Assessment in Action

Des Moines Area Community College: Project Description

Page 1


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

(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


Social Sciences

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

English Composition

General Education

Information Literacy Credit Course

Other (please describe)

AiA Team Members (select one or more)

(No) Assessment Office

Institutional Research

Teaching Faculty

Writing Center

(No) Information/Academic Technology

Student Affairs

Campus Administrator

Library Administrator

Other Librarian

(No) Other (please describe)

Page 2


Methods and Tools (select one or more)

(No) Survey

(No) Interviews

(No) Focus Group(s)

(No) Observation

(No) Pre/Post Test

(No) Rubric

Other (please describe)

Class assignment

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) GPA

(No) Degree Completion Rate

(No) Retention Rate

(No) Other (please describe)

Page 3

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. This project aligns with the institutional goals related to student success. Our primary goal was to examine student understanding of online library resources (databases) as compared to general Internet search engines, and the impact that library instruction has on that conceptual understanding. This was deemed to be important to the success of our students as, anecdotally, it appeared that students lack the conceptual frameworks necessary to fully understand what information databases contain, how they are searched, and how they are different from a general Internet search engine. The team was comprised of teaching faculty, administrators and librarians from across our campus. This was also important because there are important implications not only for library instruction but classroom instruction as well.

  • 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. While examining what impact instruction has on student understanding of basic online research resources, there are subquestions to be addressed. There is much in the literature demonstrating instruction improves student outcomes, but there is little about the impact of instruction on student understanding of resources. We take it for granted that students understand that a database and Google are not the same thing. However, not all students share that understanding. Our research leads us to further believe that many students maintain a fairly vague understanding of these resources. We also concluded that students have little understanding of the differences between databases or how to construct a search string. We were surprised to see what a major, and negative, impact poor spelling skills has on student success with library databases.

  • 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. We have already begun to work with the institutional assessment office to review the assessment tool and how it is delivered. Our plan is to revise the tool and move it from an assignment that fits many course subjects and research projects to one that specifically addresses library needs. As a result, some questions will be revised, others eliminated. Additionally, we plan to move this from a paper-based classroom assignment to an online activity that could be administered as part of a “one-shot” library instruction session. By creating a foundation this past year, and continuing to carry out the assessment in the future, we hope to help our administrators tell the library story and the role we play in student success. While it is unlikely that we will be able to continue this project at a level for publication, this is an area that deserves more attention in the professional literature.

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

  1. This project was presented at the 2015 Iowa Statewide Teaching and Learning Conference in Waterloo, IA.

    Team Leader Contact:
    Polly Mumma, Librarian
    Urban/Des Moines Campus
    Des Moines Area Community College
    1100 7th Street
    Des Moines, IA 50314

DMACC_AIA_Poster.pdf If I Can't Use Google, How Am I Supposed to Complete This Assignment?