Assessment in Action

Western Michigan University: Project Description

Page 1


Primary Outcome Examined (select one or more)

(No) Student Learning: Assignment

Student Learning: Course

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)

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

(No) Writing Center

(No) Information/Academic Technology

(No) Student Affairs

(No) Campus Administrator

(No) Library Administrator

Other Librarian

(No) Other (please describe)

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Methods and Tools (select one or more)



(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

(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)

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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. Western Michigan University's Academic Affairs Strategic Plan and the forthcoming revision of General Education have explicitly cited information literacy as an integral component to undergraduate education. Professional organizations for health science schools also recognize the need for students to graduate with information literacy competencies in order to succeed in their professions.

    The Assessment in Action team consisted of librarians and faculty from the College of Health and Human Services. The librarians were: Dianna Sachs, the Instructional Services Librarian; Linda Rolls, the Health Sciences Librarian; Carrie Leatherman, the Natural Sciences Librarian. The faculty members were Debra Lindstrom (Occupational Therapy) and Doris Ravotas (Interdisciplinary Health Services) who were strong advocates for the importance of information literacy in their students’ education and ability to conduct research as health professionals.

  • 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 sought to compare the impact of a two different information literacy interventions on students’ ability to apply information literacy concepts in advanced research/writing projects. Unfortunately, we were only able to apply one intervention this year. In applying a rubric to analyze students’ research papers we were able to establish a “baseline” and identify the information literacy concepts in which students need additional instruction. Further research will continue next year to compare both information literacy interventions.

    This project has raised the profile of information literacy as an important aspect of education and of librarians as information literacy experts. Likewise, there is greater recognition of the library as a unit dedicated to assessment, as evidenced by the team leader being asked to speak on a panel at the WMU Assessment in Action Day.

  • 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. jAlthough we do not yet have the data to compare the effectiveness of the two information literacy interventions, we did find that students who completed one intervention (the HSV 3650 course) continued to have difficulty with certain information literacy concepts. The course content will be updated to better address these concepts. We are also examining ways to communicate and collaborate better with other CHHS faculty in order to improve the scaffolding of information literacy concepts into other courses.

    Given the new, explicit inclusion of information literacy in the forthcoming General Education policies, we expect that our initiatives will serve as models for other departments to integrate assessable information literacy into their curricula. Our plan is to promote assessable information literacy materials that can be accessed asynchronously in an online environment or integrated into other course curricula by faculty in other departments.

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

  1. Sachs, D. 2014. “Integrating Information Literacy in the Health Sciences Curriculum: Successful Library/Faculty Collaboration.” Presentation. European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL). Dubrovnik, Croatia, October 22.

    Rolls, L. & Sachs, D. 2014. “I Want You to Want Me! Demonstrating Value by Integrating Information Literacy into the Curriculum.” Presentation. Michigan Library Association Academic Libraries Conference. East Lansing, MI, May 29.

    Dianna E. Sachs
    Associate Professor
    Instructional Services Librarian
    Waldo Library
    Western Michigan University
    Kalamazoo, MI 49008
    (269) 387-5182