Some colleges requiring exit exams

9:14 PM, Sep 9, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS -- As new students start classes at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, many are focused on life after. But senior Mia Calderone found out there's more than meets the eye.

"I had the vision of art school is going to be really heavily just working technically," she said.

It wall that and more. Since 2010 MCAD has measured students critical and analytic thinking skills using a test called the Collegiate Learning Assessment Plus, or CLA+. Students take it when they start school and another one when they graduate.

"We were really looking for some assessment tools to gauge our liberal arts classes," Thomas Haakenson, associate vice president of academic affairs, said.

The goal is two-fold. Haakenson said MCAD wants to evaluate their curriculum and students get results they can put on their resume.

"When they graduate they also produce a visual portfolio which contains a lot of their illustrative or graphic design work and they have the CLA as well as their GPA to demonstrate their critical thinking skills to potential employers," he said.

The computerized test gives students real-world issues to work through and then write their own solutions. Students are scored on their arguments.

Calderone has not received her score yet but believes the results will help her find her dream job in Germany.

"It's really going to provide a full spectrum of what my skills can be even though my degree is an illustration degree," she said.

Other schools like Augsburg, Concordia, the College of St. John's and St. St. Benedicts are also offering the test.

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