Assessment in Action

Grand Valley State 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

Student Engagement

(No) Student Success

(No) Academic Intimacy/Rapport



(No) Completion

(No) Graduation

(No) Articulation

(No) Graduates' Career Success

(No) Testing (e.g., GRE, MCAT, LSAT, CAAP, CLA, MAPP)

Other (please describe)

Student perception of library services and student employee perception of skills gained due to employment as peer research consultant.

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

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)

Other (please describe)

Student usage of library services and student perception of peer research consultations (library research tutoring).

Student Population (select one or more)



(No) Incoming

(No) Graduating

(No) Pre-College/Developmental/Basic Skills

(No) Other (please describe)

Discipline (select one or more)



Social Sciences

Natural Sciences (i.e., space, earth, life, chemistry or physics)

Formal Sciences (i.e., computer science, logic, mathematics, statistics or systems science)

Professions/Applied Sciences

English Composition

General Education

(No) Information Literacy Credit Course

(No) Other (please describe)

AiA Team Members (select one or more)

(No) Assessment Office

(No) Institutional Research

(No) Teaching Faculty

Writing Center

(No) Information/Academic Technology

(No) Student Affairs

(No) Campus Administrator

(No) Library Administrator

(No) Other Librarian

Other (please describe)

Speech Lab. Also please note: Institutional Research (Institutional Analysis) assisted with statistical analysis of student-level data but was not formally part of the team.

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Methods and Tools (select one or more)


(No) Interviews

(No) Focus Group(s)

(No) Observation

(No) Pre/Post Test

(No) Rubric

Other (please describe)

Post-service evaluation form

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) 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. Grand Valley State University is a student-centered, Carnegie Master's Large institution that highly values meaningful learning experiences in and beyond the classroom. The University Libraries are recognized as an essential academic support service, recently demonstrated by the construction of a new $65 million library. The building was designed to house the Knowledge Market, a collaborative service offered by the library, writing center, and speech lab. In the Knowledge Market students engage in high-quality student peer tutoring in library research, writing, and oral communication. The collaborators initially intended to assess student learning specifically with students who used more than one of the three services in order to evaluate the benefits of collaborative library services. However, we spent this first year focused on operation and logistics. Each service instead conducted individual program evaluation; the libraries used student data to begin preliminary analysis of benefits to peer tutors, student GPA, and retention.

  • 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. It is difficult to determine significant contributions of the project that are generalizable, yet it is easy to determine the benefits to the library. Through the library's own fledgling evaluation efforts we were able to monitor and adjust the first year of service based on student and consultant perceptions. Lists of departments whose students used the service were shared with instruction librarians so that instructional assistance can be more timely and targeted to high-need courses. Students reported high satisfaction with the service and that information was used to justify expansion of the service into freshman composition courses and to other campus locations. The consultants themselves self-reported significant gains in communication skills, problem solving, and flexibility and adaptability. We learned collaborative assessment requiring partners to share data and methods on a library deadline is challenging, especially when most academic units have timelines and assessment outcomes of their own.

  • 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 most important outcome was the Head of Instructional Services’ increased personal capacity to design, implement, and evaluate assessment projects. Formative program evaluation of the library service has been ongoing for over a year now, and AiA significantly contributed to the team leader’s plans for more rigorous assessment of the benefits of peer tutoring in libraries. Library faculty and staff are eager to participate in similar learning opportunities, so the AiA conceptual template will be used for a new in-library project this coming year. A highly valuable relationship with Institutional Analysis was formed that already has resulted in exciting findings about other library instruction activities; the new internal team will continue working with Institutional Analysis. Finally, the original Assessment in Action partners continue to discuss long-term assessment of the Knowledge Market and are using the independent program evaluations conducted this past year to inform that future planning.

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

  1. Presentation to be given:
    "Assessment in Action: A Journey through Campus Collaboration, a Learning Community and Research Design" at the Library Assessment Conference in Seattle in August, 2014. Presenters are Danielle Theiss (Rockhurst University), Mary O'Kelly (Grand Valley State University), and Amy Stewart-Mailhiot (Pacific Lutheran University).

    Team leader contact details:
    Mary O'Kelly, MLIS
    Head of Instructional Services
    University Libraries
    Grand Valley State University

Peer Research Consultants: Measuring a New Service in an Academic Library

GVSU now offers peer tutoring in the library with research consultants, writing center consultants, and speech consultants working side-by-side. Assessing the peer research consultations began with defining measures, establishing data-gathering processes, collaborating with Institutional Analysis for analytical support, and regular reporting of usage and perception data. Preliminary results show positive student perception of the service.