Assessment in Action

Claremont Colleges: Project Description

Page 1


Primary Outcome Examined (select one or more)

Student Learning: Assignment

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)

Other (please describe)

First-year seminar

Primary Library Factor Examined (select one or more)


(No) Instruction: Games

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)

(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

Institutional Research

Teaching Faculty

(No) Writing Center

(No) Information/Academic Technology

(No) Student Affairs

(No) Campus Administrator

(No) Library Administrator

Other Librarian

(No) Other (please describe)

Page 2


Methods and Tools (select one or more)

(No) Survey

(No) Interviews

(No) Focus Group(s)

(No) Observation

(No) Pre/Post Test


(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)

(No) Test Scores

(No) GPA

(No) Degree Completion Rate

(No) Retention Rate

Other (please describe)

Level of Librarian Collaboration with Course

Page 3

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. The project aligns with institutional priorities because, WASC, the accrediting body, recently made Information Literacy one of its core competencies. Colleges need to show that they are assessing this competency and this project provides evidence of this assessment.

    The library chose this outcome and library factor because the seven Claremont colleges share one library and view it as an expense or tax, not as integral to their students’ learning experience. This project sought proof of the value of librarians in student learning; demonstrating through data that there is a need for librarians.

    The primary inquiry question was: What impact (if any) does librarian intervention in first-year courses have on IL performance in student work.

    Team composition was appropriate because this project required help and collaboration with librarians as well as campus assessment, IR officers, and first-year program coordinators to facilitate paper collection and get institutional buy-in.

  • 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 significant contribution of this project is strong evidence that integrating a librarian into first-year courses and syllabi design results in better IL skills in students. The one-shot does not accomplish the same learning gains.

    The team learned that assessing the library’s impact can be challenging and that most projects, including this one, can only hope to prove correlation, not causation.

    Creating a culture of assessment on campus is challenging. It is often linked to accreditation rather than a cyclical process related to teaching that can improve student learning. The library needs to be a partner. We can contribute to a culture of assessment if we collaborate rather than sequestering ourselves.

    The significant finding of our project is that the Information Literacy skills demonstrated in students’ research papers are statistically significantly higher when there is more librarian involvement in the class that with a one-shot.

  • 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. Based on what we learned from this project, teaching librarians will change how we work with faculty in course collaborations. We have already begun to show our data to faculty when discussing the library session in a class. Trying to get faculty to understand that the librarian involvement needs to be more strategic than one session at the beginning of the semester. We are also discussing professional development for librarians who feel uncomfortable or unprepared for assignment design and syllabus collaboration to empower them to work as experts with faculty.

    This project contributes to current assessment activities on campus as many of the Claremont colleges use the library Information Literacy rubric to assess senior theses. So this project provides evidence from the first-year, to start to build longitudinal data.

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


    Sara Lowe, Assessment Officer and Librarian, Claremont Colleges Library; 909-607-6231;

    Presentations given/accepted:
    Natalie Tagge “More = Better: A Rubric-Based Evaluation of Librarian Course Collaborations at the First Year,” Library Instruction West, Portland, OR.

    Sara Lowe, Lua Gregory, Shana Higgins, April Cunningham. “Information Literacy & Student Success: Assessing a Core Competency,” Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Academic Resource Conference, Los Angeles, CA.

    Natalie Tagge and Barbara Junisbai. New Directions for Information Fluency, Augustana College, Rock Island, IL.

    Posters given/accepted:
    Sara Lowe, Char Booth, Sean Stone, Natalie Tagge. “Librarians Matter! Librarian Impact on First-Year Student Information Literacy Skills at 5 Liberal Arts Colleges,” Library Assessment Conference, Seattle, WA.

    Sara Lowe and Sean Stone “Librarian Impact on First-Year Students’ Information Literacy Skills across Multiple Liberal Arts Colleges,” CUNY Assessment Conference, New York, NY.

Librarians Matter! Impact on First-Year Information Literacy Skills at 5 Colleges

This poster reports results of an assessment of student writing from the first-year seminar/experience programs at five separate undergraduate colleges. Papers were coded by level of librarian involvement in the class, and then scored using an Information Literacy rubric. Results indicate that students in courses with higher librarian involvement demonstrate better IL skills (that are statistically significant) than those in courses with low involvement.