Assessing for Improvement: Workshop at Duke University Libraries
Assessing for Improvement Diane Harvey June 16, 2011 1
Learning outcomes for todayAt the end of this session, participants will be able to:1. Describe the learning outcomes assessment process in libraries.2. Write learning outcomes for an information literacy instruction session.3. Choose appropriate assessment methods.4. Define ways to work with assessment results. 2
Why assess student learning in libraries? 3 Affirm commitment to student learning Improve effectiveness of instructional programs Align with campus, disciplinary, and higher ed efforts Be recognized on campus for contributions to student learning
What’s happening on campus? 4SACS re-accreditation: required departments and programs to create and assess learning outcomes (SLOs/objectives/goals)Undergraduate programs have done this; graduate programs are in the processEvery department and program website must post learning outcomes
Example: Classical Studies 5Majors develop: Comprehensive knowledge of disciplinary fundamentals through study of Greek and Latin (CLLA), courses in both Greek and Roman history, and a variety of courses in literature, art and archaeology, history, philosophy (CLCIV), with ample scope in both domains for developing advanced-level proficiencies through more concentrated study. Proficiency in writing in the discipline of Classical Studies, enjoying opportunities to write research and analytical papers in in both CLLA and CLCIV courses. In addition, all majors take the Capstone Seminar. Research experience, through the Capstone seminar; majors are also encouraged to write a Senior Thesis. Expertise outside the classroom, including study abroad, excavation experience, summer abroad programs, and other varieties of hands-on experience, including other experiential learning opportunities.
Assessing for improvement 6We don’t assess to prove… …but to improve. D. Stufflebeam
What will we do in the library? 7 Summer 2011: workshops on LOA and shared learning outcomes for WR20 library instruction. Fall 2011: begin assessing student learning in WR20 and subject specific instruction. Spring 2012: continue assessing, gather feedback from librarians
What is LOA: learning outcomes assessment? 8 Systematic look at what students are learning Moving from “What am I going to teach today?” to “What do I want students to learn today?”
What LOA is NOT 9 NOT evaluation of teaching NOT evaluation of program
Assessment loop Develop student learning outcomesWork with results Set criteriaDo assessment Devise assessment measures 10
Levels of assessment Institutional (University wide) Program (e.g. Department) Course Session (e.g. IL instruction) 11
LOA in libraries: constraints 12 Lack of consistent, reliable access to students IL instruction: is it a “program”? Program assessment vs. session assessment Difficult to isolate effects of library instruction
Where will you assess student learning? 13 On the instruction session level? In a for-credit library skills course? Across a series of library instruction sessions? Broadly across the student population?
Some simple approaches 14Develop learning outcomes for your instruction program, and look at where they are taught – “snapshots”Focus on large programmatic efforts e.g. first year writingHighlight specific academic departmentsAssess individual library instruction sessions – develop shared learning outcomes, compare/contrast
What is a learning outcome?A learning outcome is one sentence that indicates what students should represent, demonstrate or produce as a result of what they learn.- source: Peggy Maki 15
Good learning outcomes: Focus on what students will learn/know/be able to do Describe actions or behaviors Are results oriented Are observable and measurable Include a time frame 16
ACRL Standards 3 levels: standards, performance indicators, outcomes Can be used for LOA Examples: (1)Identifies keywords, synonyms and related terms for the information needed. (2) Selects an appropriate documentation style and uses it consistently to cite sources 17
Writing outcomes 18Today, we’ll write learning outcomes for a library instruction session.
Exercise: What do you cover?Think of an information literacy instruction session that you teach on a regular basis.List what you would cover in that session. 19
Bloom’s Taxonomy Classification of educational objectives Published in 1956, revised in 2001 (changes: noun to verb, synthesis/creating becomes highest level) Taxonomy = classification Cognitive levels (lower higher) Provides way to express outcomes 20
Using the formula Time frame: “At the end of the library session…” Student focus: “…students will be able to…” Action verb: “…identify…” Product/process: “…a relevant database for their term paper research.” 25
Another example: Time frame: “After completing the online tutorial…” Student focus: “…students will be able to…” Action verb: “…differentiate between…” Product/process: “…scholarly journals and popular magazines.” 26
One more example: Time frame: “By the time they complete their undergraduate program…” Student focus: “…students will be able to…” Action verb: “…construct…” Product/process: “…a research question that can be investigated using primary archival resources.” 27
Examples: bad and betterBad: Students will understand how to use social science databases.Better: Students will perform a search in Sociological Abstracts that retrieves relevant items.Bad: Students will be able to search the catalog.Better: Students will use the catalog to identify a book on their topic.Bad: Students will appreciate the importance of correct citation.Better: Students will produce citations in correct APA format. 28
Now, write your own!Choose two items from the list of what you cover in an information literacy session.Transform them into learning outcomes, using the formula.Find a partner and critique your outcomes using the following checklist. 29
Checklist for learning outcomes Includes a time frame? Focuses on students? Uses action verbs? Names a product or process? Is measurable/observable? Prompts a measure/method? Will be useful for you to assess? 30
Setting Targets 31 Ask yourself“What is success?”
Assessment Methods 32 Ask yourself “How will I know?”
Assessment methods Knowledge test One Minute paper & variations Bibliography analysis Concept Inventory Standardized test 33
Knowledge tests 34 Tests knowledge and/or skills before and/or after library instruction session. Can be given at end of library session or later in semester. Can use clickers to gather data during library session.Sample questions:1. What is the difference between a library catalog and a database?2. The Boolean operator “or” narrows a search statement (true/false).
One minute paper & variations 35Sample questions:1. What is the most important thing about library research you learned today?2. 3-2-1 (three things you learned, two things you’re still confused about, one thing you’d change about session)3. What is one question you still have?4. In your research, what will you do differently after today’s session?
Bibliography analysis 36 Look for citations from scholarly/peer reviewed journals Look for citations for books and journals owned by your library Look for articles retrieved from your databases.
Concept inventory 37Make a checklist of 3-12 important concepts students need to master.Ask students to explain each concept in a sentence or two. If a concept is unfamiliar, they should leave blank.Count good responses for each concept, then plan future instruction.
Standardized tests 38 I-Skills ILAT (James Madison University) SAILS
Using assessment information Rewrite learning outcomes Change what you do/how you teach Work collaboratively with colleagues (librarians and faculty) Revise assessment measures Share the news in the library and on campus 39
Learning outcomes are: Fundamental components of a learning assessment program Focused on student learning Indicate what students will know/be able to do Measurable, observable, overt 40
Learning Outcomes Assessment 41 A tool to help librarians improve student learning
LOA resources Angelo, Thomas (1993). Classroom assessment techniques. Maki, Peggy (2004). Assessing for learning : building a sustainable commitment across the institution. Middle States Commission on Higher Education(2003). Developing research & communication skills: guidelines for information literacy in the curriculum http://msche.org/publications/devskill050208135642.pdf Neely, Teresa Y(2006). Information literacy assessment : standards-based tools and assignments. Radcliff, Carolyn et.al (2007). A practical guide to information literacy assessment for academic librarians. Student Learning Outcomes Assessment (University of Virginia)http://www.web.virginia.edu/iaas/assessment/outcom es.htm 42