Assessment in Action

York University: 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

(No) Student Learning: Degree

(No) 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)

(No) 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

Discovery (library resources integrated in institutional web and other information portals)

(No) Discovery (library resource guides)

(No) Discovery (from preferred user starting points)

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

(No) General Education

(No) Information Literacy Credit Course

Other (please describe)

We did not focus on specific disciplines although we are able to break the data out as such.

AiA Team Members (select one or more)

(No) Assessment Office

Institutional Research

(No) 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

(No) Focus Group(s)

(No) Observation

(No) Pre/Post Test

(No) Rubric

Other (please describe)

We used two data sets: Ezproxy data to represent library usage and GPA to represent student success. Our institutional research office performance an analysis to look for a correlation between the two.

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)

We used two data sets: Ezproxy data to represent library usage and GPA to represent student success. Our institutional research office performance an analysis to look for a correlation between the two.

Indirect Data Type (select one or more)

(No) Test Scores


(No) Degree Completion Rate

(No) Retention Rate

(No) Other (please describe)

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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 aligns with York's First Year Experience (FYE) Framework, which aims to be a driver of York’s overarching goals, including student successThe framework does very little to address the role of the library. The library’s Assessment Committee was inspired by the "Discovering the Impact of Library Use and Student Performance" project by the University of Wollongong, which aimed to produce data that could reveal a correlation between students' grades (success) and use of the library. Our primary inquiry question was "what we can learn about the impact of the library on student success by examining use of eResources and student GPA?" I was team leader as I am the Chair of the Assessment Committee. The other members included Mark Conrad in OIPA (our institutional research office) who had been involved in other projects related to FYE, and Martha Rogers, a faculty member who contributed to the FYE Working Group.

  • 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 is not an entirely new exercise as it has been performed elsewhere (example, the University of Wollongong, mentioned earlier) however it represents the first time the York library made an attempt to quantify its value. Currently York uses high schools grades as its primary predictor of student success. This project found that we can explain variation in 1st year GPA by an additional 6% by adding eResource usage to that model, so we know that there is at least a correlation between library usage and student success. This data is significant as it can help inform recommendations of the First Year Experience framework. York’s library is still relatively new to exercises in assessment and evaluation, particularly in quantifying the value of the library, and so this project really represents a fairly radical step in those areas. However, other factors related to student success (discipline for example) would have to be examined for the project to carry more weight.

  • 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 Impact of Library Usage on Student Success project found that there is a positive correlation between library eResource usage and GPA. While the project did not result in data from which we would make changes to library or institutional practices, it does give the library a new way to communicate value. For example, York is currently going through an academic prioritization exercise, which divides the library into programs, including collections, then asks how those programs contribute to York’s strategic directions and reputation for excellence. The data from our project offers a new way to illustrate quantitatively how collections contribute to student success, beyond usage numbers which illustrate that what was invested in is being used. Realistically however, more assessment work must be done to uncover other factors that are contributing to student success including other measures of library usage.

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

  1. There have been no articles published or presentations given related to the Impact of Library Usage on Student Success project. We consider the project and our findings to be preliminary only, and really an exploration of new assessment practices at York. The next steps would be to investigate other factors which may lead to student success. Perhaps we will conduct surveys and/or focus groups on successful students to determine best practices and what role the library plays. Perhaps we will focus on classes with a specific assignment and see the impact of usage of library resources on the course grade. Perhaps we will repeat the project and investigate the correlation between library usage and student success with additional measures of library usage such as reference desk interactions and information literacy class attendance
    Team leader: Aaron Lupton
    416-736-2100 x88891

Impact of Library Usage on Student Success: Exploring New Territories

After reading about university of Wollongong’s project “Discovering the Impact of Library Use and Student Performance”, York University was inspired to conduct a similar project in which we sought to determine whether there is a correlation between library usage and student success. This project was an opportunity to explore new territory in seeking to discover what we could learn about the impact of the library on undergraduate students at York.