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Fayetteville State University Learning Outcomes

FSU has a well-developed culture of assessment.  The general education and major programs all have student learning outcomes and assessment plans to measure student mastery of the learning outcomes.  These assessment plans are part of every academic department’s yearly operational plan. 

In addition to course-based, embedded assessments, FSU also uses the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) as an institutional assessment of critical thinking and written communication skills for entering freshmen and graduating seniors. 

Finally, FSU uses campus-developed versions of CLA-like instruments to assess freshmen not in the entering CLA sample, all rising juniors who began as first-time freshmen, and a sample of seniors.

Campus-based versions of the CLA were developed as part of a larger project to infuse critical thinking into the curriculum by helping faculty develop teaching and learning activities based on the CLA. This project began with the CLA-in-the-Classroom initiative created in 2008 by the Council for Aid to Education (CAE), the creators of the CLA. Since that time, FSU faculty have been trained in developing CLA-like assessments for use in their own classes.  Many of these assessments have become part of the core assessment plans for the general education courses in which they are deployed.  In this way, embedded and external assessment reinforce each other.

This reinforcement continues in the upper-division at FSU through its Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) on Making Evidence-Based Decisions.  The QEP was developed as part of FSU’s accreditation review in 2011 for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).  The goal of the QEP is to enhance the critical thinking and communication skills of upper-division students as measured by the CLA. Faculty in participating departments are also trained in creating CLA-like assignments and develop such instruments for their upper-division courses.

Through initiatives like CLA-in-the-Classroom and the QEP, FSU incorporates assessment throughout the curriculum while also enhancing student learning of the skills and knowledge assessed.

QEP: Making Evidence-based decisions. www.uncfsu.edu/qep/

University Testing: www.uncfsu.edu/uts/assessment-reports




Fayetteville State University administered the CLA+ in 2014 - 2015.

Fayetteville State University conducted a Value-added administration of the CLA+ in 2014 - 2015. The results are displayed below in the SLO Results tab.

For additional information on FSU’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?

FSU was an early adopter of the CLA.  Our institution participated in the first longitudinal study of the CLA, funded by the Lumina Foundation beginning in Fall 2005.  We adopted the CLA for several reasons.  The first reason is that the CLA assesses critical thinking and written communication, two of FSU’s core student learning outcomes.  It does so using an instrument that requires students to perform tasks they would encounter in a real class and in real life.  The CLA requires students to read and to write.  Finally, the CLA measures value added between the beginning and end of the undergraduate career.  This allowed FSU to demonstrate progress, even if students entered less well prepared than students at some other institutions.

We have retained the CLA as an assessment instrument in large part because of the CLA-in-the-Classroom faculty development component.  In 2008 the CLA developers unveiled a training program designed to familiarize faculty with the CLA, to introduce them to the rubric used to assess CLA essays, and to empower them to develop CLA-like assignments they could use in their own classes.  This enabled us to make the CLA not only a means of assessment but also a way to teach critical thinking and writing skills.


Which Fayetteville State University students are assessed? When?

The CLA is administered to all entering first-time freshmen, rising juniors, and to graduating seniors.  We administer the CLA to a sample of 300 entering freshmen in the fall and 100 seniors in the spring to graduating seniors every semester. The University also uses campus-developed CLA-like instruments to assess freshmen not taking the CLA and rising juniors.  The rising junior examination is administered in the spring. 


How are assessment data collected?

University Testing, University College, and the QEP Office collaborate to administer institution-wide assessments using the CLA and CLA-like instruments.


How are data reported within Fayetteville State University?

  The CLA is scored by Council for Aid to Education (CAE).  FSU receives a report every year summarizing the results.


Of 1288 freshmen students eligible to be tested, 494 (38%) were included in the tested sample at Fayetteville State University.


Of 1045 senior students eligible to be tested, 699 (67%) were included in the tested sample at Fayetteville 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% 66% 66% 66%
Male 31% 34% 27% 30%
Other or Unknown 3% <1% 7% 4%
Race/
Ethnicity
US Underrepresented Minority 73% 88% 55% 64%
White / Caucasian 14% 7% 15% 20%
International <1% <1% <1% <1%
Unknown 13% 3% 30% 15%
Low-income (Eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant) 30% 60% 45% 59%

The samples for the CLA are significantly more female than the general population of students who begin as first-time freshmen.  They are however largely representative in terms of ethnicity.  They are also representative of the general population in terms of Pell-eligibility.

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 selected-response questions is at or near what would be expected what would be epxected 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
Analysis & Problem Solving
Writing Effectiveness
Writing Mechanics

The table below shows students' mean scores on the three subscales that make up the Selected-Response Questions section of the CLA+. The students subscores are determined by the number of correct responses in each subsection, with those raw numbers adjusted based on the difficulty of the question set the students received. Individual student scores are rounded to the nearest whole number.

Subscale Mean Student Scores
Scientific & Quantitative Reasoning (Range: 200 to 800) 483.0
Critical Reading & Evaluation (Range: 200 to 800) 482.0
Critique an Argument (Range: 200 to 800) 483.0
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
Analysis & Problem Solving
Writing Effectiveness
Writing Mechanics

The table below shows students' mean scores on the three subscales that make up the Selected-Response Questions section of the CLA+. The students subscores are determined by the number of correct responses in each subsection, with those raw numbers adjusted based on the difficulty of the question set the students received. Individual student scores are rounded to the nearest whole number.

Subscale Mean Student Scores
Scientific & Quantitative Reasoning (Range: 200 to 800) 480.0
Critical Reading & Evaluation (Range: 200 to 800) 478.0
Critique an Argument (Range: 200 to 800) 474.0