Category Archives: AiA

New ACRL Report Highlights Library Contributions to Student Learning and Success

Academic Library Impact on Student Learning and Success coverThrough a new report issued by ACRL, “Academic Library Impact on Student Learning and Success: Findings from Assessment in Action Team Projects,” the higher education community now has compelling assessment findings that tell a strong story about the multiple ways that academic libraries are contributing to student learning and success. The report focuses on projects completed during the third and final year as part of the program Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success (AiA) from April 2015 to June 2016. Teams from more than 50 campuses completed assessment projects and reported on them individually (fully searchable online),  and this synthesis builds on past findings from an additional 150 projects completed during the first and second years of the AiA program as context.

Positive connections between the library and aspects of student learning and success in five areas are particularly noteworthy:

  1. Students benefit from library instruction in their initial coursework. Information literacy instruction provided to students during their initial coursework helps them perform better in their courses than students who do not.
  2. Library use increases student success. Students who used the library the library in some way (e.g., circulation, library instruction session attendance, online database access, study room use, interlibrary loan) achieved higher levels of academic success (e.g., GPA, course grades, retention) than students who did not use the library.
  3. Collaborative academic programs and services involving the library enhance student learning. Academic library partnerships with other campus units, such as the writing center, academic enrichment, and speech lab, yield positive benefits for students (e.g., higher grades, academic confidence, retention).
  4. Information literacy instruction strengthens general education outcomes. Library instruction improves students’ achievement of institutional core competencies and general education outcomes such as inquiry-based and problem-solving learning, including effective identification and use of information, critical thinking, ethical reasoning, and civic engagement.
  5. Library research consultations boost student learning. One-on-one or small-group reference and research assistance with a librarian enhances academic success, as documented by such factors as student confidence, GPAs, and improved achievement on course assignments.

While these project findings may not be generalizable, as from some forms of social science research, they can be adapted to other settings with care and consideration to local context. Because the findings are derived from action research, which is situated in authentic institutional contexts, the results reflect “on the ground” practices in terms of resources available and campus priorities.

“We now have compelling assessment findings that tell a strong story about the multiple ways that libraries are contributing to student learning and success. Having overall consistent assessment findings of library impact in these five areas—across a body of over 200 projects—is especially strong because of the variation. Each setting was unique; each library program and service differed in the way it was designed and implemented for the local context; students had different characteristics and backgrounds; there was a multiplicity of methods for investigating library impact on students,” said report preparer Karen Brown, professor in the School of Information Studies at Dominican University. “We urge academic libraries to grow and strengthen high-quality programs and services in these five areas of effective practice. Assessment findings such as these from the AiA projects lessen the need to question whether investments of time and energy in these areas will bring about a positive impact.”

In addition, the AiA projects continue to build evidence of promise for library impact in four areas which have yielded promising results about positive connections between the library and students’ academic success:

  • The library contributes to improved student retention.
  • Library instruction adds value to a student’s long-term academic experience.
  • The library promotes academic rapport and student engagement.
  • Use of library space relates positively to student learning and success.

Beyond the findings about library impact, librarian team leaders reflected on the experience of leading a collaborative campus team. Librarians engaged in an immersive process of ongoing interaction with one another and collaboration with their team members.

“The librarians led the design and implementation of assessment that related directly to their campus’s academic priorities, creating opportunities for substantive conversations with campus stakeholders about student learning and resulting in meaningful findings that informed decision making about library programs and practices,” noted ACRL Senior Strategist for Special Initiatives Kara Malenfant, who contributed to the report. “Through this, they strengthened crucial leadership qualities such as an awareness of the importance of decision making grounded in institutional context, a deeper understanding the dynamic nature of assessment, and a recognition of the personal and professional growth that emerges through collaboration with others.”

Read more in the full report “Academic Library Impact on Student Learning and Success: Findings from Assessment in Action Team Projects.” The executive summary is available as a separate document, formatted to share broadly with campus stakeholders.

The three-year AiA program, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), helped more than 200 postsecondary institutions of all types create partnerships at their institution to promote library leadership and engagement in campus-wide assessment. Each participating institution established a team with a lead librarian and at least two colleagues from other campus units. Team members frequently included teaching faculty and administrators from such departments as the assessment office, institutional research, the writing center, academic technology, and student affairs. Over a 14-month period, the librarians led their campus teams in the development and implementation of a project that aims to contribute to assessment activities at their institution.

A new day-long traveling ACRL workshop builds on the AiA curriculum with a focus on strategic and sustainable assessment. Learn more about how to bring this and other ACRL licensed workshops to your institution, chapter, or consortia.

A forthcoming print volume, Shaping the Campus Conversation on Student Learning and Experience: Activating the Results of Assessment in Action, will describe the entire AiA program in greater detail. The volume, to be published by ACRL in fall 2017, will provide context, offer reflections from team leaders, and serve as a culminating capstone for the three year IMLS-funded program.

 

 

“Assessment in Action” Project Posters at ALA Annual Conference

Assessment in Action LogoComing to the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando? Be sure to see assessment project posters presented by the second year participants in ACRL’s program “Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success”(AiA). Librarian-led teams carried out assessment projects over 14 months at their community colleges, colleges and universities. The projects examined the impact of the library (instruction, reference, collections, space, and more) on student learning/success. Part of the 48 teams will present posters during each time slot:

Assessment in Action: Third Year Project Posters, Session I
Friday, June 24, 2016, 2-4:00pm
Hyatt Regency Orlando, Regency Ballroom Q

Assessment in Action: Third Year Project Posters, Session II
Saturday, June 25th, 2016, 8:30-10:30am
Hilton Orlando, Florida Ballroom 1-3

Learn more about these assessment projects from the abstracts in the poster guide (pdf). Additionally, teams are submitting online posters and final project reports, which will be analyzed and synthesized in a report released by ACRL later this year. The individual reports and poster images will be available later this summer in a searchable online collection.

ACRL has undertaken AiA in partnership with the Association for Institutional Research and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The program, a cornerstone of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries initiative, was made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

ACRL Report Shows Compelling Evidence of Library Contributions to Student Learning and Success

report cover April2016A new report issued by ACRL, “Documented Library Contributions to Student Learning and Success: Building Evidence with Team-Based Assessment in Action Campus Projects,” shows compelling evidence for library contributions to student learning and success. The report focuses on dozens of projects conducted as part of the program Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success (AiA) by teams that participated in the second year of the program, from April 2014 to June 2015. Synthesizing more than 60 individual project reports (fully searchable online) and using past findings from projects completed during the first year of the AiA program as context, the report identifies strong evidence of the positive contributions of academic libraries to student learning and success in four key areas:

  1. Students benefit from library instruction in their initial coursework. Information literacy initiatives for freshmen and new students underscore that students receiving this instruction perform better in their courses than students who do not.
  2. Library use increases student success. Students who use the library in some way (e.g., circulation, library instruction session attendance, online databases access, study room use, interlibrary loan) achieve higher levels of academic success (e.g., GPA, course grades, retention) than students who did not use the library.
  3. Collaborative academic programs and services involving the library enhance student learning. Academic library partnerships with other campus units, such as the writing center, academic enrichment, and speech lab, yield positive benefits for students (e.g., higher grades, academic confidence, and retention).
  4. Information literacy instruction strengthens general education outcomes. Libraries improve their institution’s general education outcomes and demonstrate that information literacy contributes to inquiry-based and problem-solving learning, including critical thinking, ethical reasoning, global understanding, and civic engagement.

The three-year AiA program is helping over 200 postsecondary institutions of all types create partnerships at their institution to promote library leadership and engagement in campus-wide assessment. Each participating institution establishes a team with a lead librarian and at least two colleagues from other campus units. Team members frequently include teaching faculty and administrators from such departments as the assessment office, institutional research, the writing center, academic technology, and student affairs. Over a 14-month period, the librarians lead their campus teams in the development and implementation of a project that aims to contribute to assessment activities at their institution.

“The findings about library impact in each of the four areas described above are particularly strong because they consistently point to the library as a positive influencing factor on students’ academic success,” said  Karen Brown, who prepared the report and is a professor at Dominican University Graduate School of Library and Information Science. “This holds true across different types of institutional settings and with variation in how each particular program or service is designed.”

In addition, there is building evidence of positive library impact in five areas, although they have not been studied as extensively or findings may not be as consistently strong:

  • Student retention improves with library instructional services.
  • Library research consultation services boost student learning.
  • Library instruction adds value to a student’s long-term academic experience.
  • The library promotes academic rapport and student engagement.
  • Use of library space relates positively to student learning and success.

In addition to findings about library impact, participant reflections reveal that a collaborative team-based approach on campus is an essential element of conducting an assessment project and planning for subsequent action. Kara Malenfant, contributor to the report and a senior staff member at ACRL, noted, “The benefits of having diverse team members working together are clear. They achieve common understanding about definitions and attributes of academic success, produce meaningful measures of student learning, align collaborative assessment activities with institutional priorities, create a unified campus message about student learning and success, and focus on transformative and sustainable change.”

Read more in the full report “Documented Library Contributions to Student Learning and Success: Building Evidence with Team-Based Assessment in Action Campus Projects.” The executive summary is available as a separate document, formatted to share broadly with campus stakeholders.

Join a free ACRL Presents live webcast to hear more from the report authors on Monday, May 9, from 1:00 — 2:00 p.m. Central time (11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Pacific | 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Mountain | 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Central | 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern.  Convert additional time zones online.) Submit your free registration online by Friday May 6, 2016. Login details will be sent via email the afternoon of May 6. The webcast will be recorded and made available shortly after the live event.

Register for March 24 C&RL forum on Assessment in Action special issue

C&RL Journal LogoCollege & Research Libraries Forum on Assessment in Action Special Issue

Live Thursday, March 24, 2016 – 12pm Pacific | 1pm Mountain | 2pm Central | 3pm Eastern

Length: 60 minutes

Register to receive reminders and information and/or view the forum live on YouTube.

Join us for a free, live panel discussion on Action Research with authors of articles in the March 2016 College & Research Libraries special issue on the ACRL Assessment in Action (AiA) program. AiA lead co-facilitator and issue co-editor Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe will introduce the Forum. Brandy Whitlock and Nassim Ebrahimi will speak about their study: “Beyond the Library: Using Multiple, Mixed Measures Simultaneously in a College-Wide Assessment of Information Literacy,” and Phil Jones, Julia Bauder, and Kevin Engel will speak about their research: “Mixed or Complementary Messages: Making the Most of Unexpected Assessment Results.”

This C&RL Forum is your chance to engage live with the authors and have your questions answered. The discussion will be hosted in Google Hangouts and broadcast on YouTube. You will be able to view them at either location.

College & Research Libraries is the official scholarly research journal of the Association of College & Research Libraries.

Hashtag: #crlassess

Panelists:

Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe: Professor/Coordinator for Information Literacy Services and Instruction, University of Illinois
Julia Bauder: Interim Librarian of the College, Grinnell College
Nassim Ebrahimi: Associate Vice President of Institutional Research, Effectiveness and Planning, Baltimore City Community College
Kevin Engel: Science Librarian, Grinnell College
Phil Jones: Humanities Librarian and Coordinator of Research Services, Grinnell College
Brandy Whitlock: Professor and Instruction Librarian, Andrew G. Truxal Library, Anne Arundel Community College

AiA Projects Advance Assessment, Student Learning and Success

Assessment in Action LogoAs the higher education association for librarians, ACRL supports academic and research librarians as change leaders in their campus communities through programs like Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success (AiA). The more than 200 participating AiA teams are contributing to innovation in higher education assessment by creating approaches, strategies, and practices that document the contribution of academic libraries to the overall goals and missions of their institutions.

AiA teams continue to show very promising results about which aspects of the library (e.g., collections, space, instruction, reference, etc.) have the strongest positive effect on student learning or success (e.g., retention, completion, persistence). The AiA librarian team leaders are also mastering the skills and capacity needed to assume leadership roles on campus for local data-informed and evidence-based decision making. Learn more about results from the wealth of AiA campus-based projects and the experiences of leading assessment teams through the following venues.

  • AiA Librarian Team Leader Profiles: ACRL’s Value of Libraries Committee continues to profile AiA team leaders on the VAL blog. Read reflections on challenges, greatest learning, and recommendations for others.
  • AiA Project Reports and Posters: The searchable online collection of individual AiA team project reports, poster abstracts and images contains detailed information about the projects of first and second year teams. This online collection contains library value approaches, practices, and tools that can be replicated in a variety of higher education settings.
  • AiA Project Synthesis: A report synthesizing the second year AiA projects and leadership of campus assessment teams will be coming out later this year. For the first year synthesis, see full report and executive summary to share broadly with campus stakeholders.
  • Comprehensive Bibliography: Later this fall, look for a comprehensive listing of dozens of journal articles, conference presentations and other public reports by AiA campus team members, facilitators, and ACRL staff.
  • Putting Assessment into Action: Selected Projects from the First Cohort of the Assessment in Action Grant: This forthcoming ACRL case book, edited by Eric Ackerman, will showcase 27 short reflections by first year AiA team leaders on the inquiry methods they used in their assessment projects. Assembled into three groupings – Assessing Information Literacy and Library Instruction; Assessing Outreach, Services, and Spaces; and Longitudinal Assessment – the cases describe assessment methods used and the successes and/or failures of these methods along with lessons learned.
  • College and Research Libraries: The March 2016 special issue will proudly features a selection of 7 action research studies by AiA teams, along with an introductory essay. The aim of the special issue is to help C&RL readers learn more about action research as an approach to scholarship and showcase examples of fruitful action research studies undertaken by AiA teams.

We hope that sharing these AiA project results inspires others to act as leaders in advancing student learning and assessment on their campuses.

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