Assessment in Action

University of Akron Main Campus: Project Description

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Primary Outcome Examined (select one or more)

Student Learning: Assignment

(No) Student Learning: Course

(No) Student Learning: Major

(No) Student Learning: Degree

(No) Student Engagement

Student Success

(No) Academic Intimacy/Rapport

(No) Enrollment

(No) Retention

(No) Completion

(No) Graduation

(No) Articulation

(No) Graduates' Career Success

(No) Testing (e.g., GRE, MCAT, LSAT, CAAP, CLA, MAPP)

(No) Other (please describe)

Primary Library Factor Examined (select one or more)


(No) Instruction: Games

(No) Instruction: One Shot

Instruction: Course Embedded

(No) Instruction: Self-Paced Tutorials

(No) Reference

(No) Educational Role (other than reference or instruction)

(No) Space, Physical

(No) Discovery (library resources integrated in institutional web and other information portals)

(No) Discovery (library resource guides)

(No) Discovery (from preferred user starting points)

(No) Collections (quality, depth, diversity, format or currency)

(No) Personnel (number and quality)

(No) Other (please describe)

Student Population (select one or more)


(No) Graduate

(No) Incoming

(No) Graduating

(No) Pre-College/Developmental/Basic Skills

(No) Other (please describe)

Discipline (select one or more)

(No) Arts


Social Sciences

(No) Natural Sciences (i.e., space, earth, life, chemistry or physics)

(No) Formal Sciences (i.e., computer science, logic, mathematics, statistics or systems science)

(No) Professions/Applied Sciences

(No) English Composition

General Education

(No) Information Literacy Credit Course

(No) Other (please describe)

AiA Team Members (select one or more)

(No) Assessment Office

Institutional Research

Teaching Faculty

(No) Writing Center

Information/Academic Technology

(No) Student Affairs

(No) Campus Administrator

Library Administrator

Other Librarian

(No) Other (please describe)

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Methods and Tools (select one or more)

(No) Survey

(No) Interviews

(No) Focus Group(s)

(No) Observation

(No) Pre/Post Test


(No) Other (please describe)

Direct Data Type (select one or more)

(No) Student Portfolio

(No) Research Paper/Project

Class Assignment (other than research paper/project)

(No) Other (please describe)

Indirect Data Type (select one or more)

(No) Test Scores


(No) Degree Completion Rate

(No) Retention Rate

Other (please describe)

course grade averages

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Executive Summary (150 words open)

  • How does the project align with your institution’s priorities and needs?
  • Why did you choose the outcome and library factor as areas to examine?
  • Why was the team composition appropriate?

  1. Our project aligns with two significant campus initiatives:

    1) In May 2014 our Faculty Senate adopted a revised general education curriculum, which now includes information literacy as a stated student learning outcome.

    2) In 2013, the Higher Learning Commission (UA’s accrediting body) mandated a focused campus visit in February 2015, emphasizing the need for strategic assessment of academic programs, including the general education program. This resulted in the formation of a campus-wide taskforce on assessment.

    Gauging students’ current level of information literacy in two of UA’s Gen Ed courses, provides valuable data for developing strategies for curriculum development and systematic assessment of student learning.

    The team encompassed an ideal array of expertise from across campus, including librarians, English and Communication professors, and professional staff from the offices of Institutional Research, and Design & Development (Instructional Technology).

  • What are the significant contributions of your project?
  • What was learned about assessing the library’s impact on student learning and success?
  • What was learned about creating or contributing to a culture of assessment on campus?
  • What, if any, are the significant findings of your project?

  1. The most significant contribution of our project lies in the fact that it has drawn attention from assessment leaders on campus and increased the visibility of the library as a vital collaborative partner in curriculum development and student success.

    Our data confirmed that the evaluation of information sources poses one of the biggest challenges for students in the Public Speaking course. Students in the English Composition class scored a little higher in this area, which likely is a result of source evaluation as a more integral part of the Composition curriculum.

    While our students do fairly well in identifying appropriate keywords, most of them do not demonstrate proficient skills in identifying relevant databases and critically evaluating their sources. This confirms anecdotal data from previous semesters. Our ability to present this evidence to assessment leaders, administrators, and faculty across campus strengthens our outreach efforts to integrate information literacy into the curriculum.

  • What will you change as a result of what you learned (– e.g., institutional activities, library functions or practices, personal/professional practice, other)?
  • How does this project contribute to current, past, or future assessment activities on your campus?

  1. This project has had a significant impact on the future curriculum of the Public Speaking course, as it provides the groundwork for aligning this course with the student learning outcomes of the Gen Ed curriculum, namely the integration of information literacy.

    While our data confirms the need to improve students’ IL skills, we also recognize the necessity to expand our outreach efforts with faculty. Most students in this project did not access the additional IL resources provided. We need to improve our communication with instructors about the value of information literacy so that, in turn, they will motivate and/or require students to engage with our learning objects.

    Based on this project, our long-term goals are:
    • curriculum mapping of Gen Ed courses to scaffold IL instruction and avoid repeat IL assignments
    • consistent IL instruction and assessment throughout all Gen Ed courses
    • ongoing promotion of IL through workshops with Gen Ed instructors

Please list any articles published, presentations given, URL of project website, and team leader contact details.

  1. “Who’s Afraid of…Assessment?” Presentation/Workshop at the Institute of Teaching and Learning, University of Akron, February 16 and 17, 2015. (February 16, 2015)

    Gersch, Beate. “Assessment in Action: Information Literacy in the General Education Curriculum.” The University of Akron—University Libraries. n.d., Web. 06 June 2015.
    (Note: Due to the transition to LibGuides 2.0, this URL will most likely change in September 2015 to

    Beate Gersch, Coordinator of Instruction Services
    University Libraries, University of Akron,