The Council for Aid to Education

Question 2

The Council for Aid to Education ( has recently developed the College Learning Assessment (CLA) to measure students’ critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and written communication skills. The exam is currently available to institutions on a voluntary basis.


The Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) offers an authentic approach to the improvement of teaching and learning in higher education through a continuous improvement model, and recognizes faculty as central actors in educational improvement efforts.  The CLA assists faculty, department chairs, school administrators and others interested in programmatic change to improve teaching and learning, particularly with respect to strengthening higher order skills (CAE, 2012).

Supporters have argued this kind of standardized test is necessary to determine student learning outcomes in postsecondary institutions, while critics fear standardized testing of college learning can become too simplistic to be an effective tool given the diversity of institutions and curricula available through higher education in this country. The CLA has not yet considered whether this standardized approach is relevant for adult students. Using a specific methodology to frame your discussion, consider whether this test would be appropriate for adults who are pursuing occupational credentials or if the test would be more appropriate for those students who take full general education sequences. Utilizing at least five references, outline your views and provide a clear and empirical rational for your decisions. Include the following:

A.        A review of the literature from experts regarding this type of study, from both content and a research methodology perspective.  Do not include any literature on p-12 testing and learning.


B.        What is the value/significance of this study type? Include problem and purpose statements, definitions, along with your research questions.


C.        What ethical issues might arise during and from this type of study?


D.        What data would need to be collected? Include how you will select the participants and the tools needed to collect the data. Explain why you consider this to be valid sources of data for decision making.


E.         What collection methods are best suited to your study?


F.         How would you potentially analyze your data?


G.        What might be the limitations and delimitations of your study from a methodological perspectiv