Category Archives: AiA

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.

“Assessment in Action” Project Posters at ALA Annual Conference

Assessment in Action LogoComing to the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco? 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 64 teams will present posters during each time slot:

Assessment in Action: Second Year Project Posters, Session I
Friday, June 26, 2015, 2-4:00pm
Moscone Convention Center, 3006 (W)

Assessment in Action: Second Year Project Posters, Session II
Saturday, June 27, 2015, 8:30-10:30am
Hilton San Francisco Union Square, Imperial B

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 is undertaking 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, is made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Teams Selected for Third Year of ACRL “Assessment in Action” Learning Community

Assessment in Action LogoACRL has selected 55 institutional teams to participate in the third year of the program Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success (AiA). The program is made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and carried out in partnership with the Association for Institutional Research and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The teams, representing all types of institutions, come from 24 states, the District of Columbia and Australia. For a list of currently confirmed institutions, see the AiA program webpage.

In their applications each institution identified a team, consisting of a librarian and at least two additional team members as determined by the campus (e.g., faculty member, student affairs representative, institutional researchers or academic administrator). They also identified goals for their action learning projects.

“The top applications were distinguished by a clear connection between the team’s project goals and institutional priorities as well as strong institutional commitment to support the team’s project during the course of the AiA program,” said Lynn Silipigni Connaway, vice chair of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries Committee and senior research scientist at OCLC.

The proposed topics for selected institutions include:

  • Does the point-of-need integration of library instructional materials and services into the blended learning environment improve the quality of nontraditional student papers in undergraduate courses with a research component?
  • What is the contribution of the library internship program on student learning and career development?
  • What impact can an enhanced library program based on the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy have in curricular experiments designed to develop knowledge, skills, and habits of mind?
  • How do students’ co-curricular interests (leadership, entrepreneurship, service, etc.) impact the perceived importance or satisfaction with the library’s services, collections, and facility?
  • What is the impact of an information literacy instructional program for students preparing for an experiential learning experience, co-op? What is the perceived application of information literacy skills by both employers and students on co-op, and what is the relationship to student retention?
  • Can we find a correlation with students’ library usage and student success (grades, retention, and completion rates)? What relationships will we find by incorporating library data points (reference interactions, physical space usage, instruction sessions, library research consultations, and collection usage) into the customer relationship management tool currently used by key departments on campus such as advising, financial aid, and student communication?
  • Do students who attend research data services workshops and/or data management classes demonstrate improved knowledge of and practice of effective data management practices following training/instruction? How does students’ work with data, data sets, and/or databases in analog and/or digital form affect their ability to think administratively, critically, pragmatically, and technically about how they use, manage, and store data? How does access and use of collaborative research data infrastructure impact student’s capacity for and effectiveness in working within research teams?

To ensure project results are disseminated to the broader community, each institutional team will submit a final report and each librarian team leader will prepare and deliver a poster at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference. The AiA program, part of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries initiative, employs a blended learning environment and a peer-to-peer network over the course of the 14-month long program, which runs from April 2015-June 2016. The librarians will participate as cohort members in a one-year professional development program that includes team-based activities carried out on their campuses. An important component of the AiA program is establishing a learning community where librarian team leaders have the freedom to connect, risk, and learn together.

“The variety of projects and diversity of institutions is inspiring,” said Lisa Hinchliffe, co-lead facilitator in the AiA program and professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “It is an honor to be working with such dedicated librarian team leaders, and the facilitators are pleased to see the AiA community of practice continue to develop and grow with this third year of participants.”

Strong results from AiA teams are already evident in the January report synthesizing more than 70 projects from the first year with an accompanying executive summary to share broadly with campus stakeholders and a searchable online collection of individual team project descriptions. A second year of AiA is well underway with an additional 70 institutional teams who will be submitting their final reports in June and presenting posters at the ALA Annual Conference in 2015.

AiA is a three-year program, and ACRL will use this third year of the AiA grant to inform how it can best support the community in developing and carrying out assessment projects going forward. The IMLS grant funded the majority of the costs for developing the AiA program and for delivering it the first two years. The third year of the grant marks a transition year to determine if this program is sustainable or if other models better address the needs of the community.

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