Selected Findings

  • Students with stronger high school academic preparation demonstrate higher CLA performance as entering freshmen and improve more on the CLA during the first two years of college.
  • Hours spent studying alone are positively associated with improvement in CLA performance, whereas hours spent studying in groups and hours spent in fraternities/sororities are negatively associated with improvement in CLA performance
  • Four dimensions of group disadvantage (family background, linguistic background, high school segregation, racial/ethnic minority status) are associated with lower initial performance on the CLA and slower rates of improvement over the first two years of college.


This report, published in November 2008, is an initial report of findings from Phase 1 of the CLA Longitudinal Study. It uses two years of data from over 2,300 students at 24 institutions to examine correlates of learning in higher education. Learning is assessed along the dimensions of critical thinking, analytical reasoning and written communication, as measured by the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA). The report presents some factors associated with growth on the CLA, and examines patterns of social inequality in CLA performance.