AiA Projects Advance Assessment, Student Learning and Success

 Assessment in Action  Comments Off on AiA Projects Advance Assessment, Student Learning and Success
Nov 052015

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 ProfilesACRL’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 PostersThe 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.


An exciting C&RL Forum event is just around the corner. This forum will be an excellent opportunity to look closely at two recent studies that center in many ways on value and some of the learning outcomes often associated with student library experiences. 

C&RL Forum on Library Usage and Student Success
Live Wednesday, October 28, 2015 (Length: 60 minutes)
9am Pacific | 10am Mountain | 11am Central | 12pm Eastern

One of the most difficult issues librarians face is how to prove our value to the university. Join us for an author panel discussion of two College & Research Libraries articles which explore the ties between student library usage and success: “The Impact of Library Resource Utilization on Undergraduate Students’ Academic Performance” by Felly Chiteng Kot and Jennifer L. Jones and “Investigating the Relationship of Library Usage to Student Outcomes” by John K. Stemmer and David M. Mahan (preprint). The authors will share the findings of their studies.

The first study (Chiteng Kot and Jones) addressed the issue of self-selection bias by using propensity score matching to construct treatment and comparison groups with similar background characteristics. After controlling for a variety of factors, this study found that students in the treatment group (who used library resources at any level specified) had a higher first-term GPA compared to their counterparts in the comparison group (who did not use library resources at the corresponding levels). For the purposes of this study, library use included workstation logins, study room reservations, and research clinic attendance.

The second study analyzed data from non-anonymous user surveys on why and how often students used the library in conjunction with institutional data to conduct a regression analysis that identified multiple correlations between student outcomes and the library. Stemmer and Mahan found that the library factors associated with student outcomes change over the course of the four year undergraduate experience. Underclass students using the library as a place to study are more likely to have positive outcomes, whereas upper-class students see positive outcomes when using the library as an information resource.

Hashtag: #acrlsuccess


John K. Stemmer, PhD: John is the Director of Library Services at Bellarmine University.


Felly Chiteng Kot: Felly is the Institutional Research Analyst for the Office of the Provost at Nazarbayev University.

Jennifer L. Jones: Jennifer is the Assessment and User Experience Librarian in the University Library at Georgia State University.

David M. Mahan, PhD: David is the Assistant Provost and Executive Director of Institutional Effectiveness at Manhattan College.

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


Assessment in Action (AiA) – An update from Nastasha E. Johnson at Purdue University Libraries

 Assessment in Action, General, Library Impact on Students  Comments Off on Assessment in Action (AiA) – An update from Nastasha E. Johnson at Purdue University Libraries
Oct 122015
Natasha Johnson, librarian at the Math library. New faculty Purdue Libraries postcard (Mark Simons / Purdue University)

Natasha Johnson, librarian at the Math library. New faculty Purdue Libraries postcard (Mark Simons / Purdue University)

We asked participants in ACRL’s Assessment in Action (AiA) to share a few thoughts on their experience. Here is what Nastasha E. Johnson, Physical and Mathematical Sciences Information Specialist at the
Purdue University Libraries had to say about her project: “Embedded information literacy within an introduction to design process course: successive citation analyses and student reflections as an assessment of learning“:

Abstract: In this study, 160 students’ bibliographic work is analyzed over 3 assignments, and coupled with students’ successive perceptions of their IL skills over the course. Triangulation between themes in students’ IL skill perception, demonstrated citation analysis, and graded performance will be discussed. This project, supported by the Assessment In Action national initiative, was designed to inform the campus community and the larger library community about the impact of embedded library instruction on student performance and students’ IL skills perceived and actual.

1. What was your greatest challenge during the course of your Assessment in Action project? The greatest challenge during this process was managing a large amount of data, while working toward meaning both quantitatively and qualitatively. However, by pursuing both quantitative and qualitative meaning, I believe this project’s findings were strengthened. Our quantitative data obviously looked at students’ academic work performance. By seeking qualitative data, however, we specifically asked students to reflect and evaluate their skills throughout the project, which allowed instructors and librarians to reflect on their own instruction and performance.

2. What is your #1 recommendation for other librarians who want to conduct an assessment project on student learning and success? I recommend using several instructors and several sections of the same course in order to gain a more accurate picture of learning objectives and actual student performance. Also, by working with several instructors, a sense of unity and teamwork forms throughout the project and continues after the course concludes.

3. What is the #1 thing you gained through your participation in Assessment in Action? I felt extremely encouraged as a result of this study, which showed statistical significance in students’ academic growth, development, and competence in their information literacy skills as a result of the librarian cooperation with professors. I also gained the confidence to talk to stakeholders and campus administrators about library assessment and library impacts.

Thank you Nastasha for the great project!


© 2014 ACRL Value of Academic Libraries Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha