The latest xkcd:
Mouseover title: "I hear Steven Levitt is writing a book analyzing A.J. Jacobs' quest to spend a year reading everything Malcolm Gladwell ever wrote. The audiobook will be narrated by Robert Krulwich of Radiolab."
(As usual, click on the image for a larger version.)
Performance task: You are an academic administrator at an American university. Read some background material about the Collegiate Learning Assessment, the recent book Academically Adrift, and some of the the responses to it.
Please prepare a memo that addresses the question of how your institution should deal with this controversy, considering both the public-relations aspect and also the meaning (if any) of the CLA numbers. Include a discussion of test reliability, paying specific attention to the role of motivation in test outcomes, and the expected change in student motivation from freshman to senior year, especially in the case of tests whose results are used to evaluate institutions and not individual students. Finally, consider the relationship between the attitudes satirized in the cartoon and the testing philosophy of the College Learning Assessment, including the fact that the Malcolm Gladwell Book Generator has gone viral.
Click here to learn more about the definitions of the skills assessed by the CLA and the criteria used for scoring the CLA measures.