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Fort Hays State University College Portrait

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Fort Hays State University Learning Outcomes

Assessment of student learning at FHSU is best characterized by the participation in the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA).  The CLA is an intensive written evaluation which utilizes direct open-ended measures of cognitive skills that students are required to perform as a function of   becoming “liberally educated”. The CLA is administered in two forms: Performance Task (90 minutes) or the Analytic Writing Task (45 minutes). Students are randomly split into the two tasks. Student performance is adjusted for entering academic ability through application of students’ ACT or SAT scores or through a proprietary academic ability assessment administered by the CLA.

Student participation is voluntary. Freshman participants are generally provided through accessing ENG 101 classes. Freshmen take the CLA in the fall semester. Senior students are typically recruited through an appeal to departments for capstone enrollees. Senior students take the CLA in the spring semester. CLA estimates that 100 freshman and 100 senior students are an appropriate sample for most institutions. The CLA is administered in a secure online laboratory environment, and results are scored by the CLA. Aggregated results are sent to institutions and all participants receive individual results. FHSU disaggregates the institutional report by department major code, and distributes that report annually to departments which have CLA participants. Several departments use CLA results as a direct indicator of student learning in their Department Annual Report.




Fort Hays State University administered the CLA in 2012 - 2015.

Fort Hays State University conducted a Value-added administration of the CLA in 2012 - 2015. The results are displayed below in the SLO Results tab.

For additional information on FHSU’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 CLA is a nationally recognized assessment of freshmen and senior students wirting and critical thinking abilities. 


Which Fort Hays State University students are assessed? When?

Fort Hays State University samples over 100 freshmen students completing our ENG 101 class.  The Unversity also samples senior students generally completing capstone courses with their major.  All students sampled are selected based on their ability to take the assessment on-campus.


How are assessment data collected?

Fort Hays State University complies with all required administration guidelines prescribed by the CLA.


How are data reported within Fort Hays State University?

Fort Hays State University reviews the CLA data for long-term trends in student performance.  All data is aggregated but individual programs are provided data on how their graduates performed on the CLA so they might use the results to better inform curriculum and pedagogy improvements.


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

Fort Hays State University distributes the aggregated CLA results to a wide variety of campus stakeholders to facilitate broad understanding of how our freshmen and senior students perform relative to national peer averages.  These results help individual programs make improvements to their curriculum and pedagogy.


Of 975 freshmen students eligible to be tested, 61 (6%) were included in the tested sample at Fort Hays State University.


Of 1344 senior students eligible to be tested, 80 (6%) were included in the tested sample at Fort Hays 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 56% 66% 54% 60%
Male 44% 33% 46% 39%
Other or Unknown <1% 2% <1% 1%
Race/
Ethnicity
US Underrepresented Minority 4% <1% 2% <1%
White / Caucasian 82% 82% 81% 93%
International <1% <1% 9% <1%
Unknown 1% 3% 1% <1%
Low-income (Eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant) 55% 59% 58% 57%

Generally, the University considers those participants involved in the CLA to be representative of the freshman and senior 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.

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