Skip repetitive navigational links
View: Next message | Previous More Hitsmessage
Next in topic | Previous More Hitsin topic
Next by same author | Previous More Hitsby same author
Previous page (November 2008, 2) | Back to main LRNASST-L page
Join or leave LRNASST-L (or change settings)
Reply | Post a new message
Search
Log in
Options:   Chronologically | Most recent first
Proportional font | Non-proportional font

Subject:

Assessing a Hot Assessment Tool

From:

Dan Kern <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Mon, 10 Nov 2008 07:49:19 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (159 lines)

Nov. 10, 2008


Assessing a Hot Assessment Tool


The Collegiate <http://www.cae.org/content/pro_collegiate.htm>  Learning
Assessment may be passing the largest test to date of whether it can measure
growth in student learning. But the study of the CLA also found that many
minority students and those who are not well prepared for college show
smaller gains on the CLA - potentially reinforcing the concerns some have
about how the test may be used.

The CLA has emerged in the last year or two as a key response for colleges
facing demands that they demonstrate the "learning outcomes" and "value
added" that take place on their campuses. Students who take the CLA are
asked to complete a series of exercises to measure critical thinking,
analytic thinking and written communication. The test is offered to small,
representative groups of students as freshmen and to other groups later in
their college careers, in an attempt to measure growth in learning.

The theory behind CLA and similar assessment tools is that colleges need to
get away from measuring their excellence only by "input" measures (students'
incoming SAT scores, for example) or prestige and pay more attention to what
actually takes place during college. So the CLA might find that Harvard
University students have great skills upon arrival, but don't grow much,
while students at other colleges see much more learning. When the Voluntary
System of Accountability was announced a year ago by two groups of public
universities, the CLA was designated as one of the tests that could be used
to measure student learning in a comparable way.

That of course begs the question of whether the CLA can measure growth in
student learning, and the new research
<http://programs.ssrc.org/ki/pathwaystocollege/CLA_Report.pdf>  released
Saturday suggests that it can. The study was based on tracking 2,300
students at 24 four-year colleges and universities, which were not named but
included a broad range of institutions by standards of mission,
competitiveness and demographics. The analysis was conducted by the Social
Science Research Council. While the Council for Aid to Education, which runs
the CLA, cooperated with the project, the council had no control over the
study or release of its findings. For the students tracked, CLA scores and
transcripts were analyzed at the beginning of the freshman year and at the
end of the sophomore year. Additional studies are now planned as the
students are tracked through the rest of their college careers and, perhaps,
beyond.

Here are some of the findings to date:

*	Changes in learning can be measured and tracked, even when various
educational and socioeconomic factors are weighted, to document that
learning takes place at different rates at different institutions. That
significant variation can be tracked among institutions is key, as without
such variation, the underlying "value added" premise of the CLA and other
tests wouldn't be valid. 
*	When students perceive high expectations from faculty members, there
is more growth on the CLA. 
*	Students who concentrate their college coursework in traditional
liberal arts fields such as mathematics, science, social sciences and
humanities show greater gains in reasoning and communication skills than do
students in education, human services or business. 
*	Students who arrive in college with better preparation (as measured
by high school grades and Advanced Placement scores) show greater gains than
do other students. 
*	Non-white students - including Asian students - show lower CLA
scores upon arrival in college. Except for Latino students, non-white
students show smaller gains on the CLA than do white students in the period
of time studied (the first half of a college career). 

Richard Arun, a professor of sociology and education at New York University
and program director for education at the Social Science Research Council,
said that the study was significant for "moving basic social science
research, where you can look at value added, from K-12 education to higher
education." Although this approach has become common in elementary and
secondary schools, it is "overdue" in higher education and this research
suggests that it can be done.

Similarly, Roger Benjamin, president of the Council for Aid to Education,
said that this research helps "to push this new testing paradigm, which gets
us beyond the multiple choice test and speaks to actual cognitive outcomes."

Some educators have worried that the CLA and similar tests would end up -
like traditional measures of educational excellence - saying that flagship
universities or elite liberal colleges do a better job than institutions
that admit and work with students who have not been well prepared. The new
research could well add to such fears as it finds the greatest gains at
institutions with a well prepared student body in a traditional curriculum.

"That reality does give me concern," said Benjamin. But he added that the
CLA also demonstrated that colleges do not perform equally well at reaching
minority students or students without a solid high school education.
Institutions that serve such students benefit "if we really identify and
describe the obstacles" and then focus on why some colleges perform better,
he said.

The purpose of CLA is "to understand how a school understands where it
stacks up, so that then they can improve skills in the classroom." The idea
isn't to reduce colleges and their work to a number, he said.

Of course the concern of colleges and some testing critics is that however
sophisticated an analysis the CLA's creators envision, many politicians will
look for a number, and may not credit the college making arduous but
important gains with disadvantaged students.

Robert Schaeffer, public education director of the National Center for Fair
and Open Testing, said that his group's concerns about "value added" tests
like the CLA "are less with the quality of those instruments than in how
some proponents want the results to be used. Any attempt to impose
one-size-fits-none measures on colleges and universities is sure to create
even more problems than No Child Left Behind did in K-12 education."

- Scott Jaschik <mailto:[log in to unmask]> 

The original story and user comments can be viewed online at
http://insidehighered.com/news/2008/11/10/cla
<http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/11/10/cla> .

C Copyright 2008 Inside Higher Ed

So far:


Comments


Did we read the same report???


"That of course begs the question of whether the CLA can measure growth in
student learning, and the new research released Saturday suggests that it
can."

I read through the linked document, and there is nothing which documents the
fundamental integrity of CLA as an assessment. At least in the PDF referred
to in the file, there is a blithe assumption that CLA measures learning, and
then a bunch of tables associating CLA measures with various socioeconomic
indicators. Reads like a circular argument to me: "See here - we use this
measure to make associations between the measure and common social-science
variables. That proves that the measure is meaningful!" No, it doesn't.

Sherman <http://www.shermandorn.com/>  Dorn, Professor at University of
South Florida, at 7:05 am EST on November 10, 2008

The inherent problem with CLA is simple. Learning occurs at the student
level, not institutional. Asking a handful of students to take a test, then
calculating an institution-level score borders on meaningless. The
within-institution variation (as pointed out in the other article) is far
greater than between institution variance.

Charles, at 8:15 am EST on November 10, 2008

 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To access the LRNASST-L archives or User Guide, or to change your
subscription options (including subscribe/unsubscribe), point your web browser to
http://www.lists.ufl.edu/archives/lrnasst-l.html

To contact the LRNASST-L owner, email [log in to unmask]

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011, Week 3
January 2011, Week 2
January 2011, Week 1
January 2011
December 2010, Week 5
December 2010, Week 4
December 2010, Week 3
December 2010, Week 2
December 2010, Week 1
November 2010, Week 5
November 2010, Week 4
November 2010, Week 3
November 2010, Week 2
November 2010, Week 1
October 2010, Week 5
October 2010, Week 4
October 2010, Week 3
October 2010, Week 2
October 2010, Week 1
September 2010, Week 5
September 2010, Week 4
September 2010, Week 3
September 2010, Week 2
September 2010, Week 1
August 2010, Week 5
August 2010, Week 4
August 2010, Week 3
August 2010, Week 2
August 2010, Week 1
July 2010, Week 5
July 2010, Week 4
July 2010, Week 3
July 2010, Week 2
July 2010, Week 1
June 2010, Week 5
June 2010, Week 4
June 2010, Week 3
June 2010, Week 2
June 2010, Week 1
May 2010, Week 4
May 2010, Week 3
May 2010, Week 2
May 2010, Week 1
April 2010, Week 5
April 2010, Week 4
April 2010, Week 3
April 2010, Week 2
April 2010, Week 1
March 2010, Week 5
March 2010, Week 4
March 2010, Week 3
March 2010, Week 2
March 2010, Week 1
February 2010, Week 4
February 2010, Week 3
February 2010, Week 2
February 2010, Week 1
January 2010, Week 5
January 2010, Week 4
January 2010, Week 3
January 2010, Week 2
January 2010, Week 1
December 2009, Week 5
December 2009, Week 4
December 2009, Week 3
December 2009, Week 2
December 2009, Week 1
November 2009, Week 5
November 2009, Week 4
November 2009, Week 3
November 2009, Week 2
November 2009, Week 1
October 2009, Week 5
October 2009, Week 4
October 2009, Week 3
October 2009, Week 2
October 2009, Week 1
September 2009, Week 5
September 2009, Week 4
September 2009, Week 3
September 2009, Week 2
September 2009, Week 1
August 2009, Week 5
August 2009, Week 4
August 2009, Week 3
August 2009, Week 2
August 2009, Week 1
July 2009, Week 5
July 2009, Week 4
July 2009, Week 3
July 2009, Week 2
July 2009, Week 1
June 2009, Week 5
June 2009, Week 4
June 2009, Week 3
June 2009, Week 2
June 2009, Week 1
May 2009, Week 5
May 2009, Week 4
May 2009, Week 3
May 2009, Week 2
May 2009, Week 1
April 2009, Week 5
April 2009, Week 4
April 2009, Week 3
April 2009, Week 2
April 2009, Week 1
March 2009, Week 5
March 2009, Week 4
March 2009, Week 3
March 2009, Week 2
March 2009, Week 1
February 2009, Week 4
February 2009, Week 3
February 2009, Week 2
February 2009, Week 1
January 2009, Week 5
January 2009, Week 4
January 2009, Week 3
January 2009, Week 2
January 2009, Week 1
December 2008, Week 5
December 2008, Week 4
December 2008, Week 3
December 2008, Week 2
December 2008, Week 1
November 2008, Week 5
November 2008, Week 4
November 2008, Week 3
November 2008, Week 2
November 2008, Week 1
October 2008, Week 5
October 2008, Week 4
October 2008, Week 3
October 2008, Week 2
October 2008, Week 1
September 2008, Week 5
September 2008, Week 4
September 2008, Week 3
September 2008, Week 2
September 2008, Week 1
August 2008, Week 5
August 2008, Week 4
August 2008, Week 3
August 2008, Week 2
August 2008, Week 1
July 2008, Week 5
July 2008, Week 4
July 2008, Week 3
July 2008, Week 2
July 2008, Week 1
June 2008, Week 5
June 2008, Week 4
June 2008, Week 3
June 2008, Week 2
June 2008, Week 1
May 2008, Week 5
May 2008, Week 4
May 2008, Week 3
May 2008, Week 2
May 2008, Week 1
April 2008, Week 5
April 2008, Week 4
April 2008, Week 3
April 2008, Week 2
April 2008, Week 1
March 2008, Week 5
March 2008, Week 4
March 2008, Week 3
March 2008, Week 2
March 2008, Week 1
February 2008, Week 5
February 2008, Week 4
February 2008, Week 3
February 2008, Week 2
February 2008, Week 1
January 2008, Week 5
January 2008, Week 4
January 2008, Week 3
January 2008, Week 2
January 2008, Week 1
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999
June 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
December 1998
November 1998
October 1998
September 1998
August 1998
July 1998
June 1998
May 1998
April 1998
March 1998
February 1998
January 1998
December 1997
November 1997
October 1997
September 1997
August 1997
July 1997
June 1997
May 1997
April 1997
March 1997
February 1997
January 1997
December 1996
November 1996
October 1996
September 1996
August 1996
July 1996
June 1996
May 1996
April 1996
March 1996
February 1996
January 1996
December 1995
November 1995
October 1995
September 1995
August 1995
July 1995
June 1995
May 1995
April 1995
March 1995
February 1995
January 1995

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



LISTS.UFL.EDU

CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager