College-wide assessment by source of evidence
The Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA)
About the CLA
The Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA), developed by the Council for Aid to Education (CAE), provides direct evidence of the impact of college on students' ability to think critically, interpret and apply data appropriately, and write effectively. Students complete either a Performance Task, in which they use evidence from a library of hypothetical documents to develop a solution to a problem scenario, or an Analytic Writing Task, in which they are asked both to make an argument and to critique an argument in response to a variety of writing prompts.
CLA results and reports
Students’ CLA essays are scored by the CAE using criteria similar to those used by faculty in evaluating student writing assignments. The results show how St. Olaf students’ proficiencies in critical thinking, interpretation of evidence, and writing improve during college. They also show how the proficiencies of St. Olaf students compare to those of their peers at other institutions. Results have been used to review of the college's general education requirements, to secure grant funding for improving curriculum and pedagogy, to inform the development of the college's 2011 strategic plan, and to assist in the development and evaluation of the college's Quality Improvement initiative for HLC re-accreditation in 2012-2013.