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Find out more about the characteristics of students who attend NIU.
See how many students applied, accepted, and enrolled at NIU. Learn more about students’ high school preparation and test scores.
Learn about costs to attend NIU and how much financial aid is typically awarded.
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Learn more about professors, where students live, and campus safety at NIU.
Discover ways to be actively involved in your education at NIU – inside and outside the classroom.
See which majors are most popular at NIU and what recent graduates plan to do after earning their bachelor's degree.
Discover how many students who start at NIU finish their bachelor's degree and how long it takes.
Figure out what learning gains to expect in critical thinking, writing, and other important subjects at NIU.
All colleges and universities use multiple approaches to measure student learning. Many of these are specific to particular disciplines, many are coordinated with accrediting agencies, and many are based on outcomes after students have graduated.
Northern Illinois University conducted a Value-added administration of the CLA in 2011 - 2012. The results are displayed below in the SLO Results tab.
For additional information on NIU’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 above.
Northern Illinois University chose to administer the Collegiate Learning Assessment because it offers a standardized measure of students' critical thinking and writing abilities. The CLA presents real world problems that require students to analyze the credibility of information and synthesize it in a written response.
A targeted sample of 100 freshmen are assessed in the Fall semester and another sample of 100 seniors are assessed in the Spring semester.
The Office of Assessment Services administers the online assessment directly to students in NIU computer labs. Once students complete testing, their essays are electronically submitted to the Council for Aid to Education, an external vendor.
NIU uses an external vendor, the Council for Aid to Education, who scores, aggregates, and analyzes the student data. NIU receives a report with a detailed explanation of the scoring process along with performance scores for both the students and the institution as a whole. The Office of Assessment Services reviews the final report and disseminates the results to the campus community. Further, the Office of Assessment Services sends reports to the instructors, department chairs, and college offices regarding students in their class or program. Students also receive individual reports directly from the Council for Aid to Education.
All reports from the Council for Aid to Education show areas in which students can improve. Individual programs add this information to other data they collect regarding student learning outcomes. They submit annual update reports to the Office of Assessment Services outlining their use of data to improve student learning.
Of 2590 freshmen students eligible to be tested, 99 (4%) were included in the tested sample at Northern Illinois University .
Of 2564 senior students eligible to be tested, 63 (2%) were included in the tested sample at Northern Illinois 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.
|Eligible Students||Tested Students||Eligible Students||Tested Students|
|Other or Unknown||<1%||<1%||<1%||<1%|
|US Underrepresented Minority||49%||31%||26%||13%|
|White / Caucasian||47%||59%||65%||83%|
|Low-income (Eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant)||48%||44%||36%||32%|
|Area of Study||Sciences and Engineering||20%||15%||17%||13%|
|Humanities and Languages||11%||9%||18%||0%|
NIU used convenience sampling to recruit a total of 100 freshmen in the fall of 2011, and 160 seniors in the spring of 2012 to take the assessment. The freshmen student sample was solicited from UNIV 101 courses to participate in the assessment. Of the 100 freshmen who took the assessment, final results could only be calculated for 99 students due to missing information. Due to the size of the University, NIU is using a five-year rotating cycle to recruit seniors from all of its programs. The senior student sample was solicited from a selection of university courses which were determined by the college departments. Of the 160 seniors who took the assessment, final institutional results could only be calculated for 63 native NIU students. This low final sample size was due to a high number of transfer students.
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.
|Analytic Reasoning and Evaluation|
|Analytic Reasoning and Evaluation|