Assessment of Learning in Academic Libraries – References

As part of my project for the Assessment Leadership Academy, I am writing a review of the relevant literature. My project is titled Developing an Academic Library Learning Assessment Plan, and these are some of the most helpful references I have come across so far. Megan Oakleaf’s work, specifically, is really great.


Allen, M.J. (2004). Assessing academic programs in higher education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

American Association of Colleges and Universities VALUE Project. Information literacy rubric. Retrieved from

American Association for Higher Education. Principles of Good Practice for Assessing Student Learning. Retrieved from

Banta, T. & Associates. (2002). Building a scholarship of assessment. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Driscoll, Amy & Wood, S. (2007). Developing outcomes-based assessment for learner-centered education: A faculty introduction. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Dugan, R.E. & Hernon, P. (2002). Outcomes assessment: Not synonymous with inputs and outputs. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 28, 376-380.

Hernon, P. (2002). Editorial: The practice of outcomes assessment. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 28, 1-2.

Hernon, P. & Dugan, R.E. (2002). An action plan for outcomes assessment in your library. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.

Hurlbert, J. (2008). Defining relevancy: Managing the new academic library. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Nichols, K. W., & Nichols, J. O. (2000). The department head’s guide to assessment implementation in administrative and educational support units. New York: Agathon Press.

Nitecki, D.A. & Bach, C.N. (2011, March). Assessment and accreditation: Libraries enter stage left. Paper presented at the Association of College and Research Libraries conference. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Retrieved from

Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (2010). Standard 2 – Resources & Capacity. Retrieved from

Oakleaf, M. (2008). The information literacy instruction assessment cycle: A guide for increasing student learning and improving librarian instructional skills. Journal of Documentation, 65(4), 539-560.

Oakleaf, M. (2009). Writing information literacy assessment plans: A guide to best practice. Communications in Information Literacy, 3(2), 80-89.

Oakleaf, M. (2010). The value of academic libraries: A comprehensive research review and report. Association of College & Research Libraries. Chicago, IL: American Library Association. Retrieved from

Oakleaf, M. (2011). Are they learning? Are we? Learning outcomes and the academic library. The Library Quarterly, 81(1), 61-82.

Oakleaf, M. & Kaske, N. (2009). Guiding questions for assessing information literacy in higher education. Libraries in the Academy, 9(2), 273-286.

Portmann, C.A. & Roush A.J. (2004). Assessing the effects of library instruction. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 30, 461-465.

Suskie, L. (2009). Assessing student learning: A commonsense guide. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

White, L.N. (2008). From slide rules to scorecards: service environment factors affecting the future of assessment in academic libraries. In J.M. Hurlbert (Ed.), Defining relevancy: Managing the new academic library (pp. 178-185). Westport, CN: Libraries Unlimited.

Wood, E.J., Miller, R., & Knapp, A. (2007). Beyond survival: Managing academic libraries in transition. Westport, CN: Libraries Unlimited.

Wright, S. & White, L. (2007). SPEC Kit 303: Library Assessment. Association of Research Libraries. Retrieved from


To Learn, Unlearn, & Relearn

I recently found the list below of 21st Century Literacies, posted by Cathy Davidson. As I prepared to launch myself and my students into Fall term today, I re-read the list, paused, and thought that even though I am not teaching any content specific to these literacies (I teach in the PLA program), at some level, in some way, I’d like to address them for my students because they seem pretty darn relevant to me. The list is from a course description for a course Davidson is teaching. Here they are, as she has defined them, along with key questions we might ask for each:

  • Attention: What are the new ways that we pay attention in a digital era? How do we need to change our concepts and practices of attention for a new era? How do we learn and practice new forms of attention in a digital age?
  • Participation: How do we encourage meaningful interaction and participation in a digital age? How can the internet be useful on a cultural, social, or civic level?
  • Collaboration: Collaboration can simply reconfirm consensus, acting more as peer pressure than a lever to truly original thinking. HASTAC has cultivated the methodology of collaboration by difference to inspire meaningful ways of working together.
  • Network awareness: How can we both thrive as creative individuals and understand our contribution within a network of others? How do you gain a sense of what that extended network is and what it can do?
  • Global Consciousness: How does the World Wide Web change our responsibilities in and to the world we live in?
  • Design: How is information conveyed differently, effectively, and beautifully in diverse digital forms? Aesthetics form a key part of digital communication. How do we understand and practice the elements of good design as part of our communication and interactive practices?
  • Narrative, Storytelling: How do narrative elements shape the information we wish to convey, helping it to have force in a world of competing information?
  • Procedural (Game) Literacy: What are the new tactics and strategies of interactive games, where the multimedia narrative forms changes because of our success or failure? How can we use game mechanics for learning and for motivation in our lives?
  • Critical consumption of information: Without a filter (editors, experts, and professionals), much information on the internet can be inaccurate, deceptive, or inadequate. How do we learn to be critical? What are the standards of credibility?
  • Digital Divides, Digital Participation: What divisions still remain in digital culture? Who is included and who excluded? How do basic aspects of economics and culture dictate not only who participates in the digital age but how they participate?
  • Ethics: What are the new moral imperatives of our interconnected age?
  • Assessment: What are the best, most fluid, most adaptive and helpful ways to measure progress and productivity, not as fixed goals, but as a part of a productive process that also requires innovation and creativity?
  • Preservation: What are the requirements for preserving the digital world we are creating? Paper lasts. Platforms change.
  • Sustainability: What are the metrics for sustainability in a world where we live on more kilowatts than ever before? How do we protect the environment in a plugged-in era?
  • Learning, Unlearning, and Relearning: Alvin Toffler has said that, in the rapidly changing world of the twenty-first century, the most important skill anyone can have is the ability to stop in ones tracks, see what isn’t working, and then find ways to unlearn old patterns and relearn how to learn. How is this process especially important in our rapidly changing digital world?

It is perhaps the last one that applies to our PLA work the most, as the critical reflection process in PLA causes us to ask what do we need to unlearn / relearn / learn?

Thanks to Jonas B. on Flickr for making this image available for reuse.

I believe that in my teaching I address other literacies represented on this list as well though, namely participation, collaboration, narrative, critical consumption of information, and of course, the heart of it all,  assessment. Though I do not necessarily view them in the way that Davidson is proposing — from a “digital world” point of view — I contend that they represent qualities of mind, an ethos, if you will, that transcends delivery / platform / media.

I like the list a lot, and I plan to use it as a map for the critically reflective journey I am about to embark on with my students. And, in the spirit of the list and in the spirit of being a co-learner, I will try to be clear with myself about my own areas to learn, unlearn and relearn as  well.