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First-year students sought to participate in Collegiate Learning Assessment

First-year students sought to participate in Collegiate Learning Assessment

Athens, Ga. – To coincide with implementation of the new General Education Curriculum this fall, the University of Georgia’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness is actively recruiting first-year students to participate in the Collegiate Learning Assessment in late September and early October. The CLA is being administered as part of a plan to assess student learning across the UGA curriculum.

“Regardless of major or career ambition, the ability to critique, analyze and communicate effectively is essential,” said Jere Morehead, vice president for instruction. “UGA recognized the importance of these skills by adopting the new, institution-wide General Education Abilities that students should develop across four years of Core Curriculum and major-level course work. The General Education Abilities include specific goals for written communication, oral communication, critical thinking and moral reasoning that are embedded in course content throughout the curriculum.”

The CLA is a 90-minute, national standardized test developed by the Council for Aid to Education and used by over 200 colleges and universities to measure critical thinking, analytic reasoning, problem-solving and written communication abilities. It was selected as a good match with UGA’s curricular goals by the General Education Subcommittee of the University Council’s Curriculum Committee, Morehead said.

The CLA is not a multiple choice test. Instead, student participants are asked to perform “real life” tasks such as preparing a memo or policy recommendation based on a series of documents that must be reviewed and evaluated, or developing a critique of an argument by analyzing the reasoning on which it is based.

The Office of Institutional Effectiveness is in the process of arranging for a sample of first-year students to take the test this fall, with plans for a sample of seniors to take the test during spring semester. The difference in scores between the two samples will be used as one measure of what students have learned during the course of four years of study at UGA.

This testing pattern will be repeated over the next four years to track student learning through the new General Education curriculum. The results will be used to evaluate and improve the curriculum, provide comparative data with peer universities, and help meet regional accreditation requirements.

“The benefits for students who take the test include a better understanding of where they stand on key attributes of academic and professional success in comparison to peers at UGA and across the country,” said Allan Aycock, director of assessment and accreditation in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness. “Students can also highlight scores and participation on résumés. Additionally, early registration appointments for spring classes will be available for participants.”
Interested first-year students should contact David Jordan at or Stephanie Hazel at to confirm participation.

For a more detailed look at the CLA and the Council for Aid to Education, see the CAE website at