(Press Release courtesy of the good folks at the Council for Aid to Education)
Director of Business Development,
BILL GATES CITES THE IMPORTANCE OF CRITICAL THINKING, PROBLEM SOLVING, COMPLEX REASONING, AND WRITING SKILLS
The Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) is singled out by the Microsoft founder, and joins the growing list of important educational technologies identified by Mr. Gates.
New York, NY, December 3, 2012 – Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, recently advocated using measures such as the CLA to assess college success in “an increasingly competitive global economy.” The Microsoft founder has shown a track record of identifying important technologies and trends in education.
Gates wrote on his blog, The Gates Notes, that “most people would agree that skills like critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing—the things the [CLA] test does measure—are pretty important.” The full blog entry can be found at www.thegatesnotes.com/books/education/academically-adrift.
Gates’s affirmation of the importance of these skills comes on the heels of industry leaders decrying the “skills gap.” The skills gap refers to the difference between the level of skills many entering job applicants evidence and the higher level of skills required for twenty-first century jobs.
Many in the business community have called for renewed efforts in education to fill the skills gap. According to a 2010 survey commissioned by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU), an overwhelming percentage of employers feel that college should be placing more emphasis on the essential learning outcomes that Gates deems important and that the CLA measures. (See: www.aacu.org/leap/public_opinion_research.cfm)
“We are quite pleased to see such an important visionary as Bill Gates recognize the value of critical-thinking, problem-solving, and communications skills in the knowledge economy, and to find that we share the common goal of ensuring that students enter the workforce possessing these skills,” said Roger Benjamin, CAE president.
CAE is a non-profit organization best known for its work on measuring and improving the quality of secondary and postsecondary education. CAE features two nationwide assessment programs—the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) and the College & Work Readiness Assessment (CWRA). These instruments provide members schools with tools to improve critical thinking and writing skills through the connection of effective teaching, learning, and assessment efforts framed through authentic performance-based practices. To date, over 700 high schools and colleges, nationally and internationally, have administered the CLA and CWRA.
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