Earlham College Institutional Research
Earlham College




Collegiate Learning Assessment

Developed by the Council for Aid to Education with the RAND Corporation, CLA is a new approach to measuring student learning.  A representative sample of students is used for the assessment process – 100 freshmen in the fall term and 100 seniors in the spring term.  Results are aggregated to focus on how an institution as a whole has contributed toward student learning.  By comparing students’ abilities when they first come to college with student ability after four years, the CLA measures value added.  The skills assessed are critical thinking, analytical reasoning, written communication and problem solving.  During testing, students are required to use these skills together to respond to performance tasks.  The enhancement of these abilities should be the result of the entire college experience, and not just a few required courses.   

Earlham chose to participate in this assessment project in 2005-2006 as part of a Teagle Foundation grant aimed at strengthening teaching and learning.  

There are no multiple-choice questions on the CLA; it requires the completion of tasks using written responses to open-ended questions. The CLA results are in terms of whether Earlham’s students are doing better, worse or about the same as would be expected based on students’ entering skills as demonstrated in SAT and ACT scores.  Scores of similar students at other colleges are also taken into consideration.  Also, the performance of students at the beginning and end of their college career is contrasted.  

Based on the average SAT scores of the Earlham freshmen and seniors sampled, the freshmen-to-senior performance was considered ABOVE what would be expected at an institution with students of similar academic abilities.

Mean scores for freshmen and seniors at Earlham and at all schools

 
Freshmen
Seniors
 
Earlham
All schools
Earlham
All schools
Performance Task
1120
1069
1224
1170
Analytic Writing Task
1079
1116
1313
1263

Make-an-Argument

1051
1109
1291
1252

Critique-an-Argument

1083
1107
1319
1266
Total score
1105
1094
1269
1207
SAT score
1199
1074
1190
1100

 

Earlham results in more detail

CLA in more detail



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This page last updated: November 2, 2007