College Learning Assessment
Overview:The Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) is being developed by the Council for Aid to Education and the RAND Corporation. A pilot effort in 2004-05 with 54 institutional participants used the instrument to benchmark and directly measure student progress in critical thinking, analytic reasoning, and writing. The CLA is an on-line assessment tool.
Use at WC: Westminster College initially participated as part of a group of Missouri institutions with funding provided by the Missouri Department of Higher Education. Westminster is now a member of the CIC/CLA Consortium.
Results & Reports:
Spring 2005 Results:
The Westminster College experience Adds Value...
Analysis of the 2004-2005 CLA results show that seniors scored better on performance tasks reflecting the core attributes of a liberal education: writing, higher order thinking, problem solving, and quantitative reasoning.
Students complete either a 90-minute assessment task or a combination of one 45-minute and one 30-minute essay tasks.
"PT": Performance Task. This refers to the 90-minute critical thinking task that asks students to review and evaluate a series of documents. It is designed to assess their demonstrated ability to interpret, analyze, and synthesize information.
"MA": Make-an-argument Essay. This refers to the 45-minute essay which asks students to make an argument that supports or rejects a position on some issue.
"BA": Break-an-argument Essay (also known as "Critique-an-argument"). This refers to the 30-minute essay where students evaluated the validity of an argument that was made by someone else.