Assessment in Action

Arkansas Tech University: Project Description

Page 1


Primary Outcome Examined (select one or more)

(No) Student Learning: Assignment

Student Learning: Course

(No) Student Learning: Major

(No) Student Learning: Degree

(No) Student Engagement

(No) 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

(No) 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

(No) Humanities

(No) 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)

Assessment Office

(No) Institutional Research

Teaching Faculty

(No) Writing Center

(No) Information/Academic Technology

(No) Student Affairs

Campus Administrator

(No) Library Administrator

(No) 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

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) GPA

(No) Degree Completion Rate

(No) Retention Rate

(No) Other (please describe)

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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. Critical thinking is a specific goal of the general education program and is part of the mission for student success of the institution. Critical thinking and information literacy are closely related. The one credit-hour elective course "Introduction to Library Resources" is based on the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (2000) and is designed to promote higher order thinking in students. Our team wanted to find evidence of the critical thinking skills used in the class. The team composition was appropriated because we had an instructional designer/education faculty member to look at the curriculum and a member of the English Faculty to oversee the rubric used for writing assessment. The value of information literacy was important to bring to the attention of the administrative members of the team such as the Assistant VP of Academic Affairs and the Director of Institutional Effectiveness. The latter was invaluable as an adviser to the research design.

  • 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 the project was that it brought information literacy (IL) awareness to stakeholders within the university. The project opened a conversation about the benefits of library instruction throughout the curriculum. We were able to show the correlation between information literacy and critical thinking and the importance of students' abilities to seek, evaluate, and use information. The research illustrated the amount of questioning and refining students must do in order to illustrate their use of IL. As team leader I learned how to work with faculty outside of the library and to see IL from another perspective within the larger picture of teaching and learning. Though our findings were not necessarily significant, they did show an increase in students' use of critical thinking in the library course. The process was an invaluable experience and will help the library to promote instruction services and develop materials for use throughout the campus.

  • 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. I have learned a lot about institutional protocols and communication through this project as well as a great deal about assessment. From that I want to create an IL program/plan for the university. Two factors lead me to believe that the course is not the most effective way to impart IL. One is that most students believe they are already proficient researchers and the other is that the instruction is not tied to any relevant research assignment. More collaboration with librarians and faculty to embed instruction into relevant courses should be undertaken. Future assessment projects will be focused on determining the best practices for implementing IL throughout the college career of an undergraduate. This project has expanded the library's assessment practices. Previously library assessment included statistics and an annual survey. This project has paved the way for future research on the impact of library services on student success.

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

  1. Sherry Tinerella
    Arkansas Tech University
    Ross Pendergraft Library & Technology Center
    305 W. Q Street
    Russellville, AR 72801