Assessment in Action Project Reflection – Christina E. Dent

Christina E. Dent  Emerson College
Christina E. Dent

The ACRL Value in Academic Libraries team asked recent participants in the Assessment in Action program to reflect on their work and we were simply floored by the generous responses.

Following is a reflection by Christina E. Dent, Instruction Librarian at Iwasaki Library, Emerson College. Christina’s primary research question was: Does librarian involvement in first-year writing classes impact student achievement and research skills?

1. What was your greatest challenge during the course of your Assessment in Action project?

My greatest challenge was probably just getting started and having confidence in myself to leave the team. I’m not a statistics person, so I never saw myself as someone who could run a project like this. But I had great statistics people on my team who helped me achieve the project vision.

2. What is your #1 recommendation for other librarians who want to conduct an assessment project on student learning and success?

Don’t reinvent the wheel. You’d be surprised how much information and data you already have that you can build upon for a larger scale project. Also, we had a lot of success with our project because we decided to work with a program–first-year writing–with whom we already had a great working relationship.  Start with partners you already have and see if you can expand the scope of your assessment with them.

3. What is the #1 thing you gained through your participation in Assessment in Action?

My main insight may seem anticlimactic, but I was/am surprised that my team was able to do such a large scale project at all.  I found the very idea daunting at first and wasn’t sure how I would pull it off.  But large projects are just like small projects with more steps.  They come together is the same way as any project–with planning and working with a strong, passionate team.

ACRL e-Learning webcast series: Learning Analytics –Strategies for Optimizing Student Data

Val LogoRegistration is available for the three-part webcast series, “Learning Analytics: Strategies for Optimizing Student Data on Your Campus.” This webcast series, co-sponsored by the ACRL Value of Academic Libraries Committee, the Student Learning and Information Committee, and the ACRL Instruction Section, will explore the advantages and opportunities of learning analytics as a tool which uses student data to demonstrate library impact and to identify learning weaknesses. How can librarians initiate learning analytics initiatives on their campuses and contribute to existing collaborations? The first webcast will provide an introduction to learning analytics and an overview of important issues. The second event will focus on privacy issues and other ethical considerations as well as responsible practice, and the third webcast will include a panel of librarians who are successfully using learning analytics on their campuses.

· Webcast One: Learning Analytics and the Academic Library: The State of the Art and the Art of Connecting the Library with Campus Initiatives (March 29, 2016)

· Webcast Two: Privacy and the Online Classroom: Learning Analytics, Ethical Considerations, and Responsible Practice (April 14, 2016)

· Webcast Three: Moving Beyond Circulation and Gate Counts: Practical Applications of Learning Analytics (May 11, 2016)

Complete details including webcast descriptions and learning outcomes for each webcast, and registration materials are available online. Questions can be directed to

Upcoming Publication on Information Literacy Instruction and Student Achievement

Early last month Megan posted about recent research connecting academic libraries and student achievement. She mentioned that there are multiple projects in the U.S. currently underway to correlate library use and GPA, and I have results from just such a project to share with you all!

In a recently completed study at University of Wyoming I discovered a positive correlation between upper-division library instruction and higher GPA at graduation (by upper-division, I mean post-first-year). This is based on an analysis of 4,489 transcripts of graduating seniors at the University of Wyoming, and the transcript analysis was supplemented by focus groups with graduating seniors, with the goal of answering the following questions:

  • What is the relationship between student academic success and information literacy instruction?
  • Which students receive library instruction and which do not?
  • Is there a good argument for creating a tiered program of information literacy instruction?
  • How can we improve our program of information literacy instruction?

Look for the article in the March or June 2012 issue of Evidence Based Library and Information Practice. Here’s the citation: Bowles-Terry, M. (2012). Library instruction and academic success: A mixed-methods assessment of a library instruction program. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice. Forthcoming.

Are you working on this type of project at your institution? Do you have any results to share? Log in to post a comment and share your experience — feel free to leave a citation or a link to your work. We’d love to find out what type of research you’re doing to demonstrate the impact of library use!

Update 3/21/2012: Here’s a link to the article –