A Measure of Education Is Put to the Test

Results of national exam will go public in 2012

A Measure of Learning Is Put to the Test 1

Wyatt McSpadden for the Chronicle

The Collegiate Learning Assessment measures "the skills that you want every undergraduate to walk away with," says Pedro Reyes, associate vice chancellor for academic planning and assessment at the U. of Texas.

You have 90 minutes to complete this test.

Here is your scenario: You are the assistant to a provost who wants to measure the quality of your university's general-education program. Your boss is considering adopting the Collegiate Learning Assessment, or CLA, a national test that asks students to demonstrate their ability to synthesize evidence and write persuasively.

The CLA is used at more than 400 colleges. Since its debut a decade ago, it has been widely praised as a