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Collegiate Learning Assessment

The Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) is a nationally–normed, authentic assessment developed by the Council for Aid to Education to measure institutional achievements in student learning in four key general education core skills: critical thinking, analytic reasoning, problem solving, and written communication. CLA results are controlled for incoming academic ability.

Cross-Sectional Study

The University of Kentucky first administered the CLA as part of a longitudinal study of the general education learning of UK undergraduates in fall 2007. The initial administration tested two cohorts: (1) first-time, full-time freshman and (2) UK seniors. This test design ensures that the initial results are immediately useful as a cross-sectional (or "snapshot") analysis of learning. A basic summary of the cross-sectional results are included in the tables below; the full institutional report is available here: 2007-2009 Cross-Sectional Institutional Report

Freshmen tested in fall 2007

  Student Count Mean SAT Score Expected CLA Score Actual CLA Score Percentile Rank Performance Level
Total CLA Score 303 1173 1147 1164 87 At
Performance Task 307 1171 1142 1201 93 Well Above
Analytic Writing Task 303 1173 1147 1123 74 Below
    Make-an-Argument 303 1173 1151 1109 71 Below
    Critique-an-Argument 306 1172 1143 1136 82 At

Seniors tested in spring 2008

  Student Count Mean SAT Score Expected CLA Score Actual CLA Score Percentile Rank Performance Level
Total CLA Score 102 1191 1243 1283 89 Above
Performance Task 51 1202 1247 1317 95 Well Above
Analytic Writing Task 51 1179 1239 1248 78 At
    Make-an-Argument 51 1179 1233 1253 81 Above
    Critique-an-Argument 51 1179 1243 1242 73 At

Value-added Estimates

  Difference
Score
Percentile
Rank
Performance
Level
Total CLA Score 0.6 73 Above
Performance Task 0.0 54 At
Analytic Writing Task 0.9 77 Above
    Make-an-Argument 1.5 91 Well Above
    Critique-an-Argument 0.2 57 At

Longitudinal Results

A complete picture of UK’s general education learning, however, can only be gleaned from following a single cohort through their general education learning experience. Therefore, the longitudinal design of the CLA required that it be administered to the same cohort three times: first in fall 2007, next in spring 2009, and finally, in spring 2011. The summary results are provided in the tables below. The full institutional report is available at the following link: 2007-2011 Longitudinal Results

Comparison of UK students’ scores in Phase 1 (Fall 2007) and Phase 2 (Spring 2009)

    Phase 1 Phase 2 Summary Statistics
Phases 1 and 2 # of Students Mean Score Std. Dev. Mean Score Std. Dev. Effect Size* Performace Level**
Performance Task 146 1158 165 1173 134 0.09 Below
Analytic Writing Task 144 1076 128 1117 149 0.32 Above
    Make-an-Argument 144 1053 159 1083 172 0.19 Near
    Critique-an-Argument 146 1098 164 1149 166 0.31 Near
Total Score 144 1117 121 1146 122 0.24 Near

Comparison of UK students’ scores in Phase 2 (Spring 2009) and Phase 3 (Spring 2011)

    Phase 2 Phase 3 Summary Statistics
Phases 2 and 3 # of Students Mean Score Std. Dev. Mean Score Std. Dev. Effect Size* Performace Level**
Performance Task 81 1171 136 1261 146 0.66 Well Above
Analytic Writing Task 80 1117 151 1123 146 0.04 Well Below
    Make-an-Argument 81 1084 176 1085 170 0.01 Well Below
    Critique-an-Argument 80 1145 171 1155 176 0.06 Well Below
Total Score 80 1144 125 1192 121 0.38 Near

Comparison of UK students’ scores in Phase 1 (Fall 2007) and Phase 3 (Spring 2011)

    Phase 1 Phase 3 Summary Statistics
Phases 1 and 3 # of Students Mean Score Std. Dev. Mean Score Std. Dev. Effect Size* Performace Level**
Performance Task 110 1155 174 1249 147 0.54 Above
Analytic Writing Task 108 1067 132 1121 143 0.41 Below
    Make-an-Argument 109 1034 153 1088 164 0.35 Near
    Critique-an-Argument 108 1101 175 1148 176 0.27 Well Below
Total Score 108 1113 125 1185 123 0.58 Near

*Indicates how much change occurred between Phases. The larger the positive effect size, the greater the improvement.

**Effect sizes are the standardized difference in mean performance between a pair of phases and indicates whether the change in UK students’ CLA performance was well above, above, near, below, or well below.