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Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA+)



What is the Collegiate Learning Assessment?


Cal Poly utilizes the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA+) as part of its overall assessment of student learning. The CLA+ is an external assessment used by hundreds of universities to measure students' achievement of critical thinking, problem solving, and writing skills. First-time first year and senior students are invited to participate in this assessment once every three years. The results show us where students are in their understanding of this knowledge when they start at Cal Poly and how that knowledge changes by the time they graduate — and how Cal Poly compares with other institutions across the nation. Cal Poly has consistently ranked amongst the top performers each time.

How Cal Poly Uses the Results

Data are aggregated for analysis, but individual student results are not shared. Cal Poly analyzes these results in conjunction with other measurements — whether developed on-campus or by other institutions — to develop improvement efforts to support our students and faculty. 

Student Participation

We look for 100 students in each cohort to volunteer for the assessment. Incentives and awards may be provided. 


What to Expect (Spring 2020)

The CLA+ is open to all expected Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall 2020 graduates and blended program post-baccalaureates who started Cal Poly as first-time first-year students.  It is administered online and takes no more than ninety minutes. 

Sessions will be conducted in the Kennedy Library computer labs from January 27th through February 21st. If your session is in the morning, we will offer a variety of pastries; if your session is in the afternoon, we will provide pizza. COVID-19 Update: We will be administering the CLA+ fully remote for spring 2020. Once complete, participants will also receive a Starbucks gift card. 

On the day of your assessment, you will create a user profile. Your individual results will be posted there where you will see how you compare to other students here at Cal Poly and at other institutions nationwide. You can add this to your resumé and LinkedIn profile to distinguish yourself from your peers.

For more information, see the Student Guide (pdf) or the Practice Assessment (pdf).




Most Recent Results (2019-2020)


Cal Poly's senior mean score was 1264, which "signifies accomplished mastery of the skills measured by CLA+." This score put Cal Poly seniors within the top 2% of all CLA+ participating colleges and universities. Additionally, Cal Poly's first-time first-year students earned a mean score of 1182, which was within the top 5% of participating institutions and "demonstrates proficient mastery of the critical-thinking and written-communication skills measured by CLA+." This chart shows the overall performance of Cal Poly compared with other institutions. 

To read the full report and learn more about Cal Poly's ranking, click here.


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Office Contact

Academic Programs and Planning 
1 Grand Avenue
Kennedy Library
  (Bldg. 35), Suite 319  
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407 

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(805) 756-2246

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