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Assessment in Action

Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success (AiA)

Assessment in Action


Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success (AiA) is a three-year project sponsored by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) in partnership with the Association of Institutional Research and the Association of Public Land-grant Universities, and with funding from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.  

When the project concludes in 2016, over 200 higher education institutions will have participated in developing assessment methods and tools. The methods and tools designed by the teams expand the resources that higher education institutions can share and use in their campus assessment initiatives. Many of the projects are replicable at other academic libraries or contain elements that can be adapted to a college or university’s unique institutional context.

Higher education institution proposals for AiA are chosen through a competitive applications process with a focus on developing and implementing an action learning project to examine the impact of their institutions library on student success and that contributes to assessment activities on their campus. The participating AiA teams are contributing to innovation in higher education assessment by creating approaches, strategies, and practices that document the contribution of academic libraries to the overall goals and missions of their institutions.

The UCSC Library Assessment in Action Research Study

The UCSC Library research proposal was developed by a library team in collaboration with the Writing Program and the Office of Institutional Research, Assessment, and Policy Studies. It was selected to participate in the Assessment in Action project and was cited by the review committee as being among the strongest applications.

The study will evaluate online resources offered by the library in terms of their scope and effectiveness in helping lower-division students acquire a foundational level of Information Literacy skills. The project team will develop an assessment approach to the online resources based on learning outcomes specified for the lower-division Writing 2 course that prepare students to engage with popular and scholarly sources in order to successfully complete a research assignment. 

The study will be conducted in two phases:

  • The first phase will focus on the scope, the second on evaluating effectiveness. In the first phase (Spring/Summer 2015) the project team will evaluate the scope of existing Information Literacy resources that support Writing 2. They will identify learning outcomes specific to Information Literacy skills that are required to complete a major research assignment (and meet the Writing 2 course learning outcomes) and create a curriculum matrix to evaluate the extent to which the assignments match the expected Information Literacy proficiencies, and to which library Information Literacy modules support Writing 2 learning outcomes.
  • In the second phase (Fall 2015), the team will work with a select group of faculty teaching Writing 2 to evaluate the teaching effectiveness and student learning outcomes of an online Information Literacy module. The data will be analyzed in Winter 2016.

AiA Project Resources

The following AiA Team Project resources are available in PDF format: 

  • Writing Assignment Requirements
  • AiA Team Scoring Process Sheet
  • Matrix for IL Definition and Standards, Writing C2, Library and Campus learning outcomes
  • Online Rubric Scoring Sheet
  • Rubric Glossary

The University Library's Commitment to Student Success

UCSC is embarking on a campus-wide strategic plan for the future "Envision UC Santa Cruz" which emphasizes the campus dedication to student success. In support of this this goal, the University Library provides physical space, resources, and services that promote student success.  And to continue to advance and improve this support, University Librarian Elizabeth Cowell has created a new Undergraduate Experience Team (UET) tasked to build an assessment driven foundation for long term student success and establish strategic partnerships with campus stakeholders who are also highly committed to student success. 

The Assessment in Action research project developed by the UET team in collaboration with the Writing Program and the Office of Institutional Research, Assessment, and Policy Studies will help in evaluating how well existing tools create a foundation for lower-division Information Literacy, to understand how best to provide that foundation and to articulate a framework of Information Literacy skills in collaboration with campus community that the Library can build upon.