Potential college assessment tests draw mixed reactions

By Christina Michaluk
December 6, 2007

mct campus/Christina Parley

Some college students are being put to the test after being accepted into their college or university of choice. The Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind Act may begin to have more of an effect on college students.

Colleges are beginning to consider introducing a standardized test, the College Learning Assessment that each college student will take yearly. The test will compare how much the student is getting from their education. It will also show what needs to be reformatted so that the student will get more for their money.

The question that is on Cabrini student’s minds is will we be seeing an assessment test in our future?

“Currently at Cabrini we do not have a required standardized test that must be taken to show our college’s aptitude. It is too hard to develop a test that can measure everyone’s learning abilities. There is content knowledge, skills, competencies among many,” Dean Charlie McCormick said.

If a standardized test was made mandatory administrators feel that most students, especially seniors wouldn’t do as well as they could. “Seniors are especially busy with their job search and graduation. Even if the motivation would be there to take the test they might unintentionally opt of the testing while taking the test,” McCormick said.

Other universities such as Villanova agree. “It is overly simplistic. While I and most people believe in accountability and assessment of learning outcomes, trying to do it with a ‘one shoe fits all’ approach is counterproductive,” Villanova’s Vice President John Johannes said.

The C.L.A consists of long writing assignments, along with specific tasks such as analyzing information and then making it into a memo or a report along with other writing tasks.

The University of Charleston is one of the first post secondary school to institute the C.L.A. The University of Charleston has reformed its former title as a “party school” and now it finds itself on the U.S. News & World Reports Top 20 baccalaureate colleges in the South.

Despite the turn around at the University of Charleston some colleges and universities are finding it unnecessary to go ahead with the assessments.

Those colleges and universities who have decided to go ahead with assessments are deciding whether or not to make their assessment scores public.

Villanova does not have plans to institute the C.L.A. but is aggressively pursuing a variety of assessment techniques for the future.

Other schools have also begun looking for different assessments to assure that students are learning as much as possible each year. Administration from some schools are concerned about the outcomes of the test due to the different learning levels of the students.

“The problem is that one cannot ensure that ‘everyone’ gets as much learning as possible, because students will always differ,” Johannes said.

“Professors always want to see their students succeed in their learning,” McCormick said.

Christina Michaluk

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