Assessment in Action

Murray State University: Project Description

Page 1


Primary Outcome Examined (select one or more)

(No) Student Learning: Assignment

(No) 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

(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)

Other (please describe)

Use of labs, writing and communication centers, ILL, proxy, enrollment in our IL credit courses, etc.

Student Population (select one or more)





(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)

All students; no specific discipline

AiA Team Members (select one or more)

Assessment Office

Institutional Research

(No) Teaching Faculty

(No) Writing Center

(No) Information/Academic Technology

Student Affairs

(No) Campus Administrator

Library Administrator

(No) Other Librarian

(No) Other (please describe)

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Methods and Tools (select one or more)

(No) Survey

(No) Interviews

(No) Focus Group(s)

(No) Observation

(No) Pre/Post Test

(No) Rubric

Other (please describe)

Dataset based on various logs of library use

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) 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. This project was born out of a number of initiatives at Murray State. One of these was the newly established President’s Commission on Retention, tasked with studying the causes of reduced retention rates and recommending solutions. Another is the idea that because the library doesn’t have “graduates”, we cannot initiate contact with alumni to solicit donations. Thus, we wanted to build a dataset tying library use to users to determine the libraries’ relationship with student retention, if any, as well as to use this for the purposes of development. Once we began building elements for the dataset, the questions that we could then answer now that use was tied to the user began to multiply. The team was comprised of the Dean of libraries, the Director of Retention, the Director of Institutional Effectiveness, the Libraries’ Coordinator of Systems and the Libraries’ Director of User & Instruction Services.

  • 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. Because of this project, we now have a better understanding of how students use our resources, and the relationships between that use and whether students are retained. Prior to this project, we were making decisions about collections and instruction based on tally marks of use, and not knowing the depth or breadth of use that was represented. Now we know that we discovered that students who used the library in some way were nearly twice as likely to be retained from one semester to the next than students who didn’t use the library at all. We have scheduled a meeting with administrators to reveal our findings and to discuss increasing support both for library budgeting and opportunities for instruction.

    I am happy with our results, but I think the largest contribution of this project has been showing other libraries that they have the tools to capture this type of data.

  • 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 Libraries at Murray State plan to continue to gather all the data points that were a part of the study to establish a longitudinal norm. We also hope to add other library use metrics, such as information desk/librarian interactions, and we hope to add additional student success metrics, such as GPA, graduation rate, and employment rates. We hope to publish both the results of the study itself as well as foundational best-practices document for gathering and aligning library use metrics for library users. We hope that the results of this type of work will be used to reinforce library budget requests for increased or maintained funding.

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

  1. Ashley Ireland
    Director, User & Instruction Services
    Murray State University
    (270) 809-4819

The Relationship between Known Library Use and Student Retention at a Regional Public University

In order to align with Murray State University’s initiatives, the Libraries built a massive dataset of library use, indicated by: circulations, lab and proxy logins, interlibrary loan, participation in IL instruction, enrollment in an IL course, and visits to the on-site Writing and Comm centers. Controlling for certain demographic data, we then looked for relationships between these indicators of library use and whether students were retained.