National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment |

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment


Several tests exist that assess student learning outcomes. Listed here are the most common national tests. Click on the tests to expand for more information.

Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency (CAAP)
Critical Thinking Assessment Test (CAT)
Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA)
ETS Proficiency Profile: Formally known as Measure of Academic Proficiency and Progress (MAPP)

Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency (CAAP)

The Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency (CAAP) is a nationally-normed assessment program from ACT which measures outcomes of the general education programs at the end of the first 2 years of college. Additional information on the website includes sample reports and questions, ordering information, and reference materials.

Related Articles and Resources
ACT (2008, Spring). New accountability tool helps students find right college. Activity,
46(2), 1.

The article provides information on how the CAAP is being used by institutions as one of the preferred learning outcomes assessment instruments for the Voluntary System of Accountability.

*Testing, A. (1989, 1989-1992). Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency.
Retrieved May 21, 2009, from Mental Measurements Yearbook database.

The Mental Measurement Yearbook provides an overview of the six tests that comprise the CAAP and then addresses issues of the validity of the measures used by the instrument. May require login.

Critical Thinking Assessment Test

The CAT Instrument is a unique tool designed to assess and promote the improvement of critical thinking and real-world problem solving skills. The instrument is the product of extensive development, testing, and refinement with a broad range of institutions, faculty, and students across the country.

For an overview and general information on the Critical Thinking Assessment, click here.

Related Articles and Resources
Please check out the website for more resources and reports.

Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA)

The Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) is a test of reasoning and communication skills at the institutional level to determine how the institution as a whole contributes to student development. It focuses on the value-added of attending the institution through assessing performance tasks and analytic writing tasks covering critical thinking, analytic reasoning, written communication, and problem solving. Additional information on the Council for Aid to Education website includes institutional reports, FAQs, test measures, brochures, and participating institutions. For a list of participating schools, click here.

Community College Learning Assessment (CCLA)
The CCLA is an adaption of the Collegiate Learning Assessment for community colleges developed by the Council for Aid to Education and RAND Corporation.

Work Readiness Assessment (CWRA)
This is a high school version of the Collegiate Learning Assessment to measure student performance. It was developed by the Council for Aid to Education and the RAND Corporation.

Related Articles and Resources

Paris, D. (2011). Catalyst for Change: The CIC/CLA Consortium. Washington, D.C.: Council of Independent Colleges.

The CIC Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) Consortium updates their 2008 report (below) with this final report of their experience with the CLA in 48 institutions.

Council of Independent Colleges (2008). Evidence of learning: Applying the collegiate
learning assessment to improve teaching and learning in the liberal arts college experience.
Washington, D.C.: Council of Independent Colleges.

The Council of Independent Colleges sponsored report presents the experience of a consortium of 33 CIC member colleges and universities with the CLA over a period of three years.

Klein, S., Benjamin, R., & Bolus, R. (2007). The collegiate learning assessment: Facts
and fantasies.
Evaluation Review, 31(5), 415-439.

This white paper presents a model of what the CLA does and does not measure, an overview of the instruments used with examples of tasks, and how information on how to interpret the value-added results.

A shortened version of this white paper is available from the Ford Policy Forum. It also includes explanations of the assigned tasks and addresses what the CLA measures and how it differs from the CAAP and MAPP.

De Leon, A. G. (2007, Fall). The collegiate learning assessment: A tool for measuring
the value added of a liberal arts education.
Carnegie Results, 1-12.

This article presents a brief history and an overview of the test along with examples of colleges that have used it. It ends with a look to the future of the CLA.

ETS Proficiency Profile
Formally known as Measure of Academic Proficiency and Progress (MAPP)

The ETS Proficiency Profile (EPP) assesses general education skills such as critical thinking, reading, writing, and mathmatics and is administered to freshman, sophomores, and upperclassman. The test can be used to assess students and program performance for accreditation and institutional improvement and to compare with other institutions. For a brief overview of the EPP, click here.

Related Articles and Resources
Young, J. W. (2007). Validity of the Measure of academic Proficiency and Progress
(MAPP) test: A summary from ETS.
Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service.

A brief report by the Center for Validity Research of the Educational Testing Service on the validity of the MAPP, including an overview on test structure, scoring, and construct validity. May require login.

Shavelson, R. J. (2007). Assessing student learning responsibly: From history to an
audacious proposal.
Change, 39(1), 26-33.

This article presents a brief overview on learning outcomes and their connection to the Spelling’s Commission and then presents a brief history of learning outcomes by examining different tests (including GRE, CLA, and MAPP).

Pusecker, K. L., Torres, M. R., Crawford, I., Levia, D., Lehman, D., & Copic, G. (2011). A Comparison of Assessing General Education Goals with Freshmen and Senior Students by implementing the Abbreviated Educational Proficiency Profile compared to the Adapted American Association of Colleges and Universities Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) Rubrics. Newark, DE: University of Delaware Office of Educational Assessment.

This article examines the use and value of the EPP at the University of Delaware.



WorkKeys is a job skills assessment system developed by ACT. It includes a job analysis to identify required skills needed to be successful at work and then assess the current skill levels of individuals in order to determine gaps. It assesses 10 foundational workplace skills which are listed on their FAQ section of the website.

For an overview and general information on WorkKeys systems as a nationwide standard for measuring basic workplace skills, click here.

Related Articles and Resources
Brennan, R. L., Goa, X., & Colton, D. A. (1995). Generalizability analyses of Work Keys
listening and writing tests.
Educational and Psychological Measurement, 55(2), 157-176.

An article on the psychometric characteristics of the listening and writing test of the WorkKeys program.

*Due to copyright regulations we cannot put up direct links to many of these articles, but they are available through many university libraries.