Assessment in Action

Elmhurst College: Project Description

Page 1


Primary Outcome Examined (select one or more)

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

(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)

(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

(No) Information/Academic Technology

(No) Student Affairs

(No) Campus Administrator

(No) Library Administrator

(No) 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) Rubric

Other (please describe)

Dynamic Content Mapping

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. What is the impact of the information literacy instruction in a first-year writing course on students’ use of information in academic research paper writing?

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. We conducted a collaborative assessment project in which a librarian partnered with a writing program administrator and an assessment scholar. The librarian was interested in assessing the impact of information literacy instruction in freshman composition classes. This ongoing, IRB-approved project applies Dynamic Criteria Mapping (DCM), a qualitative, constructivist method of writing assessment, in a generative process during which librarians and writing faculty define information literacy within the context of a liberal arts institution and delineate what characteristics of student artifacts exemplify effective applications of information literacy. By applying DCM, librarians and writing faculty engaged in cross-disciplinary conversations, developing consensus on what we value when we read first-year writing projects in light of research skills and information literacy and reconciling disparate disciplinary terminology. Our project assists our institution’s goals of assessing components of our general education program.

  • 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 project makes a significant contribution to information literacy assessment with our use of Dynamic Content Mapping. A literature search indicated that this method, although somewhat utilized in writing composition instruction, has not been widely used in information literacy assessment. DCM promises to be an assessment method that promotes the kind of connections—with disciplinary faculty, campus programs, etc, which benefit libraries and library programs, including information literacy instruction. The conversations that DCM encourages offer opportunities for academic communities to discover the value they place on libraries, information literacy instruction, and student learning. What we have discovered is that collaborative assessment between librarians and writing faculty is a positive experience and sets the stage for deeper assessment practice that will benefit student learning. This contribution to our campus culture of assessment shows that diverse groups on campus can have assessment goals in common which can be creatively and effectively addressed.

  • 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. At this point the primary impact of our research is the values-based community-building outcome of the DCM process itself. One of the primary benefits of this method is that it brings constituents together to engage in consensus-building discussion. This goal of our research has proven very successful so far. The beginning we made in summer 2015 will be followed up in 2016 with a larger DCM assessment project, where we will use a larger pool of student artifacts and more workshop participants. The impact of our assessment on the information literacy instruction curriculum has yet to be developed. Data gathered in 2016 will give us a more complete picture of student learning. Our findings will help the Writing Program Director reinforce the need for a more standardized curriculum in freshman composition courses than currently exists.

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

  1. Illinois Association of College & Research Libraries Conference, Rosemont, IL, March 2016
    “Are They Really Using What I’m Teaching? Assessing the Information Literacy Skills of First-Year Writers using Dynamic Criteria Mapping” co-presented with Dr. Tina Kazan & Dr. Nicholas Behm

    Team Leader: Peg Cook, Reference & Instruction Librarian, A.C. Buehler Library, Elmhurst College.

A project in which a librarian partnered with a writing program administrator and an assessment scholar to assess information literacy in a first-year writing course. We applied Dynamic Criteria Mapping in a process during which librarians and writing faculty defined information literacy in the context of a liberal arts institution and delineated what characteristics of student artifacts exemplify effective applications of information literacy.
Elmhurst_AiA_poster_final_pdf.pdf Are They Really Using What I’m Teaching? Assessing the Information Literacy Skills of First-Year Writers Using Dynamic Criteria Mapping