Assessment in Action

Emerson College: 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

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

Other (please describe)

first-year students

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

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

(No) Library Administrator

Other Librarian

(No) Other (please describe)

Page 2


Methods and Tools (select one or more)


(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

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

Inquiry Question (150 words open)

What was the project's primary inquiry question?

  1. Does librarian involvement in first-year writing classes impact student achievement and research skills?

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 focused on assessing the library instruction program’s impact working with first-year writing classes (WR121). Our aim was to measure student success and research skill development through assessing the following key outcomes from our one-shot workshop:
    • Students will employ persistence in their search strategies in order to
    find relevant sources of information.
    • Students will evaluate sources for quality and relevance in order to use
    them purposefully in a research assignment.
    Our project aligns with the first of Emerson College’s strategic initiatives: Academic Excellence. In partnership with the First-Year Writing Program (FYWP) we surveyed nearly 400 students from WR121. Our team was composed of two teaching librarians, a full-time faculty member from FYWP, and our Associate Vice President of Institutional Research.

  • 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. Through this project the AiA Research Team and the greater library instruction program have seen a tangible impact on student learning—something we had not been able to measure before outside of individual classes. Through pre- and post-library workshop survey data, first-year students self-reported impactful change on their research confidence and search and evaluation skills. Our key findings were:
    • Students who had a library workshop showed demonstrable gains in diverse
    search behaviors.
    • While findings on evaluation inconclusive, students who had a library
    workshop used and felt more confident finding quality sources.
    These findings serve to strengthen the mission of our instruction program. In the past, our assessment efforts have been strictly internal, or have reflected individual faculty partnerships. Through our AiA project, we’ve seen that large-scale assessment projects are indeed possible, and reaped the benefits of partnering with entire academic departments.

  • 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. As a result of our project, we plan on presenting our findings to a variety of campus stakeholders. We are especially interested in conveying our research findings to the director of the FYWP at Emerson and the inclusive faculty. We anticipate that our results will further facilitate collaboration between our two departments and achieve the library’s goal of working with all first-year research writing courses. Additionally, we will present our information to our college administrators in order to advocate for a more unified first-year experience across foundational courses. Moving forward, we plan to continue exploring large-scale assessment opportunities with other departments as well as continuing similar assessments on an on-going basis with our FYWP department.

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

  1. For more information on this project, and on the Emerson College library’s instruction program:

    Team Leader Contact Information:

    Christina E. Dent
    Instruction Librarian, Iwasaki Library
    Emerson College, Boston, MA

Does librarian involvement in first-year writing classes impact student learning? Teaching librarians at Emerson College partnered with First-Year Writing faculty to assess the impact of one-shot library workshops. Survey data Evidence from over 350 respondents shows measurable change among those students who had a library workshop. Librarians and writing faculty also applied an information literacy rubric to a select sample of student work.
EmersonAiAPosterFinal.pdf Game On!: Cultivating Information Literacy in First-Year Writing Classes