Your Grade Point Average is like gold to many employers, a number that sheds light on well you performed academically while in college. However, the GPA is also not trusted by some as it along with standard college credentials may not give employers an accurate indication of your abilities and work readiness.
New Academic Test
Beginning in 2014, college seniors at more than 200 institutions of higher learning will take a test that may be more important than the term papers and the final exams they are familiar with. That’s when the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA+) test will be taken, offering an SAT-like evaluation of a student’s performance.
The new test is part of what The Wall Street Journal says is “part of a movement to find new ways to assess the skills of graduates.” The test is expected to provide a better indicator of workplace readiness than what a GPA alone reveals. For some people, this will be a great way to pursue the career of their dreams even if their GPA wasn’t the best. It will also give them an idea of what they would like to do if they don’t already know. This test will also be a good indicator to campuses and online schools as to what programs would fit you best. For instance, if you want to obtain a Master’s of Science in Criminal Justice because you have an interest in law enforcement and forensics, this test could be the push you need in order to get there.
The CLA+ is a voluntary test and won’t be a graduation requirement for the participating colleges and universities. What it will do is reduce the significance that schools place on academic achievement and college credentials as the predictor of workplace readiness. High grades and a sharp-looking resume do not reveal everything about a student’s potential, something the CLA+ intends to remedy.
The new test is a product of the Council for Aid to Education, a New York-based nonprofit organization established in 1952. The CAE was established to “conduct policy research on higher education” as well as to advance corporate support of higher education.
Work Readiness Among College Grades
In a survey published in 2010 and conducted on behalf of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, employers noted the lack of work readiness from college students. Specifically, the “Raising the Bar: Employers’ Views on College Learning in the Wake of the Economic Downturn,” revealed that “only one in four employers believe that colleges, community colleges, and universities are doing a good job of preparing college graduates for the demands of the global economy.”
The report noted that employers are looking for job candidates that have broader skills and higher levels of learning, while also acknowledging that companies are requiring more from their employees.
The new test comes as academic standards slip and global competition rises. Indeed, the Journal noted that the percentage of “A” grades offered by teachers tripled from 1940 and 2008, effectively watering down the value of a college degree.
Cost and Length
The CLA+ a 90-minute exam and will be scored on the same 1600-point scale once used by the SAT. The test, costing $35, will also be available for students that have taken Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) that offer no credit, but can provide academic enrichment equal to what the paid courses provide. Conceivably, you could load up on free MOOCs, excel on the CLA+ and receive more job offers than a recent grad and without the debt that goes with it. And it just may disrupt academia just as the Internet shook media.
See Also — About Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)