Press Release

CAE to Participate in Discussion on Essential Skills for Success At Guadalajara International Book Fair

Doris Zahner, CAE’s chief academic officer, will share findings from new OECD report exploring whether global higher education graduates are gaining essential skills

NEW YORK, Dec. 2, 2022 | Source: GlobeNewswire

The Council for Aid to Education, Inc. (CAE), a nonprofit developer of assessments that measure students’ essential academic and career skills, today announced its chief academic officer, Doris Zahner Ph.D., will join global higher education leaders for a panel discussion at the 36th Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL) in December. The session, “Towards a new social contract: How to achieve student success?” will be held Friday, Dec. 2, 12:30 p.m. CST/1:30 p.m. EST, at the Santander Performing Arts Complex, Room 3.

To watch the live panel presentation on Facebook, click here.

Dr. Zahner will present with experts from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE), Escuela de Gobierno y Transformación Pública by Tecnológico de Monterrey and the University of Guadalajara.

Dr. Zahner and co-editor Dr. Dirk Van Damme, former head of the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation at the OECD, will discuss findings from the August report they co-edited‘Does higher education teach students to think critically?’. Published by the OECD, an intergovernmental body comprising 38 member countries that works to stimulate economic progress and world trade, the report examines whether global higher education graduates are gaining essential skills, such as critical thinking.

“The results show the importance of measuring and improving higher education students’ critical thinking and written communication skills on an international level,” said Dr. Zahner. “CAE appreciates the opportunity to join other global education leaders at the Guadalajara International Book Fair to share these important findings.”

Additional panelists include: Dr. Judith Eaton, former president of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation in the U.S. and CAE board member; Dr. Mario López Roldán, head of the OECD Centre in Mexico; Dr. Deborah Adair, executive director and CEO of Quality Matters and president of INQAAHE; Dr. Alejandro Poiré Romero, dean at Escuela de Gobierno y Transformación Pública by Tecnológico de Monterrey; Dr. Carlos Iván Moreno Arellano, academic and innovation general coordinator, the University of Guadalajara and Dr. Patricia Rosas Chávez, director of the Transdisciplinary Literacy Institute, the University of Guadalajara.

The experts will share their views on how higher education can ensure the right to quality education and help students fully realize their potential. They will discuss the role of innovative assessments to improve quality and to guide policy and curriculum.

For the OECD study, CAE’s performance-based Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA+) was used to measure critical thinking and written communication skills of over 120,000 participants across seven countries including Mexico, as well as the U.S., United Kingdom, Italy, Finland, Chile, and Australia, between 2016 and 2021.

The results showed an increase in critical thinking and written communication skills between entering and exiting higher education students in the global sample. However, upon graduation, 47% of the students in the sample were not proficient, indicating an opportunity to improve these skills during higher education. The report also presents evidence that these skills can be measured using a valid and reliable performance-based assessment in an international context.

The OECD report is available to read online for free or to purchase at:

About CAE
Since 2002, CAE has developed performance-based and custom assessments that authentically measure students’ essential academic and career skills. Our Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA+) and Success Skills Assessment (SSA+) for higher education and College and Career Readiness Assessment (CCRA+) for secondary education evaluate the skills that are predictive of positive college and career outcomes and in demand by employers: critical thinking, problem solving and effective written communication. Over 825,000 students at more than 1,300 secondary and higher education institutions globally have completed CAE’s essential skills assessments.

As a nonprofit whose mission is to improve student outcomes, CAE also offers critical thinking skills curriculum, professional development, and designs custom, innovative performance assessments across all subject areas and grades. To learn more, please visit and follow us on LinkedInYouTube and Twitter.

About OECD
The OECD Directorate for Education and Skills seeks to help individuals and nations to identify and develop the knowledge, skills and values that drive better jobs and better lives, generate prosperity and promote social inclusion. It assists OECD countries and partner economies in designing and managing their education and skills systems, and in implementing reforms, so that citizens can develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values they need throughout their lives. Learn more about the OECD’s work on Education and Skills by visiting and following

The results show the importance of measuring and improving higher education students’ critical thinking and written communication skills on an international level. ~Dr. Doris Zahner, Chief Academic Officer, CAE
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