created these logs
to comment on how they
felt that they were doing in
the particular competence.
There were issues around `
the ability of students to be
reflective and about the
need to structure learning
Low levels of literacy in
some students were tackled
by the use of video logs.
Use of Mahara, initially locally installed
Creating evidence linked to the
Fairly intuitive, but some students
required considerable assistance to
create effective portfolios.
Students then commented on each other's
learning logs and portfolios.
This proved much easier in Mahara where
comments can be left on “views”.
In Moodle, the only way in which peer
comments could be made on learning logs was
for the student to physically go to the
computer where the student to be assessed
was logged on and add to their learning log.
The teacher of the focus group then
added comments to the learning logs
assessing the student's level of
Modification of planning
The overall self-assessment data for
particular competences were exported
from Moodle and analysed.
Changes were made to medium term
planning to address areas of the PLTS
where students were less confident.
The students were then reassessed after
a period of time – 2 months in the case
of this project.
Students were highly motivated and
Makhala: “I love using Moodle
Adam: “The traffic because it is easy to use and it is on
lights help other the computer” “To show people my
people understand work on the internet in different
what you have done ways. We created views and I think
during lessons and that is easy to use and I enjoy
what you’ve been visiting the site”
Abbie: “I love using Mahara
because it is an easy way to show
your friends what you have done
in O M and they can give you
feedback on your work and what
you need to improve”
Highly motivational method of assessment
The amount of training that the students
require should not be underestimated.
The amount of time required to create good e-
portfolios and learning logs is considerable.
The cycle of self, peer and teacher
assessment, coupled with evidence gathering,
now needs to be embedded into the teaching
and learning process.
In order for this method of assessment
to be used effectively across the year
group other members of staff need to be
This is being addressed through the use
of lead lessons, individual coaching and
This method of assessment is being
rolled out into Year 8.
Further consideration is being given to
guidance on the content and format of
learning logs and portfolios.
Mahara “champions” are being
developed from amongst the students to
assist in training other students and