Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Collegiate Learning Assessment - Do Employers Need an Exit SAT?

Oh no, not another test. We already have the GMAT if you want to know how smart you are after graduating. Bad idea.
Steve Sailer notes that if this is somebody's idea of how to close achievement gaps, tests like this just make gaps bigger.


Collegiate Learning Assessment - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 

The Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) is a standardized testing initiative in United States higher educational evaluation and assessment. It uses a ...


.Steve Sailer

  1. Steve Sailer: iSteve: 8/25/13 - 9/1/13


    Aug 25, 2013 - So 2018 will also be the year we start paying into it again—not that we will ..... an SAT-like assessment that aims to cut through grade-point averages and..... [12] While there were certainly small numbers of settlers arriving in  ...

    The testing industry's Golden Age

    When you are thinking about a career or a part-time job, don't overlook the testing industry. You might think that nothing much is going on in the cognitive testing racket since the implementation of item response theory awhile back as computing power became adequate, but you'd be mistaken. There are lots of new revenue opportunities in testing (and in it's evil/nice twin, tutoring). From the WSJ:
    Are You Ready for the Post-College SAT? 
    Employers Say They Don't Trust Grade-Point Averages 
    Next spring, seniors at about 200 U.S. colleges will take a new test that could prove more important to their future than final exams: an SAT-like assessment that aims to cut through grade-point averages and judge students' real value to employers. 
    The test, called the Collegiate Learning Assessment, "provides an objective, benchmarked report card for critical thinking skills," said David Pate, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at St. John Fisher College, a small liberal-arts school near Rochester, N.Y. "The students will be able to use it to go out and market themselves." 
    The test is part of a movement to find new ways to assess the skills of graduates. Employers say grades can be misleading and that they have grown skeptical of college credentials. 
    "For too long, colleges and universities have said to the American public, to students and their parents, 'Trust us, we're professional. If we say that you're learning and we give you a diploma it means you're prepared,' " said Michael Poliakoff, vice president of policy for the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. "But that's not true." 
    The new voluntary test, which the nonprofit behind it calls CLA +, represents the latest threat to the fraying monopoly that traditional four-year colleges have enjoyed in defining what it means to be well educated.

    Here's a sample question: You look at some graphs on cell phone usage while driving, then write a several hundred word essay on whether it would be a good idea to pass a law banning phoning while driving.

    Reasoning from quantitative data doesn't sound like a bad thing to test at all -- I do it all day long -- but I suspect it will just widen The Gap, withMoneyball fans benefiting the most. We all have these stereotypes about the reason that Hispanic girls don't do as well on tests overall as upper middle class white males is because tests don't test critical thinking skills and synthesizing inferences from data and so forth. But if you look around an airport book store, the frequent fliers, the people whose employers find it profitable to send around the country to deal with problems, seem to be mostly white and Asian guys who likeMoneyballFreakonomics, Nate Silver, Malcolm Gladwell and the like. So, making tests more like reading a Bill James essay is probably not going to close the gap, but you are a racist if you predict that, so, sure, go ahead.

  1. TIME ‎- 5 days ago
    The piece explained the imminent arrival of an “SAT-like assessment that aims to cut through grade-point averages and judge students' real ...

    A Question of Assessment
    Page A1 of the Wall Street Journal ­often brings news that matters to America’s striving classes. One such story arrived this August. The headline “Are You Ready for the Post-College SAT?” was followed by a revealing subhead: Employers say they don’t trust grade-point ­averages. The piece explained the imminent arrival of an “SAT-like assessment that aims to cut through grade-point averages and judge students’ real value to employers.”
    The Collegiate Learning Assessment, or CLA+, a voluntary test developed by a New York City–based nonprofit, the Council for Aid to Education, is to be administered to seniors at some 200 U.S. colleges and universities, including the University of Texas system and the ­liberal-arts St. John Fisher College near Rochester, N.Y., in an attempt to measure learning by asking critical-thinking questions. “Exit exams are an excellent idea because they are a quantifiable way of giving institutions and individuals the measure of the kind of progress they’re making,” says Poliakoff. And while an assessment like the CLA+ might help employers decide which students to hire, some argue that students and parents need more information to help choose a college. When Duncan told Time’s education summit about the ratings system envisioned by the Obama Administration, he described an approach that would take into account many metrics, including graduation rates, graduate earnings and a graduate’s student debt. The basic question, Duncan said, is this: “How many students at an institution graduate at a reasonable cost without a lot of debt and get a job in the field they choose?”
    Fair enough, but none of this tests general knowledge. You don’t have to be able to identify, say, Albert Einstein or explain the difference between a stock and a bond. Critics of the CLA+ argue that institutions may be penalized for attracting strong students who score highly as freshmen and then just as highly as ­seniors—thus showing no growth. Others have even more fundamental problems with the idea of a universal test. “The idea of the CLA+ is to measure learning at various institutions and compare them,” says Watson Scott Swail, president and CEO of the Education Policy Institute. “I don’t think that’s technically possible with such a diverse system of higher education. That’s based on the fact that all the curriculums are different, textbooks are different, and you’re expecting to get some measure of—in a very generic way across all ­curriculums—how someone learns in one institution compared to another. All institutions are different, and all of their students are different.

    Read more: http://nation.time.com/2013/09/26/the-class-of-2025/#ixzz2gTyrQif6

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