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External Assessments

Introduction

To better understand how Cal Poly students learn, we utilize external, national assessments as a source of information. By including external assessments as part of our overall plan, we can see how our students are comparing with university students across the country and to deepen our understanding of our students' achievements and identify areas of improvement.

 

Collegiate Learning Assessment


The CLA+ is a direct measure¹ of critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, and written communication skills using a performance-based assessment. The principal goal of  is to provide an objective assessment of how students develop these skills throughout their career at Cal Poly; as such, this exam is given to first-year and senior-level students.

Cal Poly is among hundreds of institutions that use the CLA+ to measure the value the institution contributes to student learning, and our students have scored among the highest of all those participating. 

For more information, visit our CLA+ homepage, which includes information for students as well as the most recent results.
 

 

Surveys of Engagement


Every three years, Cal Poly participates in a national series of surveys that provide indirect measures² of student and faculty engagement. These three surveys are as follows:

  Audience Survey Launch
Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE)
  • First-time first-year students
  • New transfer student
Summer
National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)
  • First-time first-year students (the same students who took the BCSSE the prior summer)
  • Seniors
Spring
Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE)
  • Instructional Faculty
Spring

Cal Poly compares these results with the direct assessments that take place at the program, college, or university level and to support additional academic, tutoring, or advising programs that are offered.

 

NSSE and FSSE: Spring 2022

After completing BCSSE in summer 2021, Cal Poly is preparing for the NSSE and FSSE surveys, which will launch in April 2022.


Click here to learn more.

 

 


¹ A "direct measure" is one that requires students to demonstrate a certain level of proficiency for a skill or particular learning outcome.

² An "indirect measure" is one that asks students to self-report either (1) how well they they they have mastered a skill or (2) how often they engage in a particular learning opportunity.

 

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