Assessment in Action

University of Nebraska at Kearney: 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

(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: Games

Instruction: One Shot

Instruction: Course Embedded

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

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

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)

(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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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. This project focused on UNK’s General Studies program, required for all students during Freshman and Sophomore years. GS Portal and English courses both include a research and writing component that determines the student’s final course grade. Acquiring good research skills should assist students to succeed in other courses.

    At UNK, we have always had to use “one-shot” presentations on library resources, but Jon Ritterbush developed an online information literacy module based on ACRL standards. Our research question was: “Is online instruction or conventional classroom training more effective in delivering information literacy instruction to General Studies Portal 188 and English 102 classes?”

    We felt that the team composition was appropriate because Ron Wirtz taught many of the “one-shot” information literacy classes, Jon Ritterbush had developed the online module, and Beth Hinga, the third team member, had experience with assessment and was serving and the UNK Director of Assessment.

  • 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. If our project had succeeded, it would have compared “one-shot” and online methods of information literacy instruction. Initial proposal was to use composite rubric scores from students in randomly-selected class sections, but AiA training indicated that such indirect data is not reliable. Project was redesigned to include SAILS cohort test as a pre/post assessment tool. IRB approval was obtained for change, but using class time for testing was problematic.

    We had difficulty in obtaining subjects from English 102 sections because faculty members decided to test only a few randomly selected students from each section, rather than using the common rubric to test all students. Also, faculty members preferred instruction closely focused on topics that differed from section to section. It was not possible to use the generalized material from the online module with English sections. With no participation incentive, we also failed to obtain enough subjects from Portal courses.

  • 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 are reviewing how to best obtain anonymous data from classes in consultation with the IRB Director. We may have to revert to anonymous individual rubric scores rather than cohort data from a normed national test, both due to cost of testing and the efficiency of simply obtaining data that is collected as a matter of course. Publishing any results will still require IRB approval.

    Due to the fact that parental approval is required for participation of students age 19 and under, we will continue to have difficulty in obtaining subjects for research. If we cannot obtain enough subjects, it has been suggested that we do small group or individual case studies instead.

    We must receive IRB approval to offer an incentive to subjects for participation in assessment activities. Information received from a graduate-level statistics course indicates that this may be critical to obtaining subject groups of any size.

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

  1. Contact: Ronald L. Wirtz, Ph.D., Coordinator of User Services, Calvin T. Ryan Library, University of Nebraska at Kearney, 2508 Eleventh Avenue, Kearney NE 68849-2240. Phone: 308-865-8592, e-mail:

    Contact: Jon R. Ritterbush, M.L.I.S., Electronic Resources & Serials Librarian, Calvin T. Ryan Library, University of Nebraska at Kearney, 2508 Eleventh Avenue, Kearney NE 68849-2240. Phone: 308-865-8585, e-mail:

Effectiveness of Online vs. Classroom Instruction

This study attempted to determine if one-shot classes or an online course module was more effective in providing information literacy instruction in General Studies courses. A common assessment rubric was to be used along with the SAILS cohort test. Changes in assessment for English necessitated IRB protocol revisions, and it was not possible to obtain fifty subjects required for the SAILS cohort test from other GS sections.