Assessment Is Key to Instruction

Assessment Is Key to Instruction

Assessment in libraries is an essential aspect of our jobs, so how can we continue doing assessments when working in a virtual environment? In this blog post, I will discuss two ways that you can continue assessing your instruction sessions. Getting feedback from our students is vital to how we support them. It is excellent to know if the information provided in a session has been helpful.

Our instruction librarians’ assessment tool is the Association of College and Research Libraries’ (ACRL) project outcome; it is a free online toolkit. This toolkit is for public and academic libraries and is “…designed to help libraries understand and share the impact of essential library programs and services by providing simple surveys and an easy-to-use process for measuring and analyzing outcomes.” Since I work at an academic library, we currently use ACRL’s project outcome for academic libraries. When I have instruction sessions, I can go into the application and set up the type of survey by selecting the survey topic, which preselects the questions for me. The survey is personalized to fit the needs of my class. The survey topic that I choose is “instruction,” and I select “immediate” as the survey type. The other survey type option is “follow-up,” which is great for when you have continuous instruction sessions with the same students. Then I get the survey link and provide it to the students to get their feedback. After the class is over, I can view the survey responses; then I download them and save them to use as my point of reference. 

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Another way that you can assess a session is by asking two quick go-to assessment questions: “Did you learn anything new today?” and “Will you apply what you learned today?” I learned these from my mentor Twanna Hodge. So if I have to teach a short session, then I can use these questions. Incorporating these two quick go-to assessment questions in a virtual engagement tool will be a fun way to see the students’ responses visually. 

Assessment is a great way to pivot how you are doing your instruction sessions. Also, it is a way to gather information about how students are using the library resources as well as a way to get input on the library space. Evolving professionally is important so that we are supporting our students in the best way possible by understanding who they are, like laying the foundation to your instruction journey with them. Continuous assessment is a necessary part of instruction; you can create your assessment questions or use a toolkit like ACRL’s project outcome.

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