Assessment in Action Project Reflection – Kim Pittman

Kim Pittman, Info. Lit. & Assessment Librarian, U Minnesota Duluth
Kim Pittman,
U Minn. Duluth

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

Following is a reflection by Kim Pittman, Information Literacy & Assessment Librarian University of Minnesota Duluth | Kathryn A. Martin Library. Kim’s primary research question was: Will expanded library involvement in a required first-year writing course help students develop increased persistence and problem-solving skills when conducting research?

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

Time was definitely my greatest challenge. It helped enormously to have team members who were willing to share the workload and make significant contributions to the project. It was also important that our team legitimately enjoyed working together. This enabled us to communicate more effectively and accomplish a great deal on a challenging timeline.

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

Assess something you actually value and find compelling, even if means you will need to use unfamiliar or challenging assessment methods. My team completed a content analysis of reflective essays, a method most of us were not previously familiar with. At times, we felt overwhelmed by the amount of data we collected and unsure about how to proceed, but our genuine interest in our research question helped keep us motivated and moving forward.

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

More than anything else, AiA expanded my sense of what’s possible in student learning assessment. My campus team’s enthusiasm for our project and for working together demonstrated to me that members of the campus community are willing (and in many cases, eager) to partner on assessment projects like this. Through AiA, I was also able to learn about and apply new assessment skills. As a result, I now feel much more capable of tackling large and small-scale assessment projects in my everyday work.