LOEX Conference Proceedings 2010

Document Type

Structural Supports: Assessment and Evaluation

Publication Date



As librarians assume ever greater instructional roles in higher education, ongoing assessment is vital for maximizing instructional quality. Rubrics as an assessment mechanism are commonly used to gauge the extent of learning outcomes in classes and library instructional sessions. Rubrics allow for standardization of application, ease of use, and provide an expandable framework for quantitative evaluations, yet their use in evaluating library instructors has neither been widely explored nor employed.

This is a case study of the development of an instructor rubric at San Francisco State University, and will examine both theoretical and practical issues in the creation and application of rubrics to instructors. Education literature on rubrics is extensive, and in library literature rubrics have been examined closely for evaluating learning outcomes but not as assessment tools for instructors themselves. Instructional librarians often need both formative feedback and summative evaluation, and a thoughtfully designed rubric can accomplish both. Besides serving as educational frameworks, rubrics can advance pedagogical values or encourage innovations throughout a program. Rubrics serve to remind instructors of the essential goals of instruction, establishing a foundation for careful review. Rubrics are often valuable for generating quantitative data, but additionally serve to standardize evaluation categories. The advantages of analytic vs. holistic rubrics, their utility for introducing pedagogical innovation, and value for reviewing candidates for retention (and sometimes tenure) decisions will all be explored. The paper will provide a sample instructional evaluation rubric, and offer practical advice for rubric formulation and application, and their interpretation for retention decisions.