CAAP determines university standing on national scale

Every semester, UNA offers the Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency (CAAP) to determine the skills learned in the general education classes taught during the first two years of college.

This information helps the university in areas such as accreditation, along with individual degree programs. It is a requirement for all UNA students to take it before they can graduate.

The CAAP will cover one of five subjects each semester, which may be science, reading, writing skills, math or critical thinking. Many students taking the CAAP are uncertain as to how it measures them, including senior Jessica Randall.

“I don’t think that it measures each student accurately since we are given only one section to take,” she said.

Students should register to take the CAAP when they have between 44 and 70 hours, usually somewhere around their second semester as a sophomore or as a rising junior. It is only required for first-degree candidates, as students returning for a second degree are not required to take it.

“The test is geared to test people on core courses; it is a basic skills test and not an exit exam,” said Kenda Rusevlyan, the testing coordinator in the Center for Academic Advising and Retention Services. “This is why it’s best to take the CAAP before you are a senior. At that point you are two years away from those courses.”

Students can register for the CAAP the same as they would any course. It is listed under CAP 299 in the schedule of classes and is offered on four different dates in February and September. When registering, students can choose the test day that will best work with their schedule.

“If you sign up for the CAAP and something comes up, we will gladly offer another testing time,” Rusevlyan said. “We are very flexible.”

While the CAAP is not a test that has to be studied for, taking it between sophomore and junior years is also less stressful than waiting, Rusevlyan said.

“If you put this off, it’s just one more thing that will be added to an already packed senior year,” she said.

The test consists of 32 to 36 questions and start to finish takes about 40 minutes. It is shorter than other standardized tests, such as the LSAT, SAT or ACT.

“Imagine if you were to go to the ACT and they told you that you could leave after the first section, and that’s about how the CAAP is; it’s not a whole afternoon,” Rusevlyan said.

The data collected is also used to make sure that students at UNA are getting the education they should be as compared to universities of similar size and cost. Once the test results are returned to UNA, the information is turned over to the Office of Institutional Research, Planning, and Assessment.