CUNY moves forward with CLA despite concerns
Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 30, 2012 22:04
This is a test of skills not knowledge. It has no interest of looking into what students know about world history, American history, music, arts, science, math, popular culture, about anything. It looks at reading, writing ability and what they claim to be critical thinking skills.”
Another controversial aspect of the CLA implementation is the proposal to give students monetary incentives to sit through the test. In another report published by the task force in January 2012 titled “Report of the CUNY Task Force on system-wide Assessment of Undergraduate Learning Gains”, the task force lists 21 recommendations made to the Chancellery to aid them in the implementation process. Number seven reads: “CUNY should incentivize participation with a cash payment to students who keep their appointment to test and who complete the assessment. The following recommendation reads: “In addition to cash, each CUNY college should experiment with its own incentives.”
Dr. Braden J. Hosch is the Director of Institutional Research and Assessment at the Central Connecticut State University. He published a report titled “Time on test, Student motivation and Performance on the Collegiate Learning Assessment: Implications for Institutional Accountability.”
When the Central Connecticut State University implemented the CLA they initially did not offer any incentives for students who partook in the test. The test was offered to both freshmen and seniors. The freshmen were advised by freshmen orientation leaders to take the test meanwhile the seniors only received an e-mail from the university insisting on the importance of assessing student’s skills. No seniors showed up.
It wasn’t until the university offered discounts on caps and gowns for graduation that the seniors started participating in the test. This seems to be an argument for providing students with incentives.
But Pecorino disagrees with this policy. He is not convinced that monetary incentives are the best way to motivate students.
“The university’s implementation involves giving students money to take the test to try to get them to perform well on this exam,” he said. “Those who perform in the top 10 percent will get more money. I don’t think that is an efficient way to get people to do their best.”
In some cases the task force’s recommendations to the Chancellery went against CAE’s advice. One such case was recommendation # 4 where the task force advocates administering the CLA to students who have accumulated “approximately 60 credits.” Because this is not the CAE standard the task force says CUNY will have to “discuss the possibility for receiving a customized score report.”
The last word about the CLA has not been said, as in a couple of months CUNY will assess the pilot tests at Brooklyn, BCC, LaGuardia and City College.