CP Logo

North Dakota State University College Portrait

Home Compare At A Glance Contact

EXPLORE THIS COLLEGE PORTRAIT

North Dakota State University Learning Outcomes

Student learning is valued highly at NDSU, a point which is reflected by facts supporting the institution’s status as a student-focused, land-grant, research university. Assessment of student learning became a campus-wide undertaking in the mid-1990s and continues to be a prominent activity. Academic units prepare annual assessment reports that document student learning both in individual classes and at the program level. General education outcomes also represent a vital component of these reports. Additionally, assessment results are linked to the university's budget process to further express an institutional commitment to student learning. Achievement on nationally-normed assessments and professional licensure examinations consistently demonstrate the high academic value received by students for their investment at NDSU.  Please follow the "Learning Assessment Examples" link below for a summary of assessment done with the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA).




North Dakota State University administered the CLA+ in 2013 - 2014.

North Dakota 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 NDSU’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 examines critical thinking, analytical reasoning, problem solving, and written communication. Mastery of these higher order skills demonstrates an ability to transfer knowledge between disciplines and situations.

The Collegiate Learning Assessment is probably the only national, performance-based assessment of higher education student learning in the U.S.  It was developed, and continues to be developed, by a non-profit, grant-supported organization dedicated to improving the quality of U.S. education.  Also, students receive explicit feedback on how to raise their skills to higher and higher levels.


Which North Dakota State University students are assessed? When?

NDSU participated in a value-added administration of the CLA+, which allows for an estimate of the extent to which the university contributed to student learning from freshman to senior year.  First-time freshmen took the CLA+ in Fall 2013, and seniors eligible for graduation took the CLA+ in Spring 2014.


How are assessment data collected?

Students are mass recruited.  Participants are provided a cash incentive and complete the CLA+ in groups in computer labs on campus.


How are data reported within North Dakota State University?

Results are sent to the Provost/V.P. for Academic Affairs and deans of the academic colleges.  Results are made known to the University Assessment Committee.  The CLA+ is a value added instrument, i.e., the gains from freshmen to seniors for NDSU can be compared on an equal basis with all the other CLA+ participating institutions.


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

Secondary analyses are conducted, e.g., the relationship between number of English courses completed and CLA+ scores on written communication was measured in detail and communicated to the English department.


Of 2471 freshmen students eligible to be tested, 192 (8%) were included in the tested sample at North Dakota State University.


Of 2061 senior students eligible to be tested, 210 (10%) were included in the tested sample at North Dakota 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 45% 59% 47% 55%
Male 55% 41% 53% 45%
Other or Unknown <1% <1% <1% <1%
Race/
Ethnicity
US Underrepresented Minority 7% 5% 5% 6%
White / Caucasian 92% 95% 94% 92%
International <1% <1% <1% <1%
Unknown 1% <1% 1% 2%
Low-income (Eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant) 21% 18% 23% 24%

There are two main reasons for using the Collegiate Learning Assessment: 1) an adjustment is made for incoming academic ability and 2) an institution’s results for freshmen, seniors, and gains in student learning from freshmen to senior can be compared to those of all other CLA participating institutions.   Since the extent of representativeness is approximately the same for all institutions, the resulting ‘pictures’, adjusted for incoming academic ability, of where NDSU is nationally are accurate for making decisions.

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) 583.0
Critical Reading & Evaluation (Range: 200 to 800) 564.0
Critique an Argument (Range: 200 to 800) 571.0
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) 533.0
Critical Reading & Evaluation (Range: 200 to 800) 538.0
Critique an Argument (Range: 200 to 800) 526.0