Harvard begins using Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA)--tagline, "Life is not like a multiple choice test"--to try to determine ". . . how students in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences progress in acquiring critical-thinking skills during their College years, and how they compare to students elsewhere."
Interesting bit from the CLA website:
Though some institutions are attempting to address the issue of training for analytical writing in a variety of contexts, there are two remaining problems. First, there is no check to ensure that writing intensive courses are meeting the goal of teaching the analytical writing skills. Second, the unfortunate result of a writing intensive mandate for some classes is that students may feel that writing in courses that are not designated as writing intensive is unfair because no writing credit is earned. This creates additional social pressure on instructors to do away with written responses in their courses unless designated to do so by their institution. The message inferred by the students and others may be that analytical writing is not a fundamental part of learning and performance in every subject and every class. Evaluating schools on the basis of analytical writing is a major start to changing that message.