Assessment in Action

University of Iowa: Project Description

Page 1


Primary Outcome Examined (select one or more)

(No) Student Learning: Assignment

(No) Student Learning: Course

(No) Student Learning: Major

(No) Student Learning: Degree

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)

Other (please describe)

Student learning: Informal

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

Educational Role (other than reference or instruction)

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

(No) English Composition

General Education

(No) Information Literacy Credit Course

(No) Other (please describe)

AiA Team Members (select one or more)

Assessment Office

(No) Institutional Research

(No) 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)

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Methods and Tools (select one or more)



(No) Focus Group(s)


(No) Pre/Post Test

(No) Rubric

(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)

(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. How do library engagement programs support student learning and engagement?

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 chose to explore outcomes related to two engagement events as a way to assess and improve our relatively new library engagement program. In particular, we were interested in exploring student learning and creative and critical inquiry practices that occurred during the events. Promoting student learning and knowledge creation is a goal of our Libraries Strategic Plan. Working with our campus Assessment Office helped develop a better idea of how to assess outreach and informal learning opportunities, something other stakeholders on our campus are interested in as well.

  • 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. We identified engagement activities that promoted student critical and creative inquiry and knowledge creation. It was challenging to assess student learning and engagement using post-activity methods (interviews, surveys) as students tend to be quite busy. Assessing student outputs (authentic assessment) proved most valuable in exploring the types of student learning and inquiry practiced during events. Working with our Assessment Office was a great experience. Through our collaboration we discovered other units on campus wishing to conduct similar types of assessments on informal learning and outreach.

  • 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. Building opportunities for authentic and naturalistic assessment into engagement projects is a good idea that saves time and ensures that data is collected. Socialization that occurs at engagement activities provides opportunities to hear honest and critical student perspectives on the college experience and their interactions with the library. This type of insight can be valuable in understanding student needs and developing ideas for future programming.

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

  1. Grogg, K. & Hassman, K. (2016). Learning in public: Placing resources and activities out into the everyday paths of students and community members. Iowa Library Association, Association of College & Research Libraries Spring Conference. Des Moinies, IA.

This project explores the impact of library engagement projects on undergraduate students and library practitioners. Data collected using ethnographic and autoethnographic methods during two library engagement projects (a pop-up library and a finals week event) was analyzed from student-centered and practitioner-centered perspectives. Exploring findings from multiple levels of analysis provides a chance to ask timely and critical questions about the labor and impact of library engagement positions, relatively new within many academic library settings.
aia_poster_final.pdf Is it better to be passive? Critical perspectives on assessing library engagement projects