Library Assessment

Do Student Clicks = Student Learning?

Our Central Question Was…

What can the library learn about the impact of its instruction program on student learning by participating in the university’s Comprehensive Assessment Strategy?


Based on Our Question, We…

Looked at university assessments of student attainment of learning goals, defined three levels of library instruction, worked with I.T. to create system capturing clicks on library content, developed tracking spreadsheets, analyzed rubric scores and student clicks, decided next steps

What Are “Student Clicks”?

All courses use Blackboard LMS, whether online, face-to-face, or hybrid. Librarians create modules and host discussion forums in a variety of courses. Our IT director created a report which shows, in real time, the number of times students click in librarians’ modules and forums. Our goal was to analyze the number of students’ clicks with their scores on the university’s information literacy rubric, which is a secondary assessment not seen by students. Secondary rubrics are intended to measure university learning goals as part of the Comprehensive Assessment Strategy.


We Made Some Key Discoveries…

Discovery 1: Curriculum Map Disconnect
Analysis of student clicks showed a gap between the courses in which information literacy assessment is mapped by academic programs and the courses in which librarians teach these skills.

Discovery 2: We Have a Lot of Data!
We had been tracking librarians’ Level 3 instruction for two years, but adding student clicks revealed a new world of data. We have just begun to analyze the data and determine how to share it.

And Encountered a Few Challenges…

Challenge 1: Project Delay
University’s learning goal-assessment project took longer to launch and included fewer academic programs than anticipated.

Challenge 2: Data Gap
The first courses assessed with secondary rubrics were mastery courses – but library instruction occurs mainly in introductory courses. This created a data gap as most mastery courses do not have library content. In the future, we will see scores from earlier courses in which librarians are providing instruction.

Challenge 3: Getting Clean Data
It took multiple attempts to get clean data showing number of student clicks in library-created modules.


Going Forward, We Plan to…

Share results with stakeholders.

Collect / analyze a year’s worth of click data and IL rubric scores to assess students’ progress at I, P, M levels.

Identify relationships among IL rubric scores, student clicks, library instruction.

Assess project scalability and revise processes for efficiency.


More Information


This project is part of the program “Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success” which is undertaken by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) in partnership with the Association for Institutional Research and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The program, a cornerstone of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries initiative, is made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.