, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 230-235
Date: 13 Apr 2013

Stakeholder and Public Responses to Measuring Student Learning

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In the fall of 2005, the Council for Aid to Education (CAE) began an ambitious attempt to measure school-level differences in longitudinal growth in generic collegiate competencies. The CAE had worked with psychometricians at the Rand Corporation and Stanford University to develop a measure – the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) – that relied not on a multiple choice exam, but instead on a performance task that would challenge students to read a set of documents, think critically and synthesize the information to produce a written response to a specific task that a future employer might assign. While not as precise an instrument as multiple choice assessments currently in use that measure similar competencies, the CLA assessment that was given to students arguably was more closely aligned with the type of generic learning that college educators have long professed to aim to produce.

The CLA includes three components: a performance task as well as make an argument and break an argume