Assessment in Action

Muhlenberg College: Project Description

Page 1


Primary Outcome Examined (select one or more)

Student Learning: Assignment

Student Learning: Course

(No) Student Learning: Major

Student Learning: Degree

(No) Student Engagement

(No) 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

(No) Instruction: One Shot

(No) 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)



Social Sciences

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

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

(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

(No) Other Librarian

(No) Other (please describe)

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Methods and Tools (select one or more)


(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

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)

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. This project explores Muhlenberg College students' information literacy (IL) competencies and to what extent timing, format, and frequency of IL instruction impacts student learning. The design recognizes faculty/librarian shared roles in teaching and learning, articulating common investment in students' IL.

    We have undertaken a variety of IL-related assessment in recent years which have helped us to: better understand students' learning experiences and outcomes; develop new and make improvements to ongoing IL programming and activities; and facilitate dialog among campus stakeholders around information literacy in related issues.

    With this project, we aim to: better understand faculty perspectives; promote library/departmental curricular planning; bolster faculty investment in IL; and further understand students' evolving IL experiences and competencies.

    A librarian, an administrator, and a faculty member brought valuable information literacy experience, assessment knowledge, administrative ties, faculty perspective, and curricular development connections to the team.

  • 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. Analysis of data collected in this project is ongoing. Selected notable findings from this project so far include students' IL competencies overall and by class year. Data show generally high levels of student competence on selected IL indicators from both faculty evaluation of student work and from student survey responses. Faculty increasingly evaluated students' IL competencies as "exceeds expectations" and decreasingly as "does not meet expectations" with each advancing class year (i.e., freshmen to senior).

    Isolating impact of type of instructional experience(s) on students' IL competence has so far been inconclusive. The relatively limited (and unexpected) diversity of the participant pool regarding IL instruction experiences overall (in college as compared to the selected courses in the study) made such conclusions unrealistic.

    Additionally, comparison of faculty-described IL learning goals, IL instruction areas, and faculty evaluation of student work demonstrated gaps in instruction of core IL concepts, especially regarding the evaluation of information.

  • 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. Analysis of data collected in this project is ongoing. Findings from this project so far are applicable to three major areas of practice: instruction content and pedagogy, curricular alignment, and future IL assessment. These findings will help us to better address IL concept gap areas in librarian- and faculty-led instruction and better align IL learning goals and instruction with departmental/major/minor curricula. The findings, as well as the challenges and limitations, of this project will help us to better address the complicated nature of direct assessment of IL in future assessment activities, as well as the evolving IL landscape (e.g., threshold concepts) in instruction, assessment, and more.

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

  1. Team leader:
    Jennifer Jarson
    Trexler Library, Muhlenberg College

    Contact Jen for more information about this project. File size limitations prevent the uploading of the poster in this system. See for the poster.

    Related presentations (as of 6/23/14):
    Jarson, J. (June 2014). Information literacy and student learning at a liberal arts college: An Assessment in Action project. Reinventing Libraries, Reinventing Assessment: Innovative Practices and Ideas that Challenge the Status Quo, City University of New York, New York, NY.

    Jarson, J. (June 2014). Information literacy and student learning at a liberal arts college: An Assessment in Action project. American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference, Las Vegas, NV.

Information literacy and student learning at a liberal arts college: An ACRL Assessment in Action project

This project explores Muhlenberg College students’ information literacy (IL) competencies from faculty & student perspectives, as well as the impact of IL instruction timing, format, & frequency on student learning. Project design recognizes faculty/librarian shared roles in IL teaching & learning. Findings will enable stakeholders to further support students’ IL & further advocate for better alignment between students’ IL development & the curriculum.