Assessment in Action

Arizona State University: Project Description

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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) 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

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

Other (please describe)

Critical Thinking

AiA Team Members (select one or more)

(No) Assessment Office

(No) 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) Interviews

(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)

(No) Test Scores

(No) GPA

(No) Degree Completion Rate

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. Arizona State University's priorities are to be inclusive (by admitting first generation, minority, low-income, at-risk students) and to reach the goal of 90% persistence. Our project assessed whether the library's embeddedness in a Critical Thinking course for at-risk students contributes to the course's learning outcomes and if students who take the course persist at a higher rate than those who don't. The team composition was appropriate: a librarian colleague with assessment experience; the Coordinator of ASU's Academic Success Programs who oversees the course; and the Academic Success Program's liaison to the Provost's Office - who had connections to our Office of Educational Effectiveness that ran the persistence data.

  • 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 data collected and analyzed for this project show that at-risk students who successfully complete this critical thinking course with an integrated information literacy component: demonstrate increased knowledge of and confidence in their information literacy skills; recognize the value of those particular skills to their current and future academic work; and persist at a higher rate than those who do not take the course. We learned that the Libraries can take the lead on large-scale assessment projects that explore not only how the Libraries contribute to student success, but whether/how a course or program we collaborate with is contributing to student success as well. This will encourage others to partner with us to do similar assessment projects.

  • 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. I will be able to talk to my colleagues, other faculty, and university administrators confidently about the value of working with the library because we modeled a very successful collaboration and we now have data that demonstrates our value to the success of at-risk students. I hope there will be an increase in collaborations between the Libraries and faculty/courses/programs who want to demonstrate student learning, and that information literacy skills are a vital component to student success in those courses/programs.

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

  1. Tharp, J. & Frost, K. (2013) The power of partnerships: Assessing the impact of information literacy on student success. Presentation at the GWLA Student Learning Outcomes Conference, Las Vegas, NV. Abstract retrieved from

    Julie Tharp
    Undergraduate Services Librarian
    Tempe, AZ 85287-1006 |480-965-5168

Bridging the Critical Thinking Gap: Assessing the Integration of Information Literacy into the Curriculum for At-Risk Students

Arizona State University created a new Critical Thinking course for at-risk freshmen in 2010. We collaborated successfully to build information literacy skills into the course curriculum as well as many levels of student learning assessment. We sought to demonstrate, with data, how the library’s involvement was contributing to the course learning objectives, and whether students who completed the course persisted at a higher rate than their at-risk peers.