FAYETTE, Iowa (August 27, 2009) -- For the third consecutive year, the Council for Aid to Education (CAE) has identified Upper Iowa University among the top 25% of colleges and universities nationally for improving students' analytic writing and problem-solving skills. This year's results place Upper Iowa above 77% of its testing competitors for enhancing student learning in these vital areas.
"We view these tests as a valuable measure that our students are receiving a first-rate education at Upper Iowa University," said Dr. Alan G. Walker, UIU president. "Academic excellent is an ongoing goal, achieved by hiring highly-degreed faculty that teach to smaller class sizes. Credit can also be given to our two classes per eight week term schedule that allows all of our students the ability to concentrate on their studies, giving them a more viable chance to succeed in their education." He added, "This is worthwhile information that discriminating parents and prospective students should consider when choosing a college."
Upper Iowa's 2009 seniors did particularly well in those sections of the test measuring analytic writing skills and the ability to critique an argument. In both areas UIU ranked in the 93rd percentile (top 7%) nationally for value added to its entering students' ability levels.
Dr. Nick Serra, chair of the Division of Liberal Arts and Humanities, reiterated Walker's comments, stating, "The results really aren't that surprising to me. We are tremendously proud of our writing faculty, and we make sure to keep class size down to a number that allows the instructor to really teach each individual student. That's the Upper Iowa difference."
Upper Iowa is one of 194 representative U. S. institutions administering CAE's Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) test to its freshmen and seniors. The test is designed to measure students' skills in such critical thinking areas as the ability to construct reasonable written arguments, to identify and use valid evidence, and to approach a problem from multiple perspectives. It further measures a student's ability to critique an argument as well as to make one. Freshman scores are then compared with senior scores to determine how much a student cohort has actually learned in those essential areas over its college years.
Other Iowa colleges and universities participating in CLA testing include Central College, Drake University, Luther College and Morningside College.
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