Augustana University is one of a consortium of higher-ed institutions that use the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) instrument, a website-administered evaluation tool for learning more about the cognitive growth of students. The nationwide list of participating institutions.
Developed by the Council for Aid to Education (CAE), the CLA is comprised of "essay-type" questions designed to assess critical thinking, analytic reasoning, problem solving and written communication. The goal of the CLA instrument is not to measure changes in individual students, but rather to learn more about programmatic features that correlate with "institutional effects" associated with larger than expected gains in students' analytical reasoning, critical thinking and writing skills. The CLA provides one of the first "value-added" measures that can reliably compare institutional contributions to student learning.