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St. Cloud State University College Portrait

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St. Cloud State University Learning Outcomes

St Cloud State University defines assessment asthe systematic collection of evidence about student learning in order to improve that learning.

Assessment occurs on many levels, such as the individual or student level, the course level, the program level, and the institutional level. St. Cloud State University is committed to assessment at all levels.

There is a university-level office of Assessment that is part of Academic Affairs.

It provides information, workshops, consulting services, and small grants to assist programs in their efforts to meet the learning goals they have set for their students. Coordination is accomplished largely through the Assessment Steering Committee, which includes representatives from units across campus. Coordination and support also is provided by college- and unit-level assessment committees. The office also conducts campus-wide workshops on various assessment topics, hosts luncheons to connect the broader campus assessment community and draw others into the process, and provides support for program assessment via internally trained assessment consultants.

Besides assisting programs in their efforts to improve student learning, the Assessment Office provides information that is used at the institutional level. The annual SCSU assessment report includes summary information on the extent to which programs are engaged in assessment activities, as well as, the extent to which they use assessment findings to improve student learning. This summary information can be used to track improvement at the institutional level, which, in turn supports the SCSU accreditation process.




St. Cloud State University administered the CLA in 2012.

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

For additional information on St Cloud State’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 national learning assessment program designed to measure critical thinking, analytic reasoning, problem solving and written communication abilities.  It does not test specific kinds of knowledge, but assesses general skills using realistic tasks.  

Performance on the CLA helps St. Cloud State University gauge its performance in helping all our students develop these skills. It gives us a unique and important perspective on how to improve SCSU programs and services that will help us focus resources on what works, both now and in the future.

 

Students have found the performance measures to be realistic, engaging and a fair test of skills vitally important to students. 

This assessment is for research and academic improvement purposes only.  It is a way to determine how to improve our curriculum and programs to help our students gain the most from their experience.


Which St. Cloud State University students are assessed? When?

SCSU tests a sample of new entering  freshmen during the fall semester and existing students (seniors) during the spring semester.


How are assessment data collected?

Students take one Performance Task or a combination of one Make-an Argument takk and one Critique-an-Argument task. 


How are data reported within St. Cloud State University?

The results of the testing reflect the performance of students at St Cloud State University compared to the average achievement of students at similar institutions across the country.  This type of value-added modeling allows schools to demonstrate educational efficacy.


How are assessment data at St Cloud State used to guide program improvements?

Students have found the performance measures to be realistic, engaging and a fair test of skills vitally important to students. 

This assessment is for research and academic improvement purposes only.  It is a way to determine how to improve our curriculum and programs to help our students gain the most from their experience


Of 1972 freshmen students eligible to be tested, 75 (4%) were included in the tested sample at St. Cloud State University.


Of 3960 senior students eligible to be tested, 102 (3%) were included in the tested sample at St. Cloud 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 52% 71% 52% 62%
Male 48% 29% 48% 38%
Other or Unknown <1% <1% <1% <1%
Race/
Ethnicity
US Underrepresented Minority <1% <1% <1% <1%
White / Caucasian 80% 67% 81% 88%
International 5% 5% 6% 2%
Unknown 15% 28% 13% 10%
Low-income (Eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant) <1% <1% <1% <1%

Our tested students are randomly selected but are also representative of the demographic population here at SCSU.

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 above what would be expected at an institution testing students of similar academic abilities.

The increase in learning on the analytic writing task is above 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