"It's an effort by universities to show parents, students, consumers of higher education, basically what they get for their money."
The newest version is called the Collegiate Learning Assessment Plus. It is an online, voluntary test with a cash incentive, taken by a sample of freshman and seniors.
"You'll be able to show that freshman coming in graduated with these skills," said Steve Voorhies with the University of Arkansas.
Critical thinking, analytic reasoning, problem solving and writing skills are all analyzed, and the final scores serve as tools for UA.
"You want to know your strengths, you want to know your weaknesses, so you can improve on the weaknesses."
The CLA+ is part of the Voluntary System of Accountability and they are planning to conduct the test again in 2014.
"It shows us and it shows the public, the answer to that question, what do I get for my college tuition? Higher education costs so much, what do you get at the end of it?"