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ERIC Number: ED514992
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Pages: 34
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 35
Learning to Reason and Communicate in College: Initial Report of Findings from the CLA Longitudinal Study
Arum, Richard; Roksa, Josipa
Social Science Research Council
This research emerged from the Social Science Research Council's collaborative partnership with the Pathways for College Network, with technical assistance in data collection provided by the Council for Aid to Education. The project has followed over 2,300 students at 24 institutions over time to examine what factors are associated with learning in higher education. Learning is assessed along the dimensions of critical thinking, analytical reasoning and written communication, as measured by the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA). The authors consider factors related to individual development as well as patterns of inequality associated with disadvantaged groups of students (including students from racial/ethnic minority groups, less advantaged family backgrounds, non-English speaking homes, and high schools that are comprised primarily of non-white students). Students were initially tested at the beginning of their freshman year (Fall 2005) and then followed up at the end of their sophomore year (Spring 2007). In addition to the CLA measures of learning, supplementary data was collected from student surveys, college transcripts and secondary sources of institutional data to generate a Determinants of College Learning longitudinal dataset. The scale and scope of this project offers a unique opportunity to explore factors associated with learning in higher education. Overall, the reported findings have important implications for policy, practice and research. In terms of policy, the research suggests the need to focus future social policy not just on increasing access to college and reducing student attrition, but also on assuring success in terms of learning for students attending higher education institutions. This project also has important lessons for practitioners: institutions vary tremendously on the extent to which students attending them demonstrate growth on CLA performance. The longitudinal findings identified suggest the need for additional systematic future study of student learning in higher education. Appendices include: (1) CLA Instrument Example; (2) Data and Methods; and (3) Tables. (Contains 11 figures, 6 tables and 15 footnotes.) [This paper was written with Melissa Velez.]
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Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Lumina Foundation for Education; Ford Foundation
Authoring Institution: Social Science Research Council