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University of Vermont College Portrait

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University of Vermont Learning Outcomes

The University of Vermont attempted to pilot the CLA in 2011-12 with a randomly selected ample of first-time, first year undergraduates employing the CLA recommended administration procedures. Unfortunately, given the low number of participants and the inability to derive meaningful results, the University cancelled plans to test a group of seniors in Spring 2012.

In AY 2012-13 the CLA was piloted again, but under a different protocol.  We recruited students from several first-year (fall semester) and fourth-year (spring semester) courses in order to obtain a representative sample.  Course instructors provided an incentive for volunteers by means of additional credit.  In Fall 2012 we successfully recruited a sample of 100 first-time first year students.  Recruitment of fourth-year students took place late in the Spring 2013 semester and approximately 50 seniors participated.  We anticipate given the fact that another 50 seniors took an alternate critical thinking assessment being scored and assessed by trained UVM faculty members, future administrations of a single assessment via representative courses - with an additional incentive - are likely to yield the minimum number of participants required for minimal statistical power and reliable institution-wide estimates, as advised by the CLA. 

The University of Vermont also is engaged in a multi-year general education initiative with multi-faceted, faculty-driven assessment of six faculty-approved general education outcomes.  We also are engaged in efforts to bolster career planning, preparation, and advising. This effort includes more focused  support starting in the first year and more intentionally integrates active/high impact learning experiences.

 




University of Vermont administered the CLA in Spring 2013.

University of Vermont conducted a Value-added administration of the CLA in Spring 2013. The results are displayed below in the SLO Results tab.

For additional information on UVM’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 was selected based on the recommendations of a faculty committee as the best of the three options available.


Which University of Vermont students are assessed? When?

After an attempt to pilot the CLA in 2011-12, UVM administered the CLA to a representative group of  students enrolled in courses.  This included a sample of first-year students in Fall 2012 and seniors in Spring 2013.


How are assessment data collected?

CLA results and detailed reports are provided as part of the testing and scoring service, including comparisons with national benchmarks and UVM's estimated value-added relative to predicted value-added.


How are data reported within University of Vermont?

To date the data have been reviewed, in tandem with results from a parallel adminsitration of the CTAT instrument, with the Associate Provost for Curricular Affairs as well as the university's Board of Trustees.


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

Given that this is UVM's first complete administration of the CLA, the initial results serve as a baseline.  The implications and results of large-scale assessments and associated sample sizes such as those in the CLA are difficult to translate or directly link to the course or program level.  However, we believe the results may be broadly informative regarding the extent to which the UVM educational experience enhances written communication and critical thinking aligned university-wide general education outcomes.  Combined with other assessment data and strategies at multiple levels of analysis, a more complete picture will continue to emerge.  


Of 2372 freshmen students eligible to be tested, 107 (5%) were included in the tested sample at University of Vermont.


Of 3163 senior students eligible to be tested, 47 (1%) were included in the tested sample at University of Vermont.


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 57% 17% 56% 26%
Male 43% 83% 44% 74%
Other or Unknown <1% <1% <1% <1%
Race/
Ethnicity
US Underrepresented Minority 9% 5% 9% 21%
White / Caucasian 87% 90% 84% 70%
International 1% <1% 1% <1%
Unknown 2% 6% 4% 9%
Low-income (Eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant) 19% <1% 22% <1%

The sample of students was selected from a diverse set of UVM colleges and courses within those colleges that were most  likely to yield a representative group of participants for first-year and senior students.  Although broadly representative by major, our sample of tested students included a high proportion of female students.  Attempts will be made to account for and report on this fact when CLA data are reviewed.

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