Exit exam is like post-college SAT

college studentsCollege seniors already feel the pressure of trying to bolster their resumes with real-world experience and keep their grades up, all in hopes of finding a great job once their degrees are in hand. But they now might have one more hurdle to conquer before full-time employment — a college exit exam.

According to The Wall Street Journal, seniors at 200 U.S. colleges will take the Collegiate Learning Assessment, or CLA+, next spring. Employers are tired of college graduates with good grades and impressive resumes being lousy employees, and the college exit test could provide a way to more accurately judge a grad’s job readiness.

The CLA+ “is a performance-task based assessment that measures your critical thinking, analytic reasoning, problem solving, and written communication skills,” according to a practice test. It provides students with a real-world scenario and asks them to problem-solve using additional information. The test is scored on a 1600-point system, like the SAT was previously. The CLA+ was first launched in 2000 by the Council for Aid to Education.

“For too long, colleges and universities have said to the American public, to students and their parents, ‘Trust us, we’re professional. If we say that you’re learning and we give you a diploma it means you’re prepared,'” Michael Poliakoff, vice president of policy for the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, told The Journal. “But that’s not true.”

And with grade point averages on the rise, the test could separate prepared graduates from students who simply knew how to master the requirements of a college course. As The Economist reported at the end of last year, the average GPA increased from 2.52 in the 1950s to 3.11 in 2006. And the numbers of A grades awarded at four-year colleges has increased too, jumping from 15 percent in 1960 to 43 percent. It could be a sign that students are getting smarter, or it could indicate that colleges aren’t rigorous enough.

“I think at some point everybody has been fooled by good grades or a good resume,” Michael Sweeney, a senior vice president at architecture firm HNTB Corp., told The Journal.

The CLA+, and other tests like it, could pose a risk for colleges, however. If exit tests gains widespread usage and a school’s students consistently perform poorly on the tests, colleges once thought as excellent education institutions might lose some of their credibility.

But graduates who are willing to take another test could get an edge on their peers by taking the exit exam.

“It kind of sucks that an employer can’t trust your GPA, but that’s the way it is right now, so this also an opportunity,” Cory LaDuke, a 21-year-old senior at St. John Fisher, told The Journal. “It’s another way to prove yourself.”

And with youth unemployment at 11.6 percent in July, many graduates are desperate for any means of securing a job — even if it means taking one more test.

Comments

Jimmy Kimmel 'censors' Obama

Thanks to some mischievous editing from Jimmy Kimmel, these originally innocent TV clips will put your mind straight in the gutter.

Jon Stewart: Fox News is 'killing' him

As his days on the Daily Show wind down, Jon Stewart wants to make sure we are all aware how much he really, really hates Fox News.

Jay Carney is going to work for Amazon

Imagining an Amazon customer service call with Jay Carney on the line.

Ron Swanson, libertarian visionary

We're sad to say that "Parks and Rec" has aired its finale episode, leaving a Pawnee-shaped hole in our hearts.

Jon Stewart defends Bill O'Reilly

Bill O’Reilly, whom a Mother Jones report has accused of Brian-Williams-like war reporting exaggerations, has an unlikely defender: his long-time sparring partner, Jon Stewart.

White House

Calling for cooperation, Obama engages in confrontation

WASHINGTON (AP) — Amid appeals for bipartisanship, President Barack Obama in just three days has provoked Republicans on issues as disparate as immigration, Wall Street and the Keystone XL pipeline — a combative mix of defense and offense that underscores Washington's political realignment.

It’s on: Obama follows through and vetoes Keystone pipeline

Defying the Republican-run Congress, President Barack Obama rejected a bill Tuesday to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, wielding his veto power for only the third time in his presidency.

Biden: The middle class is ‘being killed,’ in worse shape than any time since the ’20s

Joe Biden—everyone’s favorite creeper and truth-bomb-dropper.

MSNBC Host: Obama’s terrorism summit is a ‘dog and pony show’
You know it’s bad when President Obama has even lost the support of MSNBC. MSNBC Host Andrea Mitchell basically called the White House’s Summit on “Countering Violent Extremism” a farce during her show Wednesday. “Here he has the summit, no heads of government coming, the participation has not been at a particularly high level. We’ll have […]
Obama assures ‘almost complete confidence’ there have been no NSA abuses

The president’s interview with Re/code over the weekend touched on privacy issues, with Obama insisting with “almost complete confidence” that there have been no abuses of the government’s vast surveillance program.

Congress

Rand Paul calls on Hillary to retire

Rand Paul’s speech at CPAC Friday felt a lot like a campaign rally—and the crowd left little room to doubt that they wanted it that way, breaking out into chants of “President Paul! President Paul!” at least three times over the course of his remarks.

Cruz: Obama, Carter similarities 'uncanny'
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has his sights set on 2016, but he is not very optimistic about what will happen both at home and abroad in the mean time. Cruz laid out his predictions for the direction he believes President Obama is leading the country in during a round table event with reporters and bloggers […]
Cruz calls Lynch vote 'heartbreaking'
Loretta Lynch won approval from a key Senate committee Thursday to serve as the nation’s next attorney general, as divided Republicans clashed over her support for President Barack Obama’s immigration policies. The 12 to 8 vote in the Judiciary Committee sent Lynch’s nomination to the full Senate. Three Republicans joined all committee Democrats in voting “yes.” […]
It's Warren 2015, not '16

There seems to be a lot of talk about political "branding" lately. Allow Elizabeth Warren to take a crack at it.

Rand Paul calls Giuliani comments

Rand Paul pushed back on Rudy Giuliani’s controversial comments about Obama’s lack of patriotism, saying he prefers to question policy rather than motive.