Assessment in Action

Catawba College: Project Description

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Primary Outcome Examined (select one or more)

Student Learning: Assignment

(No) Student Learning: Course

(No) Student Learning: Major

(No) Student Learning: Degree

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)


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

Institutional Research

Teaching Faculty

Writing Center

(No) 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) 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)

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Inquiry Question (150 words open)

What was the project's primary inquiry question?

  1. This project sought to determine the most appropriate, most effective method of information literacy instruction for first-year students at Catawba College. It focused on English 1103, Critical Reading and Writing, the college’s required First-Year Writing Course.

    This assessment attempted to go beyond the limitations of tests and surveys to delve more deeply into students’ application of IL skills to their coursework. We examined students’ final papers and their citations, considering how appropriate, thorough, and accurate they were. We compared the results of the traditional lecture-style method with a newer, more creative classroom games technique.

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. Catawba College completed a successful accreditation review by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) in Spring 2015. One of the two recommendations received was to continue to use assessment data to improve college outcomes. Additionally, the Director of Institutional Research instituted an Outcomes Assessment Report (O.A.R) for all campus departments. The O.A.R. for the library targeted information literacy assessment focused on improvement in literacy in the English 1103 sessions. Thus, both the library and the campus were entering a culture of assessment at exactly the time the Assessment in Action Program, Year 3, was launched. AiA provided invaluable support for these efforts.

    Team members Timothy J. Kennedy, Director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness, and Dr. Margaret Stahr, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Writing Center, both served on the SACS campus leadership team. Team Leader Gina Petrie, Head of Reference and Information Literacy, coordinates library instruction and works closely with English Composition faculty.

  • 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. The project provided an ideal beginning to the assessment of information literacy and library instruction at the Catawba College library. The team leader was new to the college, arriving just as the SACS accreditation process was concluding. The AiA project was a great way to dive into collaboration and communication with faculty and staff.

    Initial results suggest that interactive, non-traditional teaching methods are more effective in helping students find relevant, appropriate sources. In addition, the librarians who participated in scoring the papers’ works cited lists found it eye-opening to see the actual writing samples of our first year students. All commented on this and on how it will inform our teaching going forward.

  • 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 plan to build on this project, beginning in the Fall 2016 semester. We will run the experiment again with a larger sample size. We will test board games and other non-electronic, interactive teaching methods. We also will conduct student opinion surveys to assess how the different teaching techniques are received by our target population. This project opened the door to further collaboration across campus.

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

  1. Gina O. Petrie
    Head of Reference and Information Literacy
    Corriher-Linn-Black Library
    Catawba College
    2300 W. Innes St. Salisbury, NC 28144

Will students taught with a non-traditional method cite better sources? This study answers that question. Six sections of a required composition course participated in the project. The librarian provided traditional instruction to three sections and incorporated research games into the other three. We used a rubric to evaluate the works cited for each final paper. We also examined students' responses to a questionnaire. Survey says . . . results are 100% interesting.
Gina_Petrie_Poster_Session_AiA_2016.jpg And the Survey Says . . . . Using Games to Teach First-Year Students