Assessment in Action

The College of Saint Scholastica: 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

(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)

(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)

(No) Assessment Office

Institutional Research

Teaching Faculty

(No) Writing Center

(No) Information/Academic Technology

(No) Student Affairs

(No) Campus Administrator

Library Administrator

(No) Other Librarian

(No) Other (please describe)

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Methods and Tools (select one or more)


(No) Interviews

(No) Focus Group(s)

(No) Observation

(No) Pre/Post Test

(No) Rubric

(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)

(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. The opportunity to participate in the AiA program came around at just the right time. In 2012 the College of St. Scholastica completed a self-study for the North Central Association's Higher Learning Commission. Among the items selected for closer examination was a more robust and transparent assessment cycle. In addition, the General Education Program was also being evaluated. The new General Education program listed information literacy as a student outcome, so the library was in need of a way to assess instruction, thus the focus of this project on information literacy in the first year program. The project team consisted of the Director of the Library, the Director of Institutional Research, and a faculty member from the Sociology/Psychology Department. This team was chosen because all three members worked closely with the HLC during the accreditation process and have a great deal of experience with survey design and administration.

  • 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 study produced results that are useful in a variety of ways. First, it demonstrates the potential for assessing faculty information literacy skills. The study also pilot-tested the use of authentic performance tasks to assess information literacy, rather than relying primarily on self-reported confidence or ability. This approach seemed to work quite well with the majority of students and faculty completing the survey. Since the library has no credit-bearing course where information literacy can be assessed, faculty view this as an acceptable method for assessing library instruction. As a result, the faculty were very willing to contribute their time to this project. The report found that students and faculty alike report fairly high levels of confidence in their ability to use the library but their responses to more specific questions and their actual performance revealed much more uncertainty and less skill than the confidence responses predicted.

  • 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. The library does not currently offer introductory or in-depth training sessions or pedagogical workshops to enhance faculty information literacy skills. With a small library staff it is impossible to significantly increase information literacy instruction by library faculty. Diverting some library faculty time for workshops offered to the faculty could have a multiplier effect: the faculty can reinforce and enhance the skills that students gain in their one-shot sessions with a librarian. The library will also commit to participating in the College's regular assessment cycle in order to improve the instruction program. This is an important contribution the library can make as the College moves forward with the type of assessment necessary to comply with the HLC's request.

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

  1. McGrew, K., Bogue, E., & Else, I. (2015, June). Unschooled and unaware: Authentic assessment of faculty and student information literacy. Poster session presented at the American Library Association Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA.

    Team Leader:
    Kevin McGrew
    Director of the Library
    The College of St. Scholastica
    1200 Kenwood Avenue
    Duluth, MN 55811

The ability of non-library faculty to support student information literacy learning has not been assessed. An online instrument administered to 205 undergraduate students and 41 faculty members provided authentic assessment of their ability to effectively determine their need, locate and evaluate sources, and recognize ethical and legal use of information. Confidence in information literacy competence was also assessed. Faculty and students differed significantly in their level of skill and awareness of it.
AiA_Poster_-_CSS2015.pdf Unschooled and Unaware: Authentic Assessment of Faculty and Student Information Literacy