Assessment in Action

The University of Texas at San Antonio: Project Description

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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

(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) 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

(No) Writing Center

(No) Information/Academic Technology

(No) Student Affairs

(No) Campus Administrator

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

Pre/Post Test


(No) Other (please describe)

Direct Data Type (select one or more)

(No) Student Portfolio

(No) Research Paper/Project

(No) Class Assignment (other than research paper/project)

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. The UTSA Libraries collaborated with a newly created core course, Academic Inquiry (AIS), to assess library impact with FYE students throughout their first semester. The course concentrates on academic cultures and scholarship, and course learning outcomes require students to “identify credible resources and elements of scholarly work.” The Library developed targeted curriculum, classroom instruction and online tutorials to meet this outcome. Our project took a deeper look at what knowledge our students were bringing into their first semester and what impact Library created materials might have on student successfully reaching course learning outcomes.

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. Recent initiatives at the University of Texas at San Antonio include a campus-wide push to improve freshmen retention and graduation rates (GRIP). UTSA is also a Hispanic-Serving Institution and includes an incoming freshman class that is 47% first generation college students. This project worked to create a better understanding of the information literacy skills that students at this specific institution are using as they enter college. Fostering successful learning during this first key semester through a variety of methods may aid in students finding the academic support and the confidence to continue their education. The area of study for this project was chosen because of the potential for impact throughout the first semester and the first contact for many students with a major area of academic support. Librarians and faculty instructors collaborated on this project to insure assessment aligned with course goals and curriculum, as well as providing programmatic support.

  • 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 assessment project was a first attempt at gathering data on the information literacy skills of incoming freshmen students at UTSA. Using mixed methods assessment revealed that although students may test well, asking them to explain and describe answers in their own words quickly reveals patterns of confusion. Understanding the language and concepts creating early confusion creates opportunities for targeted online tools and instruction. This data has lead to rich conversations with faculty and administrators about the need for library participation in FYE initiatives. This project allowed us to show our campus that the Library is interested in leading assessment projects. We learned about the challenges gathering data, creating buy in from faculty, and even well-designed assessment questions can be difficult to pull from content management systems.

  • 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. This project has created new opportunities for collaborative assessment projects across our campus. Our initial assessment with the AIS freshman classes will be reworked and used as an ongoing tool with that program. Long term data collection will allow a much richer understanding of first semester information literacy impact. Understanding the process for creating an assessment project has also opened the conversation for additional assessment projects in other areas of the library. Instructors in both the AIS classes and the Library are already working on new assignments to address gaps in conceptual understanding, as well as creating additional opportunities through online activities and assignments to allow students practice with this new knowledge.

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

  1. Team Leader:
    Tara Schmidt

    Scholarly Resource Librarian
    University of Texas at San Antonio

Learning outcomes for a newly developed FYE core class require first semester freshmen to identify and describe scholarly sources. The UTSA Libraries partnered with the course faculty to assess skills related to this specific outcome. Students participated in mixed method pre/post tests, as well as submitted final bibliographies. Quantitative data shows students improved in their ability to identify scholarly sources, while qualitative data reveals a struggle to correctly apply evaluation criteria.
In_our_own_words-_demonstrating_first_semester_information_literacy_development.pdf In Our Own Words: Demonstrating First Year Information Literacy Development