Over a four-year study period, University of Lynchburg seniors performed 42 percent better than their peers at other four-year institutions in a Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) by the Council for Aid to Education.
That assessment, along with other tests of reading, speaking, and writing, aims to track the progress of students from freshmen to senior year. The data from all these tests will help University of Lynchburg adjust teaching methods as needed to ensure that four years of college boost its students’ knowledge and skills.
“University of Lynchburg is committed to holding itself accountable to its students,” said President Kenneth R. Garren. “All these testing efforts show that we are making a difference in our students’ academic progress, and we will continue to make improvements in our curriculum and teaching methods to ensure they are getting the best education available.”
In addition to the CLA, LC is also employing a national reading test on freshmen and seniors, as well as collecting freshmen papers to compare to senior papers in the capstone Senior Symposium program. Efforts to monitor and assess students in oral communication classes are also under way this fall.
The CLA assessment is a relatively new approach to measure academic progress during college. The CLA is designed to measure an institution’s contribution, or value added, to the development of a student’s ability to analyze complex materials, think critically, reason analytically, solve problems, and communicate clearly.
The questions are all open-ended problems for which the students must construct written responses. An example of an analytic writing task provided by the CLA follows. “In our time, specialists of all kinds are highly overrated. We need more generalists – people who can provide broad perspectives. In 45 minutes, agree or disagree and explain the reasons for your position.”
Scoring is based on how well students perform on the test compared with how well they would have been expected to perform based on their SAT scores as incoming freshmen. Both freshmen and seniors are tested to determine what the value added to their education is during their college years.
University of Lynchburg is among more than 400 colleges and universities that are measuring student success through this testing process. More than 180,000 college students have participated in at least some testing to date.
LC is one of only four schools in Virginia that have publicly stated they are using this tool. The other Virginia schools are Averett University, Emory and Henry College, and Southern Virginia University.
For more information, contact Dr. Tim Laurent, associate dean for academic affairs, at 434.544.8695.