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Montclair State University Learning Outcomes

Procedures for the assessment of student learning in all majors have been developed and promulgated University-wide. As might be expected, however,the assessment of learning in the major is most highly developed and routinized in those degree programs that are nationally accredited.  Consequently, while comprehensive, rogram-level assessment may be mosthighly advanced in Business, Teacher Education, Computing Sciences, Chemistry, Dance, Theater, and Music, it is practiced across-the-curriculum.  Assessments include a variety of direct measures of student learning, including portfolios; standardized tests; internship evaluations; student, alumni, and employer surveys; and various other measures.

The University's General Education curriculum, which is driven by clearly enunciated learning goals, is assessed using nationally-normed, standardized tests. During AY2008-09, the achievement of important General Educationlearning goals was evaluated using ETS' Measure of Academic Proficiency andProgress (MAPP) test. This instrument was used to assess three core skillareas: critical thinking, reading, and writing. Results were shared with Colleges and Schools, and faculty are using them to "close-the-loop" byanalyzing how these findings might best improve curriculum and pedagogy.

During AY2010-11, the University assessed student learning in its general education program by using the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA). This instrument was administered to freshmen in the fall, and graduating seniors in the spring, in hopes of quantifying the "value-added" by Montclair's general education curriculum. Results were received in late summer, 2011, and they were analyzed by the University’s General Education Committee to determine whether learning outcome goals are being met. The General Education Committee used the CLA results to suggest changes in pedagogy and course experiences.

In AY2013-14, the University assessed student learning in its general education program by using the Collegiate Learning Assessment “Plus” (CLA+) instrument. This instrument was administered to freshmen in the fall, and graduating seniors in the spring, in hopes of quantifying the "value-added" by Montclair's general education curriculum, as well as to determine the overall Mastery Levels of test-takers. Results were received in late summer, 2013, and are being analyzed by the University’s General Education Committee to determine whether learning outcome goals are being met. The General Education Committee will use the CLA+ results to suggest changes in pedagogy and course experiences.

The University will, again, administer the CLA+ to freshmen and native seniors during AY2016-17.




Montclair State University administered the CLA+ in 2013 - 2014.

Montclair 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 MSU’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 (CLA) measures critical thinking, analytic reasoning, problem solving, and written communication using a performance task and an analytic writing task.


Which Montclair State University students are assessed? When?

Montclair State University assesses 100 first-semester, first-time freshmen, and 100 last-semester, native seniors every three years using the Collegiate Learning Assessment.


How are assessment data collected?

Invitations with participation voluntary were sent to random sample of fall 2013 freshmen and spring 2014 seniors with available SAT scores. One-hundred freshmen and one-hundred seniors took the online test in a proctored setting in CADA.


How are data reported within Montclair State University?

The results were shared with the Deans of all of the University’s Colleges and Schools, who then shared the results with their faculty.  The results were closely reviewed by the General Education Committee, and recommendations were made to improve course content and pedagogy to enhance student learning outcomes.


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

As noted above, the General Education Committee reviewed the CLA results from AY2013-2014, and recommended changes to content and pedagogy of selected General Education courses.


Of 2909 freshmen students eligible to be tested, 99 (3%) were included in the tested sample at Montclair State University.


Of 1428 senior students eligible to be tested, 100 (7%) were included in the tested sample at Montclair 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 63% 72% 64% 65%
Male 37% 28% 36% 35%
Other or Unknown <1% <1% <1% <1%
Race/
Ethnicity
US Underrepresented Minority 42% 46% 37% 36%
White / Caucasian 47% 49% 51% 62%
International 1% <1% 1% <1%
Unknown 9% 4% 11% 2%
Low-income (Eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant) 40% 49% 40% 42%

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) 546.0
Critical Reading & Evaluation (Range: 200 to 800) 541.0
Critique an Argument (Range: 200 to 800) 538.0
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) 499.0
Critical Reading & Evaluation (Range: 200 to 800) 498.0
Critique an Argument (Range: 200 to 800) 498.0