Assessment in Action

Kalamazoo 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

(No) Instruction: Games

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)



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

(No) English Composition

(No) General Education

(No) Information Literacy Credit Course

(No) Other (please describe)

AiA Team Members (select one or more)

(No) Assessment Office

(No) Institutional Research

Teaching Faculty

Writing Center

(No) Information/Academic Technology

(No) Student Affairs

(No) Campus Administrator

(No) 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) Other (please describe)

Direct Data Type (select one or more)

(No) Student Portfolio

(No) Research Paper/Project

(No) Class Assignment (other than research paper/project)

Other (please describe)

Annotated Bibliography

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. One of the four components of the K-Plan, Kalamazoo College’s framework for a liberal arts education, is to foster independent scholarship. Additionally, a stated outcomes of an education at Kalamazoo College is the ability to think critically, reason analytically, and solve problems effectively. Both of these elements begin in the First Year Seminar, one of three seminars required of all students. The library workshop is an important part of that seminar. Because the workshop was recently redesigned to meet the needs of our incoming students, we felt it was time to see if we were meeting our goals. The assessment team, made up of librarians and faculty who teach in the First Year Seminar program, were all invested in the Seminar program. Results from this project will be used with other instruments to help the College assess the degree to which our students attain this important learning outcome.

  • 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. This project was the library’s first attempt at formally assessing our First Year Seminar students. As a first step, our project found that while students are able to proficiently describe the source material, they are less able to analyze its importance and what value it has for their research project. Without a pre-test, we relied on conversations with faculty to estimate students’ abilities at the beginning of the Seminar. We think these results are an opportunity for the library to continue its push to be a regular part of the seminar students are required to take their Sophomore year. The project has given us a framework to build for future assessment of First Year Seminar library workshops.

  • 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. During discussions on our project, several things became clear: we need some sort of pre-test to combine with the evaluation of the annotated bibliography project, we need to consider revising the rubric to tie it more closely to the specific assignment, and we need to recruit more faculty to participate in order to move the assessment project out of its “pilot” phase. Though the official part of the AiA project is finished, the individuals on the team will continue to work on the information literacy component in our seminars. Now that the groundwork has been laid, some sort of assessment will continue in conjunction with the First Year Seminar library workshop. It may or may not be the same assessment tool, but this has been a good start

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

  1. Team leader contact details:
    Liz Sloan Smith
    Reference and Instruction Librarian
    Kalamazoo College
    1200 Academy St.
    Kalamazoo, MI 49006

AiA_FINAL_poster.pdf Using Annotated Bibliographies to Evaluate Critical Thinking Skills in First Year Seminar Students