• Authentic Assessment in the Library Classroom

      Baker, Camilla B.; Reese Library (Georgia Regents University, 2013-08-23)
      Typical survey instruments used in library classrooms tend to place more emphasis on presenter performance than on student learning. The uses of teacher evaluation surveys are clear for personnel evaluative purposes. What is less clear is whether the effort expended on library instruction is worth the time invested in it, when framed in the context of student outcomes. In other words, is librarian performance in the classroom more important than student learning? The use of active learning techniques in library classrooms focuses attention on the materials at hand, often in ways that lectures and demonstrations cannot. This paper will define the attributes of authentic assessment, and explain how this type of assessment can be used in a library classroom, even a single session, once a semester, in order to put more emphasis on student learning, using the exercise itself to shape the expected student outcomes. Examination of a sample of completed student questions after such a class showed that students need more emphasis in two outcome areas, documentation and moving successfully from identification of desired items to retrieval of those items. These are areas where students often need extra assistance, but it can be challenging to provide that assistance in a single class where other outcomes also compete for both the students’ and teacher’s attention. However, a stronger focus on student learning creates a better measure of the value of the class than does a survey more suited to a performance evaluation.