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Auburn University College Portrait

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Auburn University Learning Outcomes

Auburn University's commitment to excellence in teaching and learning has long been reflected in the University's diverse course offerings and varied instructional approaches. Today Auburn also enjoys a reputation for data-driven assessment that adds value to learning. Faculty seek to improve results by studying what really works in each degree program, and student learning is a frequent topic at public meetings of the Board of Trustees. Auburn also demonstrates its commitment to student learning means such as academic program review, professional licensure and accreditation, and strategic attention to retention, graduation, job placement, and graduate school aptitude and admission.

Auburn uses the Collegiate Learning Assessment as one means of measuring what students are learning. Representative students are tested as they begin college and as they are ready to graduate. Data reported here are for the 2009-2013 longitudinal study. The results below in the Results tab display the distribution of students' performance in the subscore categories of Analytic Reasoning and Evaluation, Writing Effectiveness, Writing Mechanics, and Problem Solving. These subscore categories were introduced in fall 2011, and so are only reported for the graduating seniors in 2013.

 



Auburn University administered the CLA in 2009 - 2013.

Auburn University conducted a Value-added administration of the CLA in 2009 - 2013. The results are displayed below in the SLO Results tab.

For additional information on AU’s process for administering CLA, please click on the Assessment Process Tab below. For information on the students included in the administration, please click the Students Tested Tab.

Why did you choose the CLA for your institutional assessment?

Auburn University chose to participate in the Collegiate Learning Assessment in order to be able to demonstrate success and guide improvement by comparing the learning of Auburn students with the learning of students enrolled at other colleges.


Which Auburn University students are assessed? When?

Randomly selected students from the freshman cohort complete the Collegiate Learning Assessment at three points in their Auburn University careers–as new freshmen, as rising juniors, and as graduating seniors.


How are assessment data collected?

The Collegiate Learning Assessment is administered under standardized conditions in a secure computer testing laboratory.


How are data reported within Auburn University?

Data from each Collegiate Learning Assessment cycle are aggregated over the four years of the study. The focus of our analysis is institutional performance, not individual students. Results are analyzed to reveal patterns of change and development in key skills and intellectual attributes. Faculty review the these patterns in order to see how well the curriculum is working, and results are periodically shared with the Board of Trustees and the public.


How are assessment data at AU used to guide program improvements?

At Auburn University, results from the Collegiate Learning Assessment have helped to guide campus-wide program improvements such as the launching of a Writing Initiative and the development of a professional ePortfolio project.


Of 3831 freshmen students eligible to be tested, 110 (3%) were included in the tested sample at Auburn University.


Of 3831 senior students eligible to be tested, 110 (3%) were included in the tested sample at Auburn University.


Probability sampling, where a small randomly selected sample of a larger population can be used to estimate the learning gains in the entire population with statistical confidence, provides the foundation for campus-level student learning outcomes assessment at many institutions. It's important, however, to review the demographics of the tested sample of students to ensure that the proportion of students within a given group in the tested sample is close to the proportion of students in that group in the total population. Differences in proportions don't mean the results aren't valid, but they do mean that institutions need to use caution in interpreting the results for the groups that are under-represented in the tested sample.

Undergraduate Student Demographic Breakdown

  Freshmen Seniors
Eligible Students Tested Students Eligible Students Tested Students
Gender Female 52% 56% 52% 56%
Male 48% 44% 48% 44%
Other or Unknown <1% <1% <1% <1%
Race/
Ethnicity
US Underrepresented Minority 12% 16% 12% 16%
White / Caucasian 86% 81% 86% 81%
International <1% <1% <1% <1%
Unknown 1% 3% 1% 3%
Low-income (Eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant) 11% 14% 11% 14%

Over repeated administrations of the Collegiate Learning Assessment at Auburn University, a principle of random selection has been observed, making the results of this assessment broadly representative of the institution.

The VSA advises institutions to follow assessment publisher guidelines for determining the appropriate number of students to test. In the absence of publisher guidelines, the VSA provides sample size guidelines for institutions based on a 95% confidence interval and 5% margin of error. So long as the tested sample demographics represent the student body, this means we can be 95% certain that the "true" population learning outcomes are with +/- 5% of the reported results. For more information on Sampling, please refer to the Research Methods Knowledge Base

The increase in learning on the performance task is at or near what would be expected at an institution testing students of similar academic abilities.

The increase in learning on the analytic writing task is at or near what would be expected at an institution testing students of similar academic abilities.

Seniors Detail

The charts below show the proportion of tested seniors who scored at each level of the nine subscales that make up the CLA. The subscale scores range from 1 to 6 with 6 representing a higher or better score. Due to rounding, subscores may not total 100%.


Performance Task Make-an-Argument Critique-an-Argument
Analytic Reasoning and Evaluation
Writing Effectiveness
Writing Mechanics
Problem Solving

Freshmen Detail

The charts below show the proportion of tested freshmen who scored at each level of the nine subscales that make up the CLA. The subscale scores range from 1 to 6 with 6 representing a higher or better score. Due to rounding, subscores may not total 100%.


Performance Task Make-an-Argument Critique-an-Argument
Analytic Reasoning and Evaluation
Writing Effectiveness
Writing Mechanics
Problem Solving