$24,993 over 12 months. These three New Jersey institutions will undertake a collaborative study to develop both a rationale for, and an appropriate means of using standardized assessment data from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) to improve the practice of teaching and its impact on students' learning in the liberal arts and sciences. More specifically, the project aims to assess students' critical thinking, analytic reasoning, written communication and problem solving abilities; to identify areas needing improvement; to examine and share practices for changes in instructional focus in general or for specific groups of students through the curriculum; to plan ways to use the data to guide institutional improvement. Campus teams of 5-6 faculty will comprise the core planning group. They will develop a systematic method of analysis which combines the data from NSSE and CLA in a process of convergent validation; that is, they will group together those NSSE questions that relate to primary learning outcomes targeted by the CLA (critical thinking, analytic reasoning, written communication, and problem solving) to uncover any relationship between students' reports of instructional and co-curricular experiences (as gauged by NSSE) and their performance on the CLA in these areas. Both tests will be administered to freshmen and seniors. Focus groups with students who have taken the tests will provide further information about the testing process (how students approached it possible sources of ambiguity and other error variables and so on), while focus groups with faculty will help determine how the data—and analysis of the data—can be used to modify instruction in order to enhance student learning. The use of these direct and indirect assessment data will enrich understanding of the gains that students make in these areas and will be the basis for a continuing dialogue about outcomes, instruction, and co-curricular opportunities offered by the colleges.