Purpose of the CLA+
Students today can no longer rely solely on mastery of discipline-based information. They need to be able to analyze and evaluate information, solve problems, and communicate effectively. Beyond just accumulating facts, they must be able to access, structure, and use information.
What is the CLA+?
Pioneered by the Council for Aid to Education (CAE), the CLA+ is a performance-based assessment that measures critical thinking, problem solving, scientific and quantitative reasoning, writing, and the ability to critique and make arguments.
Students are presented with an engaging, real-world scenario and a set of accompanying documents, and are asked to either: choose among possible actions to address a problem; determine the most likely cause of a problem; or classify items based on their important features. The set of accompanying documents, or "Document Library," can include a range of different sources such as newspaper articles, blog posts, research abstracts, correspondence, or debate transcripts.The linked CLA Student Guide provides sample questions.
Why should students participate in the CLA+?
The CLA+ helps potential employers understand more about you. The results of the CLA+ are easy for employers to digest and understand. Hiring companies are looking for communication skills, critical thinking, and the ability to solve problems. Your CLA+ scores will tell them that you possess those skills, and will be an excellent hire. CLA+ relies on prompts that require students to perform and stresses the need for students to be able to exhibit the skills to succeed.
The CLA+ offers the CLA+ Career Connect. The CLA+ Career Connect is a set of services that allow students to use their proficiency on the CLA in their job search. Students who score well will have a digital badge or certification that can be shown to potential employers. Employers have shown great interest in identifying candidates with proven abilities in critical thinking and written communication. Doing well on the CLA+ can help you get a better job offer!
Beginning Fall 2014, graduating seniors are required to take a Graduating Senior Assessment. This assessment measures your proficiency in FSU's core learning outcomes Critical Thinking and Communication Skills as you prepare to leave the university.
How does Fayetteville State University use the CLA+?
FSU uses the CLA+ to assess how well our programs help students develop the skills and knowledge that make up our core learning outcomes: Critical Thinking, Communication Skills, Quantitative Reasoning, and Scientific Literacy. FSU wants to ensure that students graduate with the tools they need to be informed professionals and citizens. By giving the CLA+ to a sample of freshmen in the fall and seniors in the spring, we can measure how much students improve during their undergraduate career. We use that information to improve our programs and to serve students better.
When can students take the CLA+?
The last scheduled testing date was April 11. To take the CLA April 13-17, contact University Testing (910-672-1301) to take the CLA M-F 8:00-5:00. Evening hours are available by appointment.