Collegiate Learning Assessment

Fayetteville State University assesses mastery of core learning outcomes in a variety of ways to ensure that our graduates are prepared to succeed in their chosen career. The Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA+) provides a standardized assessment that complements course-based evaluation of student progress.

CLA+ testing for Spring and Summer 2019 has ended

CLA testing for spring and summer 2019 has ended. Because of changes to the testing requirement this semester, seniors graduating in spring or summer 2019 who did not take the CLA will not be prevented from graduating. All seniors who complete other graduation requirements will graduate.

What is 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.

Pioneered by the Council for Aid to Education (CAE), the CLA+ (also known just as 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+?

Some students are required to take the CLA.

  • Entering freshmen must take it to satisfy the Entering Freshman Assessment requirement. Early College students are exempt.
  • Rising juniors (students who entered as first-time freshmen and who have earned 40-59 credit hours) take the CLA+ to assess their mastery of core learning outcomes after taking Core Curriculum classes. Education majors are exempt, because they take the PRAXIS exam. Pre-Nursing majors are exempt IF they take the Kaplan Nursing Entrance Exam.
  • All students in capstone courses are required to take the CLA to satisfy the Graduating Senior Assessment requirement, unless they have already taken it as a junior or senior. Education majors are exempt, because they take PRAXIS. Generic Nursing majors are exempt, because they take the NCLEX. RN-to-BSN students must take the CLA. For a list of senior capstone courses, see below. And any seniors graduating in Spring or Summer 2019 who are not currently enrolled in a capstone course and who have not already taken the CLA as a senior are also exempt.

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.

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!

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.

How do students register for the CLA+?

Freshmen take the CLA as part of Freshman Seminar. Rising juniors will receive notification via e-mail. Students in capstone courses required to take the CLA will receive information from their instructor.

How do students get more information?

The linked CLA FAQ page summarizes informaton for the current semester. Freshmen and students in capstone courses can get more information from their instructors. Rising juniors can contact University College office at 910-672-1060 or

When can students take the CLA+?

For Spring 2019, the CLA+ will be offered on campus on the dates and times below. 

Students in online sections of capstone courses can take the CLA online via remote proctoring. Click here for more information on taking the CLA online.

CLA Dates
  • Tuesday, February 26, 2:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, February 27, 3:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, February 28, 2:00 p.m.
  • Monday, March 25, 3:00 p.m.
  • Monday, March 25, 5:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 26, 2:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 27, 3:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 28, 2:00 p.m.
  • Friday, March 29, 3:00 p.m.

All on-campus testing will be held in CBE 214.

Capstone Courses
  • ART-400, Art Thesis
  • BIOL-499, Senior Capstone Experience
  • CHEM-499, Chemistry Capstone
  • COMM-490, Communication Research
  • CRJC-450, Seminar in Criminal Justice
  • CSC-490, Senior Project
  • ENGL-470, Senior Capstone Course
  • FORS-460, Capstone
  • GEOG-480, Seminar in Geography
  • HIST-490, Sr. Seminar: Selected Topics
  • INTL-480, Senior Seminar
  • MGMT-470, Strategic Management
  • MUSI-499, Senior Recital
  • NURS-480, Senior Practicum
  • POLI-312, Public Leadership & Mgmt
  • POLI-460, History of Political Theory II
  • POLI-471, Research Seminar
  • POLI-480, Senior Seminar
  • POLI-481, Senior Seminar
  • POLI-490, Advanced Reading and Research
  • PSYC-400, History & Systems of Psychology
  • PSYC-460, Senior Seminar
  • SOCI-480, Sociological Seminar
  • SPAN-481, Senior Seminar
  • STAT-302, Mathematical Statistics
  • SWRK-475, Integrative Seminar
  • THEA-450, Senior Seminar