Assessment in Action

University of Minnesota-Duluth: 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

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

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

Focus Group(s)

(No) Observation

(No) Pre/Post Test

(No) Rubric

(No) Other (please describe)

Direct Data Type (select one or more)

(No) Student Portfolio

(No) Research Paper/Project

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. Will expanded library involvement in a required first-year writing course help students develop increased persistence and problem-solving skills when conducting research?

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. Our project focused on the first-year writing course that fulfills our campus information literacy learning outcome. By collaboratively assessing student learning in a key required course, our project aligns with campus goals for expanding student learning assessment efforts in preparation for an upcoming Higher Learning Commission reaffirmation visit.

    We chose our area of focus because of our experience working with students who frequently abandon their efforts after a cursory search. Additionally, few published studies have addressed the impact of pedagogical strategies on students’ ability to persist when conducting research. We chose to work with this course because of its required status and the existing collaborative relationship between the library and writing program. Ongoing discussions about integrating library instruction into this course more fully made this project a logical next step.

    Our team members, who had prior experience working with one another, provided connections to the writing program, experience working with first-year students, and expertise with content analysis.

  • 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. By analyzing students’ dispositional changes throughout the research process and focusing on learners who “persist in the face of search challenges,” our project is an example of assessment inspired by the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education.

    As a result of completing this project, our team is more convinced of the value of collaborative assessment efforts: we can accomplish more, understand student learning more fully, and contribute to a campus culture of assessment more effectively when we work together with campus partners.

    Our results indicated that additional library instruction is associated with an increase in behaviors and attitudes related to persistence and help-seeking, and positive changes in outlook regarding the research process.

  • 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. Our results indicate that additional library instruction is associated with positive outcomes; however, our limited sample size reduces the impact of our findings. Future information literacy-related assessment projects on our campus should include a larger sample size and explore links between students’ attitudes and research skills.

    Building on the findings from this project, librarians and writing instructors will continue to experiment with the timing, amount, and content of library instruction in this and other courses, and work to continue to expand our collaborative relationships. We will also explore ways to incorporate teaching strategies that encourage students to develop persistence in the research process.

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

  1. “Students in the Information Age: Access, Research, and Persistence.” With Elizabethada Wright, Samantha DeVilbiss, Tammy Durant, and Michelle Filkins. Minnesota Writing & English Conference. St. Paul, MN. April 1, 2016 [Invited plenary].

    Contact: Kim Pittman -
    More information:

This project explores library instruction’s impact on students’ persistence when conducting research. In two sections of a first-year writing course, librarians collaborated with instructors to deliver integrated information literacy content. Students in these sections, and in two sections with normal levels of library involvement taught by the same instructors, completed research journals. Analysis of these journals reveals differences in students’ attitudes and research strategies.
UMD_AiA_poster_-_final.pdf A Collaboration Toward Persistence: The Impact of Library Instruction on First-Year Writers