The Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA)
About the CLA Instrument
The Collegiate Learning Assessment is an open-ended and holistic approach to assessing students' thinking and writing abilities. It is typically administered to a randomly-selected group of fall semester first-years and a randomly-selected group of spring-semester seniors. Students' written responses to problem scenarios or writing prompts are scored and aggregated to provide institutional-level information about student learning and development.
Sample CLA tasks
Students typically complete either a Performance Task or an Analytic Writing Task. In the Performance Task, students are asked to prepare and defend a recommended solution to a hypothetical problem scenario after evaluating a set of hypothetical documents for their credibility and relevance. In the Analytic Writing Task, students are asked both to make an argument, and to critique an argument, in response to a variety of writing prompts.
CLA Scoring Criteria
Students’ CLA essays are evaluated by the Council for Aid to Education, using criteria for critical thinking, effective writing, and problem-solving that faculty typically use to evaluate student work in course assignments.
How CLA results can improve teaching and learning: A CAE brief
The Council for Aid to Education designed the CLA to promote the continuous improvement of curricula, pedagogy, admissions, certification, and retention within an institution.