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

Polititainment

Madeleine Albright T(witter)KOs Conan

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright bested Conan O'Brien by Twitter knockout Thursday night, ribbing the comedian with a comeback worthy of a seasoned pro.

Kimmel: Stoner idea or gov. expenditure?
Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R – Okla.) fifth annual “Wastebook” was released Wednesday and some of the federally funded projects are so outrageous that they can be hard to believe. Late night host Jimmy Kimmel had the same thought and offered his audience a quiz. He read the name of a project, some real and some […]
Obama channels Chris Rock again

At rallies for Democrats in Maryland and Illinois on Sunday, Obama dropped the name "Cousin Pookie" -- a character that he used frequently to energize black voters during his 2008 campaign -- during his speeches.

Oliver beats Supreme Court's camera ban
Comedian John Oliver is sick of the Supreme Court ban on cameras in the court room and the ridiculous ways it makes television news stations have to cover those cases. But all hope is not lost. “What happens at the Supreme Court is way too important not to pay attention to and yet the ban […]
Stewart and Colbert go after 'Fangate'

Both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert had a field day with “Fangate” Thursday night.

White House

Obama is withholding over 15,000 Fast and Furious documents

President Obama claimed executive privilege to withhold over 15,000 documents relating to Operation Fast and Furious, including nearly 20 emails sent between Attorney General Eric Holder and his wife.

White House fence jumper charged with assault
WASHINGTON (AP) — The 23-year-old Maryland man who climbed over the White House fence Wednesday night has been charged with felonies for assaulting two police dogs and making threats, the Secret Service said Thursday. Dominic Adesanya of Bel Air, Maryland, is in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service for previous outstanding warrants, Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said. […]
President Obama, unpaid bills and the curious editing of the White House transcript
President Obama, some unpaid bills and a curiously “inaudible” section of the White House recording of a speech — that’s how all good stories start, right? While at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Chicago, Obama cracked a joke about the “unpaid bills” at his home. The joke was reported by the White House Press […]
Secrecy shrouds how the Obamas cook their chicken wings

Now it seems the Obamas are tight-lipped even about their eating habits.

Obama delivers devastating blow to red state Democrats, calls them ‘all folks who vote with me’
President Obama can’t seem to stay out of the 2014 midterm elections, no matter how much his fellow Democrats want him to. Obama spoke on Al Sharpton’s radio show Monday, which was later replayed on MSNBC, insisting that red state Democrats are still his “strong allies.” “A lot of the states that are contested this time […]

Congress

Rand Paul: ‘The war on terror is not over’

Rand Paul attempted to lay out his recently evolving foreign policy vision at his speech Thursday night at the Center for the National Interest.

McCarthy speaks out against 'Truthy' study
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is joining the growing dissent against the federally-funded “Truthy” study designed to monitor political speech on social media. In a blog post Thursday, titled “#KillingFreeSpeech,” McCarthy promises that the House Committee on Science will be conducting oversight “in the coming months on this and other questionable government-funded research projects.” “Why does the government […]
CIA agents impersonated Senate staffers to snoop
Despite a number of growing foreign and domestic threats over the summer, the CIA admitted that they had been using their resources to spy on elected officials in the Senate. Now, insiders are alleging that it’s not just what they did that is the problem, but how they went about it. A new piece by the […]
Republicans say they will reform the IRS

Republicans are talking about reforming the IRS if they gain the majority in the Senate next month, but seem to be treading with caution on making any specific promises.

'Wastebook' finds $25B in 'unnecessary' spending
Monkey gambling, synchronized swimming sea monkeys, and mountain lions on treadmills, oh my! Sen. Tom Coburn (R – Okla.) released his fifth and final “Wastebook” Wednesday, chronicling $25 billion tax dollars spent on 100  “silly, unnecessary, and low priority projects” this year. His findings are absolutely astonishing. Coburn, who is retiring this year, is not letting his fellow […]