Why Assessment Matters: Defining Your Results


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The year is 2013 and your management has called you in to discuss your library’s impact. Would you have the data needed in order to answer the questions (and perhaps concerns)? To prepare you for conversations like that one, we will begin by discussing the options available for assessing your library’s services.

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Why Assessment Matters: Defining Your Results

  1. 1. Why Assessment Matters: Defining Your Results<br />Jill Hurst-Wahl<br />SU iSchool<br />@Jill_HW<br />
  2. 2. Why Do I Care About This?<br />
  3. 3. Year 2013<br />Your boss has bee asked to justify the library. Now you have been asked to prove the library’s impact.<br />
  4. 4. Circulation<br /># of reference requests<br />Size of the library<br />Size of the budget<br /># of programs<br />Some other “count”<br />Why do these no longer work?<br />Traditional Measures of Impact<br />
  5. 5. What have you done for me (user)? <br />How have those around me benefitted from you?<br />How has my future improved because of you?<br />How has the organization’s future improved?<br />Assessing Impact on the User<br />
  6. 6.
  7. 7. Goals<br />What are the goals of your library?<br />
  8. 8. Increase Library funding from the central administration<br />Pursue funding from donors and through grants and gifts for library priorities<br />Execute capital improvements in the Master Plan as funding becomes available<br />Improve services and collections for faculty,  graduate students, and undergraduates<br />Do You Need to Rethink Your Goals?<br />
  9. 9. Better<br />Goal 2: Dramatically improve systems for finding and using scholarly resources.<br />Goal 3: Provide services to support the full cycle of research and scholarly exchange.<br />Goal 4: Strengthen the educational impact of library programs for students at all levels.<br />
  10. 10. Do!<br />Think of one of your goals.<br />What do you believe the impact on the user should be today? <br />What will be the long-term impact?<br />What will be the longer-term impact?<br />
  11. 11. Share!<br />
  12. 12. Outcomes<br />Outcomes tell you how you will know if the goal has been achieved.<br />They are the “so what?” (So what is the impact?)<br />As we look at evaluation, we’ll see statements that could be phrased as outcomes.<br />
  13. 13. The academic performance of students improves through their contact with the library.<br />By using the library, students develop life-long information seeking behaviors.<br />The library's instruction program results in a high level of "information literacy" among students.<br />Academic Examples<br />
  14. 14. Employee performance improves because of the library.<br />Employees saved time (or money) because of the library.<br />New products are launched successfully.<br />The organization makes better decisions. <br />The library is integrated into all of the organization’s activities.<br />Corporate Examples<br />
  15. 15. Outcome-based evaluation<br />
  16. 16. Not…<br />How much has the library or library program done?<br />Rather…<br />What impact did the library or program have on the participants (users)?<br />How has the participant's (organization’s) life changed because of what the library provided?<br />
  17. 17. What Would Indicate Achievement?<br />The academic performance of students improves through their contact with the library.<br />By using the library, students develop life-long information seeking behaviors.<br />
  18. 18. How Do You Assess Them?<br />
  19. 19. Observation <br />Anecdotal stories <br />Self-assessment<br />Client-project disposition Ask!<br />Focus groups<br />Surveys<br />Customer & research services<br />Rubric<br />Other data<br />Keep notes<br />Assessment Tools<br />
  20. 20. Jill Hurst-Wahl<br />hurst@hurstassociates.com<br />jahurst@syr.edu<br />@jill_hw (Twitter)<br />