OAS Satisfaction Survey
The Collegiate Learning Assessment
Frequently Asked Questions for Students
- Why is NIU conducting CLA?
NIU participates in an inniative called the Voluntary System of Accountability, a transparency initiative for public 4-year institutions to share information about their university and students in a common web template called The College Portrait.
- Why am I being asked to participate in the CLA?
Each year, a sample of freshmen students and a sample of senior students is selected to participate with this university assessment initiative. Students are expected to participate in assessment activites whether part of their regular instruction within a degree program, or for the university as a whole. Please refer to the section of the Undergraduate Catalog titled Assessment at Northern Illinois University, located at the bottom of the Undergraduate Academic Programs page of the catalog.
- When/where will I take the CLA?
Testing for Spring, 2013 will begin January 28th. In order to accomodate every student, test sessions will be made available mornings and afternoons. A select number of evening and Saturday sessions will also be made available. Most will take place in one of the ITS computer labs, though some colleges have their own computer labs that they may want to use and accommodations can be made for this. You should schedule a session that does not conflict with your class schedule.
- What will I be asked to do on the CLA?
When you begin the CLA, you will be randomly assigned to one of the following:
- Performance Task (up to 90 min):
Form responses to several open-ended questions about a hypothetical scenario using a given set of evidentiary documents.
- Writing Task (two parts, up to 75 min. combined):
- Make-an-Argument asks you to take and justify a position on an issue
- Critique-an-Argument asks you to evaluate the reasoning of another's argument
*SAMPLE CLA TASKS CAN BE VIEWED BY CLICKING HERE*
- Performance Task (up to 90 min):
- What do I bring to the test session?
You will need your NIU One Card for proof of ID. You may wish to bring scratch paper and a pencil but there will be some provided.
- Is there a fee associated with this assessment?
The fees associated with CLA are covered by the University and never by the student.
- How will I (the student) benefit from taking the CLA?
You will receive an individualized score report, highlighting your strengths and weaknesses in critical thinking, analytic reasoning and writing and comparing your performance to other NIU students and to students across the country. You may wish to highlight your participation and results on a resume or vita. The tasks and skills associated with CLA are real-world oriented and will benefit you in continued education or as you enter the workforce. If you plan to continue your education, the CLA may help to prepare you for the kind of higher-order thinking skills that are assessed on the GRE. Also, by participating in a process that will help determine the value-added by NIU, you are helping to shape the perception of what it means to have an NIU degree.
- When will I receive my scores for CLA?
Your scores will be sent electronically in the semester following the one in which you tested. Students who would like additional on-campus support regarding their performance should see the Student Resources section
- Will I receive a grade for CLA?
Your individual results on the CLA will be returned to you in the semester following your participation. Thus, performance on the CLA cannot and will not be considered in your overall course grade.
- Who can I contact for more information?
You may visit the CLA website for more information at www.collegiatelearningassessment.org.
- You may contact the NIU Office of Assessment Services at 815-753-1197 or via e-mail @ firstname.lastname@example.org.