Assessment in Action

Brandeis 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

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)

Usage of library resources

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

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

Information/Academic Technology

(No) Student Affairs

(No) Campus Administrator

Library Administrator

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) Rubric

Other (please describe)

Analysis of usage data and enrollment data

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

Other (please describe)

library usage data

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Inquiry Question (150 words open)

What was the project's primary inquiry question?

  1. What is the impact of library instruction on first-year students' usage of library resources?

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. A central part of our library’s instruction is the instruction we provide to students in first-year writing seminars. Library instruction has been an established part of Brandeis’ required first-year writing seminars since 1994 and aims to support the University’s learning goals by introducing students to the library resources that they will need to use in order to conduct college-level research and by providing students with the skills to use these resources effectively. While we had received survey feedback indicating that the instruction program was effective, we aimed to apply more objective measurements and gather data on the program’s impact on on usage of library resources. We investigated whether completion of library instruction correlated with a higher usage of library resources.

    Our team brought together individuals with expertise in library instruction, writing instruction, data analysis, library systems, and information security. The knowledge and skills of these team members were essential.

  • 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. Our findings suggests that instruction is correlated with increased usage of library resources. However, this usage does not continue at the same rate during the semester after a student has received instruction. While this decrease may be partly attributed to the nature of students’ assignments, these findings also point to a need for investigation into why students do or do not use library resources and the role of library instruction.

    While the data does not reveal how effectively students apply these resources, our survey of UWS instructors has indicated that they feel library instruction had a positive impact on the majority of their students’ research papers. In the future, we plan to assess student research papers to evaluate how effectively students are applying sources in their work.

    Through this project, we have developed a process for ethical use of library usage data for assessment efforts.

  • 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 will continue to develop ways to reach students more effectively in other classes and through other measures outside of their first-year writing seminars.

    By initiating and conducting this project, we’ve been able to start conversations about assessment with other stakeholders on campus. As a result of this project, the library has already been involved with another smaller assessment project that involved interviewing first-year students about their research process. Going forward, we will work with different stakeholders on campus to conduct similar assessments of other groups on campus. Faculty have expressed interest in assessment of how students from different majors use the library.

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

  1. Laura Hibbler

First-year students at Brandeis University receive library instruction during a required University Writing Seminar (UWS) during the fall or the spring semester. To assess the impact of the library instruction on usage of library resources, we analyzed library usage by first-year students during the 2015-2016 academic year, comparing the library usage of students who took UWS in the fall to those who took UWS in the spring.
AiAPosterNewLayout.pdf Library Usage and First-Year Students: Investigating the Influence of Instruction