Assessment in Action

Alverno College: Project Description

Page 1


Primary Outcome Examined (select one or more)

(No) Student Learning: Assignment

(No) Student Learning: Course

Student Learning: Major

Student Learning: Degree

(No) Student Engagement

Student Success

(No) Academic Intimacy/Rapport

(No) Enrollment



(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

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)

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) Undergraduate


(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)


AiA Team Members (select one or more)

(No) Assessment Office

Institutional Research

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) Focus Group(s)


Pre/Post Test

(No) Rubric

(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)

Test Scores

(No) GPA

Degree Completion Rate

(No) Retention Rate

Other (please describe)

Self Assessments

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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. Inadequate research skills of some entering education graduate students at Alverno College are a noticeable problem keeping them from completing their research proposals successfully and on time.

    Our question: Will the use of an information literacy assessment tool, an embedded librarian, and other library interventions lead to a better persistence rate for MA Education students?

    With our unique ability-based curriculum, pedagogy and the scholarship of teaching are pivotal at Alverno; we have been doing course-embedded performance assessment for over 40 years. Our plan was for the library to be viewed as contributing to the pre-existing culture of assessment at Alverno by continuing the college-wide conversation about including a systematic assessment of information literacy skills across the curriculum.

    Our team included three librarians, two faculty who are now also college deans, and the director of Educational Research, who was instrumental in getting our project through the IRB process.

  • 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. Our project is still a work in progress. We knew at the start that we might not have any conclusions by June 2014 (the end date of the 14 month ACRL project period.) because of the structure of our education master’s program. Despite the fact that the instrument chosen for our formative assessment (the project SAILS test) clashed with college culture, we created an intervention in the form of an ongoing course, “Library Research 601” via Moodle, the college’s courseware; we have only begun to study the impact of this “course” on student success. We are also looking for another way to do formative assessment of information literacy skills perhaps by including questions that will reflect these skills in self-assessments already required of these students. We have a cohesive team who are all up for the challenge of continuing our study which is what we plan to do.

  • 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. There has been some form of general formative assessment for incoming students at Alverno since 1973. For a long time Library staff have wanted this formative assessment to include information literacy skills. We hope the eventual conclusions drawn from our study will convince administrators of the importance of this so that librarians can use the results of those assessments to do a better job of embedding information literacy into the curriculum and thus better meet the needs of our students as reflected in their improved performances and possibly improved retention and graduation rates.

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

  1. Here is a URL to the complete bibliography from our literature review:

    Team Leader: Sara Shutkin

Librarians to the Rescue: Supporting Graduate Research

Our study addresses the research needs of a graduate student cohort. Because of inadequate research skills, some students have had to repeat a core course. We attempted two interventions: an embedded librarian worked with students and ongoing course in Moodle was created guiding students through the research process. Limitations: few students attempted the optional Project SAILS pre-assessment, so we were not able to better target our interventions.