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Library Instruction Assessment Toolkit: Framing Assessment

Grace Doherty Library Assessment Plan

Grace Doherty Library Information Literacy Instruction Assessment Plan Summary

The full text of the library information Literacy Instruction Assessment Plan can be found in the document linked above. The main points of this document include:

Purpose of Information Literacy Assessment

The intention of this information literacy assessment plan is threefold: 1) to provide a tool for measuring and improving Centre College students’ information literacy; 2) to strengthen the Grace Doherty Library’s information literacy efforts through intentional and evidence-based changes; and 3) to provide a framework for sharing assessment data and findings both within the Library, and with the larger Centre College community.

As a practical guide for formative and summative assessment at the course and program levels, this document will facilitate ongoing discussion and development of the Library instruction program and situate Library instructional efforts within the mission and context of the Centre College curriculum, with the ultimate goal of improving student learning outcomes.

Assessment Theory

The Grace Doherty Library’s Information Literacy Assessment Plan is based on Megan Oakleaf’s (2008, 2009) Information Literacy Instruction Assessment Cycle (ILIAC), which is, in turn, grounded in “assessment for learning” theory, “assessment as learning” theory and “assessment as learning to teach” theory. The information below is from those articles.

Assessment for learning theory

undefinedAs described by Wiggins (1996) and Arter (1996), assessment for learning theory suggests that “good teaching is inseparable from good assessing” (Wiggins, 1996). Arter (1996) explains, “Educators do not teach and then assess; nor do they think of assessment as something that is done to students. Instead, they consider the assessment activity itself an instructional episode.” Librarians, as instructors, most often teach one to three class sessions in any individual course. As such, they naturally incorporate multiple formative assessment activities into every lesson plan to allow students to ultimately operate at the “shared instruction” or “modeled instruction” layer of Fisher and Frey’s scaffolded instruction model (2013).              

Assessment as learning theory

Assessment as learning theory suggests that linking teaching and assessment help students learn how to learn (Popham, 2003). Again, because librarians have limited time in which to interact with students, the active learning activities they use in library instruction sessions - which serve the dual purpose of being formative assessments, as has already been stated - are specifically designed to help students formulate and carry out their own research plan.

Assessment as learning to teach

Assessment as learning to teach theory asserts that “the practice of focusing on student learning goals and outcomes, assessing student attainment of learning outcomes, and implementing instructional changes to increase student learning leads to the ongoing improvement of librarian teaching skills.” (Oakleaf, 2009) This applies to formative assessment activities used in the classroom in order to gauge student understanding and adapt the pace and depth of instruction accordingly as well as program-level summative assessment used to improve the library’s overall instructional strategy. Specifically, assessment provides feedback librarians can use to improve their skills (Knight, 2002), reflect on their teaching (Warner, 2003), examine their attitudes and approaches to learning (Bresciani et al., 2004), and test their assumptions about learning (Warner, 2003). Librarians can also use assessment to learn what to teach and how long to teach it (Popham, 2003).

With these assessment goals in mind, Oakleaf’s Information Literacy Instruction Assessment Cycle consists of seven stages:

During the 2019/2020 academic year, instruction librarians:

  1. Reviewed learning goals by using the ACRL Framework to adapt previously used learning goals.
  2. Identified learning outcomes by revising the Information Literacy Student Learning Outcomes used by librarians for teaching and assessment.
  3. Created learning activities by developing an Information Literacy Toolkit and Assessment toolkit, containing CATs and other instructional tools.

The remainder of the Library’s Assessment Plan will focus on defining and enacting stages 4-7.

Information Literacy Assessment Plan 2020-2024

The Grace Doherty Library will assess its information literacy program in the following ways:

1. Student evaluation of library instruction sessions (satisfaction-based assessment).

2. Course-level competency-based assessment.

3. Program-level competency based assessment.

Process for Continuous Assessment

Student evaluation of library instruction sessions – The survey link will be provided during each class session as a URL and/or QR code. Every student receiving library instruction will have the opportunity to respond to the survey. The primary purpose of gathering satisfaction-based data is to focus on Assessment as learning to teach.

Course-level competency-based assessment – Every year, the instruction librarians will identify an SLO to focus on for assessment. During library sessions that address that SLO, the librarian will gather data artifacts and record results in the Assessment Toolkit data repository. The primary purpose of gathering course-based assessment data is to focus on Assessment for and as learning.

Program-level competency based assessment - will be assessed as described in this table. The primary purpose of gathering course-based assessment data is to focus on Assessment as Learning to Teach, ans Assessment for and as learning.

Adapted from:

Oakleaf, M. (2009). The information literacy instruction assessment cycle: A guide for increasing student learning and improving librarian instructional skills. Journal of Documentation. 65(4). 2009.

Oakleaf, M., & Kaske, N. (2009). Guiding questions for assessing information literacy in higher education. Libraries and the Academy, 9(2), 273–286.

What is Course-level Assessment?

Course-level library instruction assessment may be satisfaction-based or competency-based.  

Satisfaction-based assessment, sometime referred to as course evaluation, assesses student satisfaction with the quality and content of instruction. Click on the Satisfaction-based Assessment tab to access Grace-Doherty Library’s student and faculty library instruction satisfaction surveys. 

Competency-based assessment, assesses what students know and what they can do. It is learner-centered and often formative (meaning that its purpose is to 1) provide feedback to instructors who can then improve their teaching; and 2) provide feedback to students who can then improve their learning). In library instruction, feedback is provided in the classroom and is, therefore, almost immediate. Click on the Competency-based Assessment tab to access a repository of Information Literacy Assessment activities 

What is Program-level Assessment?

Program-level assessment assesses student learning across courses or a series of connected activities in order to measure how students are learning as they progress through a particular course of study. Program-level assessment is based on defined student learning outcomes (SLOs) that should be measured unrelated to individual course grades. The goal is to understand the student’s progress over the course of their college education and develop ways to improve the learning process. Program-level assessment is, by its nature, competency-based.