Currents and Convergence: Navigating the Rivers of Change
ACRL 12th National Conference
April 7-10, 2005
Assessment as Opportunity: Knowing your Students, Reaching Your Faculty

Michelle Twait and Barbara Fister
Gustavus Adolphus College Gustavus Adolphus College
St. Peter, MN St. Peter, MN
Office: (507) 933-7553 Office: (507) 933-7563


What can libraries gain by adopting a focus on student learning outcomes?

Ralph A. Wolff. “Using the Accreditation Process to Transform the Mission of the Library.” New Directions for Higher Education 90 (Summer 1995): 77-91. Discusses how self-study for accreditation can lead to situating the library more firmly in the center of teaching and learning. An interesting description of how conceptual changes in how we perceive the information landscape and the role of libraries in higher education drive a new emphasis on teaching and learning collaborations.


Assessment plans

American Association for Higher Education. Assessment Forum: 9 Principles of Good Practice for Assessing Student Learning. A short list of practical ideas about what makes assessment work.

Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library. Assessment Plan

Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library. External Review and Self-Study


Make assessment an opportunity! Insights about student learning can become the basis for brainstorming and problem-solving. An annual assessment retreat can provide planning for next year’s instruction programming.

Lindauer, Bonnie Gratch. “Comparing the Regional Accreditation Standards: Outcomes Assessment and Other Trends.” Journal of Academic Librarianship 28.1 (Jan-March 2002): 14-25. Analyzes current and draft standards from regional accreditation commissions, finding more emphasis on outcomes, distance education, and information literacy.

Lindauer, Bonnie Gratch. “Defining and Measuring the Library’s Impact on Campuswide Outcomes. College and Research Libraries 59.6 (November 1998): 546-570. Links library goals for learning with accreditation expectations and identifies ways libraries contribute to student learning—and methods of assessing the teaching-learning library.

Pritchard, Sarah M. “Determining Quality in Academic Libraries.” Library Trends 44.3 (Winter 1996): 572-594. An overview of previous attempts and an outline of the issues facing libraries.


We’re all interested in improving student learning. Assessment at your library can be the basis of research projects that can be presented and published to benefit the field.

Carnegie Foundation. Bibliography on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (Fall 2002) . Annotated list of publications, including definitions, examples and resources for faculty.

Chauncey, Bonnie. “Alternative Assessment in Higher Education.” College and Research Libraries 65 (Nov. 2004): 586+. A guide to Internet resources on assessment featuring a variety of approaches.

Instruction Section, Association of College and Research Libraries. Research Agenda for Library Instruction and Information Literacy (2005) A list of issues and areas for exploration, many of them relating to assessment or suggesting research topics that assessment data might inform.

Ray, Kathlin L. “The Postmodern Library in an Age of Assessment.” ACRL X: Crossing the Divide March 15-18, 2001. A thought-provoking analysis of how changing libraries demand changing models for management, planning, and assessment.