New Semester, New Projects

A new semester is beginning at many higher education institutions in the next few weeks. What assessment projects or initiatives will you undertake this fall? Share your research, no matter what stage it’s currently at, through our VAL project survey.

One thing that’s come to mind for me is the fact that we may have lots of data available that we aren’t necessarily using. Last week’s blog post, for example, addressed connections between information literacy assessment and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). If your institution has administered the NSSE, you may be able to use institutional results to draw connections between library collections and services and student engagement. If nothing else, you may be inspired with new ideas about student engagement by learning more about how engaged your students are.

Many institutions give a sample of students a standardized test like the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) or the Critical Thinking Assessment Test (CAT). Both tests measure students’ ability to think and write critically — skills closely related to information literacy that may be shaped or informed by library services or collections. If you are able to see results for your institution, you may learn more about students’ facility with information.

If you haven’t yet learned which office on your campus manages these types of surveys and tests, find out and introduce yourself. Explore possibilities for collaboration with the library. See if anyone on campus is doing assessment that deals with library-related issues — starting a new research collaboration may be easier than starting a new project from scratch on your own!