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Originally published: 2013-03-22 09:58:44
Last modified: 2013-03-22 09:59:19

ASU to serve as pilot campus for standardized test

by Anna Oakes

Appalachian State University is among five University of North Carolina campuses that will pilot the use of a standardized test next academic year as recommended by UNC's adopted five-year strategic plan.

ASU, East Carolina, Fayetteville State, UNC-Pembroke and Western Carolina will administer the College Learning Assessment to a sample of the fall 2013 freshman cohort.

The campuses were chosen to serve as pilots because they are "already using or planning to use this tool," according to the plan.

ASU has administered the CLA twice -- in 2007-08 and in 2010-11 -- as required by the Voluntary System of Accountability, a national program that publishes information about educational outcomes at public universities, said Bobby Sharp, director of Institutional Research & Planning at ASU.

"Our Time, Our Future: The UNC Compact with North Carolina" was adopted by the UNC Board of Governors in February as the strategic plan to guide the 17-campus public university system through 2018.

Among the plan's goals and strategies is strengthening academic quality through such steps as developing an assessment strategy and setting core competencies for General Education programs. General Education courses are required for all undergraduate degrees.

A faculty advisory council formed to provide input to the UNC Advisory Committee on Strategic Directions expressed opposition to standardized testing programs.

"Appropriate assessment processes must not be limited to any one measure that attempts to capture all of the complexity of the desired competencies," the council said in its report to the advisory committee.

Data collected from the CLA pilot program will be used to inform recommendations on the new common core competencies and tools for measuring the competencies, according to action steps outlined in the strategic plan.