NEW YORK CITY, May 17, 2022 – The Board of Education Assistance, Inc. (CAE), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support student success and careers, today published a new study that found that students from different fields of study, such as the humanities or STEM, do not perform better or worse on different versions assess critical thinking, problem solving and written communication skills. The results show that these skills, which predict academic success and are in high demand among today’s employers, can be measured through carefully designed and developed performance-based assessments without much concern about the interaction of the student’s learning area with their outcomes.
CAE Doris Zaner, Ph.D., Chief Research Fellow; Olivia Cartellini, Senior Analyst for Reporting and Data; and Tess Dowber, Ph.D., senior measurement scientist, authors of the study “Assessing the Differential Effectiveness of Critical Thinking and Written Communication Skills of Students in Different Fields of Learning,” and recently presented the results at the annual meeting of American Educational Research. The Association (AERA), the world’s largest meeting of education researchers.
The study included 44,191 senior graduates from 263 four-year U.S. public and private institutions in five major research areas: science and technology, social sciences, business, aid / services, and the humanities and languages. Students participated in the CAE Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA +) between fall 2013 and spring 2018. CLA + is a true assessment of critical thinking, problem solving and written communication skills, which includes a 60-minute assignment and 30. a minute set of 25 questions with selected answers.
“Several previous studies have shown the role these essential skills play in student success in all areas of learning,” Cartellini said. “The results of our study suggest that the main area of student learning does not significantly affect our ability to effectively assess our skills through assignments, which confirms the study of Bradley and Steedl in 2012 with similar results.”
While the majority of students (approximately 80%) consider themselves proficient in basic college skills and career skills in critical thinking, problem solving and written communication, the percentage of employers who rated recent graduates as possessing these skills varies considerably: 56% for critical thinking / problem solving and 42% for communication (National Association of Colleges and Employers, 2018).
“In addition to knowledge of content, we need to make sure students learn these high-end skills that are rarely taught,” Cartellini said. “These skills are relevant to every area of study, so it is very important for us to provide a domain-dependent assessment that works for all students. By assessing these skills in the early stages of students ‘learning paths and providing targeted development support based on assessment results, educators can improve students’ academic and career outcomes. ”
To watch the AERA conference presentation, visit CAE’s website.
A nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve student outcomes, CAE develops performance-based and user-based assessments that truthfully measure students ’core skills of college and career readiness and identify opportunities for student growth. Universal Assessment of Learning (CLA +) CAE for Higher Education, Assessment of College and Career Readiness (CCRA +) for Secondary Education and Assessment of Success Skills (SSA +) for any level, assess skills most required by educational institutions and employers: critical thinking, problem solving and effective written communication. Based on CAE research, these skills predict positive outcomes in studies and careers. CAE also works with its clients to develop innovative performance assessments that measure designs vital to students, faculty, and institutions, including subject area and class assessments. Since 2002, more than 800,000 students from more than 1,300 secondary and higher education institutions around the world have passed the CAE assessment. To learn more, visit www.cae.org.