Assessing the Impact of Reference Assistance and Library Instruction on Retention and Grades Using Student Tracking Technology

  • Dennis Krieb Lewis & Clark Community College
Keywords: academic libraries, library assessment, student retention, student grades, community college libraries, student tracking, library reference, library instruction, correlational assessment, student integration

Abstract

Abstract

Objective – To assess the impact of community college academic librarians upon student retention and grades through reference desk visits and attendance in library instruction classes.

Methods – Student ID data used for this research was collected from students that visited the reference desk to consult about a course-related question or attended a library instruction class for a specific course. After consenting to share their student ID number, the students’ IDs were scanned and uploaded to a Blackboard Analytics data warehouse. A Pyramid Analytics reporting tool was used to query and extract student-level retention and grade data based upon whether the student had visited the reference desk or attended a library instruction class. Chi-square and Fisher’s exact tests were used to discern any statistical difference in retention rates and grades between students that engaged a librarian through reference or instruction and the general student population.

Results – When comparing fall-to-fall retention for all degree-seeking students, students that visited the reference desk or attended a library instruction class had a statistically higher rate of retention. When comparing fall-to-fall retention within low-retention student cohorts, students that visited the reference desk or attended a library instruction class had higher rates of retention among all low-retention cohorts. Eight of 10 cohorts were statistically higher for library instruction and 6 of 10 cohorts were statistically higher for reference visits. With respect to course grades, only 1 of 5 high enrollment courses showed a higher grade average for students that attended a library instruction class. None of the differences in average grades between students that attended a library instruction class and all students in the five courses were statistically significant. For the impact of a reference visit upon a course grade, all five courses showed a higher average grade average for students that visited the reference desk for a question related to their course than all students in the course. Four of the 5 differences were statistically significant.

Conclusions – The data collected by systematically tracking students that interact with community college librarians suggests that reference desk visits and attendance of library instruction classes both have a positive, statistically significant impact upon student retention. When looking at course grades, the data does not indicate a statistically significant positive or negative impact for library instruction. The impact of visiting the reference desk upon course grades does suggest a strong, statistically significant positive correlation.

Author Biography

Dennis Krieb, Lewis & Clark Community College
Dennis Krieb Dennis is the Director of Institutional Research and Library Services at Lewis & Clark Community College (Godfrey, IL). Dennis’ research interests include assessment of student support services upon student success and retention. Dennis has recently presented at the Association for Institutional Research Annual Forum, Illinois Association for Institutional Research Annual Conference, and the Network of Illinois Learning Resources in Community Colleges Innovations Conference regarding the impact of academic librarians upon student success and retention. Lewis & Clark was also recently notified by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of its acceptance in the Persistence and Completion Academy to study the impact of academic librarians upon retention as its Open Pathways Quality Initiative. Dennis serves on the Board of Directors of the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI) and the Executive Board of the Illinois Library Association (ILA). Dennis received his Doctorate in Higher Education Leadership from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and his MLS from the University of Missouri – Columbia. Dennis was the recipient of the Illinois Academic Librarian of the Year Award in 2015 by the Illinois Library Association.
Published
2018-06-05
How to Cite
Krieb, D. (2018). Assessing the Impact of Reference Assistance and Library Instruction on Retention and Grades Using Student Tracking Technology. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 13(2), 2-12. https://doi.org/10.18438/eblip29402
Section
Research Articles