Collegiate Learning Assessment

What is the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA)?

  • The Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) is an innovative approach to assessing our institution’s contribution to student learning and the “value added” by our institution.
  • CLA measures are designed to simulate complex, ambiguous situations that every successful college graduate may face in the future. Life is not like a multiple choice test, with four or five simple choices for every problem; thus, students are asked to analyze complex material and provide written responses.
  • The CLA measures are uniquely designed to test for critical thinking, analytic reasoning, written communication, and problem solving, skills that most academicians agree should be the outcomes of a college education.
  • CLA study participants assessed their institution cross-sectionally, testing a sample of first-year students in the Fall (2005) and a sample of seniors in the Spring (2006).

CLA Results: How did our students score after taking into account their incoming academic profile?

** Students’ “expected” CLA score is based on two factors, namely: (a) their mean SAT score and (b) the school’s typical average SAT score and its average CLA score. **

 Morgan State University



Value Added

Expected CLA score




Actual CLA score




(actual minus expected)




Performance level


at expected

at expected

Implications of the 2005-2006 CLA Results:

  • Although freshmen performed below the expected level, seniors performed at the expected level.
  • The value added score was higher than expected for Morgan State University.
  • The longitudinal data will provide insight into the analysis of the cross-sectional data.

Although the 2005 cohort of freshmen performed below expected, when compared to seniors in the Spring of 2006, results demonstrate that the University is providing substantial contribution or overall “value added” to student learning outcomes.