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Fisher to administer new standardized test

Pittsford, N.Y.Starting this year, St. John Fisher College will administer a new standardized test for college students.

The test is called the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) and the 90-minute test measures critical thinking skills.

St. John Fisher College is one of 200 colleges across the country taking part in a pilot program to test its students.

It will be used internally to provide another measure to see how students are progressing, explained College of Arts and Sciences Dean David Pate.

Pate said some freshmen will take the test in September while some juniors and seniors will take the test in spring 2014. The scores will not affect students grades or ability to graduate.

Pate explained that an added benefit of the test is that CLA scores are compared to a national benchmark.

This fact has more and more companies turning to the CLA when making hiring decisions.

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, employers are losing trust in grade point averages or GPAs.

The WSJ article stated that GPAs at US colleges have increased over the past few years. However, only one in four companies felt that colleges were doing a good job of preparing students for a global economy.

Students now have the opportunity take [the CLA] on their own and to see their results and compare it to the benchmark national norms, Pate said. They can put [the score] on their resumes or on their applications for graduate schools.

Incoming St. John Fisher student Anna Phillips said shes not thrilled at the idea of taking another standardized test. However, since it could potentially help a student get a job, Phillips doesnt mind.

I think it would a good thing to know personally, for yourself, how you think critically, Phillips said. It would be a good indicator for the school and if [the score] is sent to employers that could be good useful information for them to hire you.

Pate explained that unlike the SAT, a person cannot study for the CLA. Pate also explained that the results of the CLA could be used to adjust curriculum or methods of teaching at the college.

Angela Hong, 13WHAM-TV
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