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Curriculum based student assessment in libraries


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Presentation given at "Change, Challenge and Collaborate" event held at De Montfort University Kimberlin Library on 22nd May 2012, an event organised by the East Midlands ARL Group of CILIP.

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Curriculum based student assessment in libraries

  1. 1. How I stopped thinking like alibrarian and started asking theright questionsCurriculum-based library assessment at DeMontfort UniversityPaul Cavanagh, Senior Assistant LibrarianEmail:,Twitter: @peccavanaghSummary of presentation for Challenge, Change & Collaborate - the futurefor Subject Librarianship22nd May 2012, The Kimberlin Library at De Montfort University, Leicester
  2. 2. Before doing anythingDecide on learning outcomes –• Can be with Academics, within library module, within teaching strategy, aligned with information literacy programme• learning outcomes change as programme develops – plan, deliver, evaluate, reflect etcRealistically evaluate available resources –• standardisation and scale of delivery, content and assessment is essential
  3. 3. Content For students• Principle of least effort rules search choices• Provide context and language• Timing – delivering appropriate content at the right time For librarians• Consider access problems - show something which works• Use library literature – if it doesn’t exist, write it• Content in line with learning outcomes and questions• Means of delivery – Blackboard used by all students and lecturers, library presence within module shell• Scale – content / teaching / examination / marking
  4. 4. DeliveryTaught sessions Blackboard VLE• Exercise sheets • Integrated• Referencing examples presentations• Library guides Presentations and exercises • Embedded links to PDF guides • Session quizzes • Exam information • Contacts Guides Exercises
  5. 5. QuestionsQuestions must be in line with content, delivery and teaching and learningoutcomes - proofing required for grammar, vocabulary and meaningShould consider• Fairness (must be answerable)• Consistency and comparability (within the test and with other students)• Academic rigour• Integrity of marking (transparency and objectivity)Should be based on• Module learning outcomes• Taught content, exercises and library guides• Established evaluative criteria (Information Source Evaluation Matrix)Should avoid• Value-based or subjective terms e.g. “best”, “better” or “good” – these are difficult to mark, and are not based on knowledge or understanding.
  6. 6. AssessmentCreating an assessment• Measurable, clear questions in line with content and learning outcomes• Appropriate balance and difficulty weightingIn practice• Instructions – how to run sessions, how to set up exam, timings• Exam regulations• Exam space• Exam set up• Exam invigilation• Marking• Sample marking• Student feedback
  7. 7. Future• Improved feedback• Exploring deeper learning – increase subject based knowledge, integration of academic / professional skills• Collaborative sessions e.g. Library skills with academic writing (DMU’s Centre for Learning and Study Support team)• Analysis of outcomes – has students’ referencing improved?• Reassess delivery of content / support - online
  8. 8. C3Challenge librarian as gatekeeperChange what doesn’t work and evolve your content, delivery andassessment – Fix in the mix!Collaborate with Academics, VLE developers, library colleagues• Ask your colleagues to proof - especially those not involved in teaching and delivery, e.g. library assistants• Recognise a good idea or resource and use it• Standardisation does not mean losing specialisation – adapt and apply for different subjects• Accept others’ input and fair criticism... But keep to the learning objectives• Avoid duplicating the library website in VLEs – how can you better deliver your content?
  9. 9. Bonus materialAn enterprising student constructeda blog precisely for the test,replicating the Blackboard contentthat was turned off during the exam.Sadly, the blog didn’t help withquestions requiring the use ofguides, catalogue etc.Other students used Neil’s tool box for Remember:referencing which, again to much What are the learning objectives?sadness and loss of marks, didn’t The test is only a test – access toreference in DMU Harvard. resources, skills, knowledge and understanding is what you’re really offering students
  10. 10. Bonus materialPractical advice for today’s Librarian About Campus -The five rules of Subject / Learning / Faculty / Academic / Supportlibrarianship:1.Liaison2.Liaison3.Liaison4.Manage collections5.Spend budgets