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Assessment in Action

University of Wyoming: Project Description

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Primary Outcome Examined (select one or more)

(No) Student Learning: Assignment

(No) Student Learning: Course

(No) Student Learning: Major

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)

Instruction

(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)

Undergraduate

(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

(No) Institutional Research

Teaching Faculty

Writing Center

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) Survey

(No) Interviews

(No) Focus Group(s)

(No) Observation

(No) Pre/Post Test

Rubric

(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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Inquiry Question (150 words open)

What was the project's primary inquiry question?

  1. Our primary inquiry question was "what type of library instruction is most effective for students in upper-level communication courses?" Our university had recently adapted new general education requirements in which information literacy skills were built into communication courses as required learning outcomes, so we wanted to assess what impact library instruction was having on students in those courses.

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. Supporting and assessing the new general education requirements is an institutional priority. As an assessment project that began in the first semester the new requirements were in effect, our project served as a model for future campus-wide assessment efforts.

    Within the library we wanted to focus our instruction efforts on the required communications courses, given that they had a built-in focus on information literacy skills. However, many of these classes hadn't included library instruction in the past. Reaching out to instructors and determining what instruction techniques worked best with these classes were necessary steps for us.

    The team included two research and instruction librarians, the communication sequence coordinator, and an instructional designer. The communication sequence coordinator's relationships with instructors and familiarity with campus assessment were invaluable; the instructional designer's focus on online classes and access to the course management system were also key.

  • 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 contributed to campus assessment of the current general education requirements. We ultimately found that library instruction had far less of an impact on student performance than the specifics of the assignment description, which varied widely from section to section. Based on this, the campus team plans to reach out to the coordinators for these multi-section classes to talk about the potential benefits of a more standardized assignment.
    We were also surprised to see that students in all sections struggled with developing a research plan when writing a research proposal - they did not appear to make a connection between the resources they consulted and developing methods of their own. This is not something that library instruction for these classes has focused on, but it certainly will be in the future.

  • 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 first change we'll make based on this project is what to focus on in library instruction for the senior-level communications classes - finding resources and developing methods for a proposed study based on methods other people have used in similar projects will now be the emphasis of this instruction.
    We will also be working more closely with instructors for communications classes to discuss how they interpret the learning outcomes and evaluate them in students' work. While our rubric was developed based on the communications classes' learning objectives, some of the things we were looking for were not present and not necessarily applicable in assignments we scored.

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

  1. Contact information - Kate Conerton, kconerto@uwyo.edu

In Fall 2015, the University of Wyoming moved to a new set of general education requirements in which information literacy skills are required learning outcomes in a three-part communication sequence. We assessed student work from these classes to measure the impact of library information literacy instruction on students' skills.
Filename
conerton_AiA.jpg Measuring Impact in Communication Classes