Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Assessing Library Instruction Assessment Activities

Assessing Library Instruction Assessment Activities. This article is by Jim Kapoun. It was published in Library Philosophy and Practice Vol. 7, No. 1 (Fall 2004).

From the site:

Common questions that instruction librarians may ask before creating an assessment instrument for their classes are; “What are other libraries doing?” or “What should I ask and what question(s) will really assess outcomes?” As a continuing effort to examine our instructional assessment at Minnesota State University, Mankato, I decided to assess library instruction assessment tools/surveys. This research will examine and reflect on how academic libraries conduct or administer their instructional classroom assessment. We wanted to know what types of questions were asked and how they were delivered to the students. I identified 320 peer libraries from across the nation who have instruction programs and sent a letter inquiring about the assessment procedures used in their instruction program, and asking them to send a paper or e-mail copy of the assessment tool(s). After the information was collected, the documents were analyzed to look for common themes and ideas.

Assessment is not new to library instruction programs, but methods and theories change frequently. At the Minnesota State University, Mankato Library we needed to update our instructional survey but were not sure how to do it or what types of questions to ask. Our old survey assessed the librarians' style and teaching methods and we wanted to change that emphasis. Our campus, like others across the nation, is interested in gathering data that assess student outcomes rather than assessing the style of the instructor. We wondered how other peer libraries with instruction programs were conducting their assessment.

Our university set aside money for faculty members to conduct special research projects on professional research, teaching, or assessment. This program was valuable for evaluating library instruction assessment activities.

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