Office of Institutional Research and Assessment

Assessment in Action with University Libraries

University Libraries-Students as Scholars Assessment in Action Project


The Assessment in Action (AiA) Project is a collaborative initiative comprising the University Libraries, Students as Scholars, and the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment. The team was selected by the Association of College & Research Libraries to be part of a national learning community to increase the capacity of academic librarians to contribute to the assessment of student learning. Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success provides professional development for the project teams, and shares strategies for improving our understanding of the value of academic libraries on campus.

Mason’s project aims to promote collaboration between faculty and librarians in Research and Scholarship Intensive courses. The AiA project targets student learning outcome 3b from the Scholarly Inquiry section of the Students as Scholars program rubric, which is “Gather evidence appropriate to the question.” The learning outcome is broken down into three main components, and this is where we are focusing our efforts.

Scholarly Inquiry Rubric

The Scholarly Inquiry Rubric student learning outcome 3b is a selection from the Students as Scholars program rubric. For more information about the full program rubric, visit the Outcomes and Rubrics page on this website.

Inquiry Rubric Outcome 3b (pdf)

Project Logic Model

The logic model is a graphic presentation of the goals, activities, and outcomes for the project. This document guides the decisions for program design and assessment.

Project Logic Model (pdf)

Mason Research Practices Survey

The Mason Research Practices Survey is administered at the beginning of the semester to help librarians and faculty assess students’ research skills so that instruction and resources can be more accurately targeted to their needs.

Mason Research Practices Survey (.docx)

At the end of the semester, students complete a follow-up survey that asks them to reflect and report on their research experience.

End of Semester Survey (.docx)

Assessment Results

The AiA project completed the formal assessment of its first year in summer 2014. The project has become embedded in the regular practice of the Mason Libraries and the Students as Scholars initiative.

Assessment in Action Project Outcomes, 2014 (.pdf)

A poster with selected findings was presented at the American Library Association in June 2014:

West, P. J., Lockaby, D. C., Foster, S. L., & Usher, B. M. (2014). Embedded library instruction in undergraduate research classes: Facilitating scholarly conversation between librarians, faculty and students. Poster presented at American Library Association Annual Conference and Exhibition: “Transforming our Libraries, Ourselves”, Las Vegas, NV. | download poster (pdf)


A report about the first cohort in which Mason participated is available from the following link:

Association of College and Research Libraries. (2015). Academic library contributions to student success: Documented practices from the field. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries.

Related Resources

Association of College and Research Libraries. (2010). The value of academic libraries: A comprehensive research review and report. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries.

Gilchrist, D., & Oakleaf, M. (2012, April). An essential partner: The librarian’s role in student learning assessment (NILOA Occasional Paper No.14). Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment.

Head, A. J. (2013, December 4). Learning the ropes: How freshmen conduct course research once they enter college. (Project Information Literacy Research Report). Seattle: University of Washington, Information School.

Hensley, M. K., Shreeves, S. L., Davis-Kahl, S. (2014). A survey of library support for formal undergraduate research programs. College & Research Libraries, 75, 422-441. doi:10.5860/crl.75.4.422

Long, M. P., & Schonfeld, R. C. (2014, March 11). Ithaka S+R US Library Survey 2013. New York: ITHAKA.

For more information about this assessment project, contact Stephanie (Hazel) Foster.