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Sonoma State University Learning Outcomes

One of the primary instruments by which Sonoma State University measures student is the Collegiate Learning Assessment. The Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) is an open-ended assessment that provides a measure of an institution’s contribution to the development of critical thinking and writing skills of its students.

The CLA reports the results at the Institution level, rather than at the student level. The CLA allows schools to benchmark how much progress their students have made relative to the progress of similar students at other colleges, it is not designed to rank institutions, nor it is designed to rank students. The principal goal of the CLA is to assist faculty and administrators in improving teaching and learning.

 

 




Sonoma State University administered the CLA in 2013 - 2014.

Sonoma State University conducted a Value-added administration of the CLA in 2013 - 2014. The results are displayed below in the SLO Results tab.

For additional information on SSU’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?

The Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) is an open-ended assessment that provides a measure of an institution’s contribution to the development of critical thinking and writing skills of its students. The CLA allows schools to benchmark how much progress their students have made relative to the progress of similar students at other colleges. The principal goal of the CLA is to assist faculty and administrators in improving teaching and learning.

The CSU system has asked all campuses to participate in the CLA so that results are comparable across campuses.  

 


Which Sonoma State University students are assessed? When?

First time Freshman were assessed in the Fall of 2013, followed by Seniors in the Spring of 2014.


How are assessment data collected?

The CLA is an assessment tool designed to assess critical thinking, analytical reasoning, problem solving, & written communication skills.We administer the CLA in a proctored environment in a computer lab. 


How are data reported within Sonoma State University?

The Council for Aid in Education conducts the analysis and reporting of the data collected. The data are reported for all freshmen and all seniors who took the assessment together rather than for individual students. The institutional research department at Sonoma State reviews the report created by the Council and prepares a presentation for campus-wide audiences.


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

The assessment data generated in annual assessment activities conducted by faculty, staff, and relevant University constituencies are incorporated into regular program reviews that inform improvement plans. CLA results provide one picture in one comparison of freshmen with senior academic performance.

 


Of 1807 freshmen students eligible to be tested, 79 (4%) were included in the tested sample at Sonoma State University.


Of 2266 senior students eligible to be tested, 60 (3%) were included in the tested sample at Sonoma State 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 66% 73% 57% 75%
Male 34% 33% 42% 22%
Other or Unknown <1% <1% <1% 3%
Race/
Ethnicity
US Underrepresented Minority 45% 46% 26% 25%
White / Caucasian 50% 61% 29% 67%
International 3% <1% 2% <1%
Unknown 2% <1% 5% 8%
Low-income (Eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant) 36% 41% 41% 35%

Freshman are selected to voluntarily participate in the CLA from among Sonoma State's many Freshman Learning Cohorts, Seniors are selected from among Senior Capstone classes.

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.