Assessment of Student Learning from Reference Service

Gillian S. Gremmels, Karen Shostrom Lehmann

Abstract

For at least 20 years, librarians have been evaluating the quality of reference service, and higher education has been grappling with assessment. This two-year study sought to bring together these two strands: (1) to compare the student’s self-report of what was learned in a reference encounter with the librarian’s statement of what was taught; and (2) to test whether students perceived a link to information literacy content that had been taught in class. The study found that students did understand reference as an instructional activity and that they made the desired links about two-thirds of the time, especially when the librarian was teaching the use of tools.

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