Document Type

Making Assessment Useful

Publication Date



In Fall 2005, the University of Wisconsin's Memorial Library began using an in-house, online survey product to gather feedback from students before, during, and after library instruction sessions. During several sessions, the survey product was used as a medium to complete hands-on exercises. More significantly, web-based surveys were used to administer a pre- and post-knowledge survey and performance evaluation, in order to gauge the level of impact on student learning. Knowledge surveys ask students to rate their readiness to be tested on a particular learning outcome without asking them to perform the task directly; the performance evaluations correlate the students' ability to perform tasks with their confidence levels, in order to measure actual learning. Preliminary data indicates a correlation between confidence levels and actual learning based on the learning outcomes. The purpose of both pre- and post-testing is not only to measure the level of impact, but also to tailor instruction sessions on-the-fly, based on the immediate needs of the students. Knowledge surveys are also useful tools for instructors, serving as a planning outline for the curriculum and as a means of assessing the teacher's effectiveness.

In this session, the presenters will demonstrate the use of the online survey product as a new technology in library instruction assessment. They will discuss the uses of a web-based survey, including the administration of a knowledge survey. In addition, they will discuss the development of a knowledge survey as it relates to learning outcomes and instructional goals for library sessions.