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Unpublished Paper
Learning Outcomes Assessment at American Library Association Accredited Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies
  • Win Shih, University of Southern California

There is an increasing emphasis on learning outcomes assessment in the accreditation process in higher education in general and in library education specifically. This mixed methods study investigated the practice of outcomes assessment at master’s programs in library and information studies accredited by the American Library Association in the United States and Canada. Six salient themes emerged from the survey responses of Accreditation Liaison officers and the content analysis of 12 program presentations of MLIS programs. First, outcomes assessment has taken hold at MLIS programs in which 93% of programs have adopting a common set of learning goals and outcomes, whereas 79% developed a written assessment plan. Second, accreditation is the primary driver for MLIS assessment efforts, while program directors, faculty, and assessment and curriculum committees provide leadership in its practice. Third, MLIS programs employed a diverse range of tools for measuring learning outcomes. Course assignment, course evaluation, rubric, internship rating, portfolios, and surveys are the most commonly used direct and indirect measures. Fourth, MLIS programs applied assessment results extensively for improving program, curriculum, course, and instruction; enhancing student services; and preparing for accreditation. Fifth, MLIS programs conduct outcomes assessment with limited resources. Two-thirds of the MLIS programs surveyed have no dedicated assessment personnel to support assessment efforts. Sixth, MLIS programs and faculty recognized the intrinsic values of assessment and accreditation. The findings suggest that MLIS programs can sustain assessment efforts by combining direct and indirect assessment measures, providing adequate faculty support, and further integrating assessment in the infrastructure and culture of the program.

  • American Library Association,
  • master's programs in library and information studies,
  • accreditation,
  • higher education,
  • library education - United States,
  • library education - Canada,
  • librarians,
  • certification - United States,
  • library schools accreditation - United States
Publication Date
May, 2015
Citation Information
Win Shih. "Learning Outcomes Assessment at American Library Association Accredited Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies" (2015)
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