What is the CLA+

The CLA+ or Collegiate Learning Assessment (plus) is a new assessment geared toward graduating bachelor degree students. It was developed by the Council for Aid to Education (or CAE). It was made as a pre/post examination to be given to students before they started college and after they finished.

The test boasts over 700 institutions are already using the test. Furthermore many people like Bill Gates and journalistic sources like the Washington Post have written at length about the instrument as a means of testing for the basic necessary skills for anyone no matter the field.

Subjects on the test are fairly generic and include critical-thinking and written-communication. It is designed to assess what a student of any discipline will need no matter their study. In that way it is much less restricted like the LSAT, MCAT, or GRE.

Some argue that the rubric used for the test offers too much variance in the grading. Additionally it has the possibility to be opinionated in the answers and grading so it has more error than say a straight forward T/F test. Combine this issue with the high per student cost of approximately $35.00 per exam and it makes it a little of the reach of smaller colleges like USAO.

Many in the media have herald the new test as unnecessary for colleges. Most citing that colleges already test students so often that this seems like an extra test just heaped on top. Others have draw different conclusions—because the test isn’t biased by your school’s reputation, age, costs, or difficulty to gain entrance it favors students from programs that focused on liberal studies over more singular vision programs (but that is a thought for another day).

In conclusion, CLA+ is a possibility for higher education institutions looking for an exit exam or precollege assessment. For employers it offers a standardized and normalized score to look at besides a student’s pedigree. Lastly for students it creates another test to think about.

Below are some additional resources;

Official Website: http://cae.org/performance-assessment/category/cla-overview/

Con: http://www.assessmentupdate.com/sample-articles/a-fatal-flaw-in-the-collegiate-learning-assessment-test.aspx

Pro: http://www.straighterline.com/blog/looking-for-a-job-the-cla-will-give-you-an-edge/

Bill Gates quote: http://www.thegatesnotes.com/books/education/academically-adrift

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