I think most people would agree that the skills like critical thinking, complex reasoningand writing -- the skills that CAE
measure -- are pretty important.Bill Gates,
The Gates Notes
The skills needed by today’s students are ar greater than thoserequired o students just a decade or so ago. Students can nolonger rely solely on collection and mastery o disciplinary-based inormation. Rather, they need to be able analyze andevaluate inormation, solve problems, and communicateefectively to a variety o audiences.Content, distributed over the internet, is increasingly ree andtremendously easy to access. While students have a massiveamount o inormation available at their ngertips, they need tobe able to successully process that inormation, make sense o it, and evaluate and apply it to real world settings. In short, theyneed to exhibit the ability to think critically. But how do weknow i students possess this ability?Since 2002, CAE has pioneered the use o perormance-basedassessments or determining whether students can, indeed,make use o inormation in a suciently critical way. To dateover 700 institutions--both in the United States andinternationally--have participated in our perormance assess-ments, either through the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA)or the College and Work Readiness Assessment (CWRA).Perormance assessments--constructed response instrumentsthat require students to demonstrate their ability to perorm--are directly aligned with current reorm eforts in the improve-ment and evolution o teaching and learning. When the CWRAwas ounded, these perormance assessments were designed toprovide high school educators with evidence about how theirstudents as a whole were perorming on the 21st Century skillsmeasured by the CWRA.We are pleased to announce that through the next iteration o the CWRA, CWRA+, we are now able to provide this sameinormation at the individual-student level.CWRA+ retains aspects o the CWRA that have made it noveland indispensible or educational improvement. Chie amongthese retentions is the Perormance Task. An improved versiono the Perormance Task remains the anchor o CWRA+, but isnow combined with a selected response section (modeled onand aligned to the Perormance Tasks themselves).Selected response items improve the precision o student-levelresults, meaning that these data points may now be used byaculty to provide direct, ormative eedback to students, or oruse in making individualized decisions about grading, scholar-ships, admission, or placement. These additional uses are acilitated by new--common-corealigned--subscore categories, expanded norming groups (suchas independent schools), and criterion-reerenced prociencylevels that indicate how well students have mastered the skillsmeasured by CWRA+. We’re also pleased to announce that, orthe rst time, middle schools may participate in CWRA+through the assessment o their 8th grade students.Our undamental goal at CAE has been and remains the betteralignment o assessment with teaching and learning. It is withthis goal in mind that we are pleased to introduce CWRA+.
We need to insist on a combination o locally developed assessments and newnationally-normed online tests, such as the CWRA, that measure students’ analytic-reasoning, critical thinking, problem-solving, and writing skills. Tony Wagner,