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Assessing School Effectiveness


  • Stephen Klein
  • David Freedman
  • Richard Shavelson
  • Roger Bolus


The Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) program measures value added in colleges and universities, by testing the ability of freshmen and seniors to think logically and write clearly. The program is popular enough that it has attracted critics. In this paper, we outline the methods used by the CLA to determine value added. We summarize the criticisms, which revolve around the question of which students take the CLA tests. Typically, samples are not random, so that selection bias is a concern, as is confounding. We respond by showing that criticisms of CLA procedures are not supported by the data.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Klein & David Freedman & Richard Shavelson & Roger Bolus, 2008. "Assessing School Effectiveness," Evaluation Review, , vol. 32(6), pages 511-525, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:evarev:v:32:y:2008:i:6:p:511-525
    DOI: 10.1177/0193841X08325948

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Freedman, David & Lane, David, 1983. "A Nonstochastic Interpretation of Reported Significance Levels," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 1(4), pages 292-298, October.
    2. Ernest T. Pascarella & Ty Cruce & Paul D. Umbach & Gregory C. Wolniak & George D. Kuh & Robert M. Carini & John C. Hayek & Robert M. Gonyea & Chun-Mei Zhao, 2006. "Institutional Selectivity and Good Practices in Undergraduate Education: How Strong is the Link?," The Journal of Higher Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 77(2), pages 251-285, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gregg Thomson and John Aubrey Douglass, 2009. "Decoding Learning Gains: Measuring Outcomes and the Pivotal Role of the Major and Student Backgrounds," University of California at Berkeley, Center for Studies in Higher Education qt2173006c, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley.

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