Measures to Assure Alignment of Curriculum with Program Goals

Each of the four program objectives is assessed in terms of student learning outcomes as shown in the table and described below.  These student learning outcome assessments (SLOAs) allow the MLIS Program to measure its success in developing students whose skills correspond to ALA’s Core Competences of Librarianship (2009), and to the expectations for entry-level professionals who hold ALA accredited master’s degrees as directed in the Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies (2008).  The curriculum is assessed based on the findings from this systematic assessment of student learning. 

Alignment of Program Objectives with Student Learning Outcome Assessments.

Program Objectives

Graduates of MLIS Program will:

Student Learning Outcome Assessments (SLOAs)


PO 1.      Perform administrative, service, and technical functions of professional practice in libraries and information centers by demonstrating skills in information resources; reference and user service; administration and management; organization of recorded knowledge and information.

SLOA 1.1 Applied Library Experience Notebook (ALEN)


SLOA 1.2 Collection Development Project




PO 2.      Use existing and emerging technologies to meet needs in libraries and information centers.

SLOA 2.1 Reference Transactions Assessment

SLOA 2.2 Organization of Digital Resources

SLOA 2.3 Career e-Portfolio Website




PO 3.      Integrate relevant research to enhance their work in libraries and information centers.

SLOA 3 Research Proposal            




PO 4.      Demonstrate professionalism as librarians or information specialists.

SLOA 4.1 MLIS Foundational Knowledge Articulation Assessment

SLOA 4.2 Ethics Project Report

SLOA 4.3 Selected Capstone Artifacts




Program Objectives

The Program’s success at achieving its objectives is measured through the analysis of aggregated student performance results in the Student Learning Outcome Assessments (SLOAs).  The SLOAs are scored as Target, Acceptable, or Unacceptable, and these scores are derived from the summative elements of the assignment rubrics that are applied during course-level assessments of student learning.   The scale is as follows:

  • Target = 90% successful completion of relevant elements of course assignments
  • Acceptable = 80% successful completion of relevant elements of course assignments
  • Unacceptable =  performance below 80% on relevant elements.  

Program Objective 1

The Program’s success at achieving Program Objective 1 is measured through analysis of student performance on all elements of the Applied Library Experience Notebook, or ALEN, SLOA 1.1, and the Collection Development Project, or CDP, SLOA 1.2.

SLOA 1.1 requires students to prepare an Applied Library Experience Notebook (ALEN). The ALEN is a collection of four elements that document field work and simulations of field work conducted across four core courses in the MLIS Program.  Successful completion of these four field experiences or simulations demonstrates the effectiveness of the program in preparing students to perform professional level work in libraries or information centers.  The ALEN includes:

  • Element 1: LIS Journals Analysis Project
  • Element 2: Reference Consultation Project
  • Element 3: Management Client Report
  • Element 4: Original Cataloging Project

The work may be conducted in conjunction with working information professionals and is completed under the supervision of professors or course instructors.

In order to provide multiple and varied field experiences or simulations of field experiences, and to evaluate the way in which the mastery of elements is demonstrated, this assessment records program performance over time and across multiple core courses.  The LIS Journals Analysis project is housed in MLIS 7000, The Reference Consultation Project is housed in MLIS 7100, the Management Client Report project is housed in MLIS 7200, and the Original Cataloging Project is housed in MLIS 7300. Complete course descriptions are provided at Standard II.2.1.

SLOA 1.2 requires students to prepare a Collection Development Project (CDP), a simulation exercise to evaluate and select materials for a subject area in a library. This project provides data on student performance of the administrative, services and technical functions of professional practice in libraries and information centers. The CDP simulates the process of building a collection using core knowledge and skills that can be contextualized to a number of curricular areas. The assessment is housed in a series of Collection Development electives, one of which is required of all students who entered the Program in Fall 2013 or later (students may choose from MLIS 7400, MLIS 7420, MLIS 7440).

Program Objective 2

The Program’s success at achieving Program Objective 2 is measured through analysis of student performance on elements of the Reference Transaction Assessment, or RTA SLOA 2.1, the Organization of Digital Resources SLOA 2.2, and the Selected Capstone Artifacts SLOA 2.3.

SLOA 2.1 The Reference Transaction Assessment (RTA) is a simulation in which students receive questions typical of reference transactions that require online searches in order to locate answers. Students must prepare and post answers to hypothetical clients in a format consistent with an online question and answer service. Seeking information on these queries requires that students devise search strategies consistent with the way in which the electronic resources organize content. Students convert their answer documents to html format in order to submit the results of their information searches.

SLOA 2.1 is housed in MLIS 7100. It includes scoring that reflects the students’ ability to understand and implement rapidly changing information access and organizational technologies and follow professional ethics and service norms in the context of the information delivery environment. 

SLOA 2.2 The Organization of Digital Resources is an assignment in which students work on analyzing and evaluating digital collections by identifying user information needs, subject access, and metadata scheme. Students choose one Library of Library of Congress digital collection (

SLOA 2.2 is housed in MLIS 7300. It includes scoring that reflects the students’ ability to respond to the rapidly changing technological environment in which information is organized and made accessible.

SLOA 2.3 Career e-Portfolio Website; Evaluation of students’ ability to create an e-portfolio provides evidence of the Program’s effectiveness in preparing its students to design and develop a digital product.  Each student creates a web-based e-portfolio that includes multiple elements (e.g. introduction, hyperlinked table of contents, résumé, professional development plan, etc.).

SLOA 2.3 is housed in MLIS 7800.  It includes scoring that reflects students’ ability to use software products to present information in the online environment.

The Program’s success at achieving Program Objective 2 is measured through analysis of student performance in assessments 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3.

Program Objective 3

The Program’s success at achieving Program Objective 3 is measured through analysis of student performance on the preparation of a Research Proposal, SLOA 3. 

SLOA 3, The Research Proposal, measures students’ ability to (1) interpret and evaluate the research of others so that they may apply those findings in their professional practice; (2) maintain currency of knowledge of the field through their use of the professional literature; (3) contribute to the professional literature; and (4) perform research in furtherance of their duties. Introductory skills to conduct research as well as evaluate the research of others in multiple disciplines including library and information science are evaluated through the process of proposal development. The Research Proposal is a comprehensive task that demonstrates an important student learning outcome and measures Program Objective 3, the ability to integrate relevant research to enhance work in libraries and information centers. SLOA 3 is housed in MLIS 7700 Research Methods.

Program Objective 4

The Program’s success at achieving Program Objective 4 is measured through analysis of student performance on the Foundational Knowledge Assessment SLOA 4.1, the Ethics Project Report SLOA 4.2, and the Selected Capstone Artifacts SLOA 4.3.

SLOA 4.1, The Foundational Knowledge Assessment, ensures that the Program’s students receive broad exposure to the foundational concepts that inform the Library and Information Science (LIS) field during their first semester of study. Through the work informing this assessment students begin to construct a personal intellectual infrastructure that they will build on as they develop into LIS professionals.

SLOA 4.1 is housed in MLIS 7000, Foundations of Library and Information Science. 

In response to prompts assigned during the course, students write a series of essays addressing foundational concepts of the field. The essays serve to document the students’ introduction to the field and their development of an initial theoretical framework they will build on during the balance of their LIS coursework.   

SLOA 4.2, The Ethics Project Report, assigned in the first semester of study, allows students to develop and demonstrate their understanding of the role of professional ethics in their careers, and provides them with an orientation to the ethical frameworks they will need to employ when making professional decisions. The report is developed as a group project, allowing students to learn the negotiating and collaborating skills they will need as working professionals.  The project introduces students to the role of professional associations as the negotiators and keepers of codes of ethics for their members.   The assessment measures the students’ ability to work in groups to explore, analyze, and reflect upon the role of codes of ethics in professional practice. The report includes the students’ self-assessment of their ability to comply with codes of ethics that fall outside their personal belief systems.  SLOA 4.2 is measured during MLIS 7000.

SLOA 4.3, The Selected Capstone Artifacts, the ultimate product for the MLIS degree, gives students an opportunity to present their synthesized knowledge, writing skills, and presentation skills; and to create a professional development plan.  The demonstration of professionalism throughout the Career E-Portfolio is required for fulfillment of MLIS program requirements. SLOA 4.3 is measured during MLIS 7800, Capstone. 

Elements of the e-portfolio include:

  • Résumé or CV
  • Professional Development Plan: Each student creates and records a personal plan for professional development. For students who need to seek employment, this will include a detailed job-hunting plan. For all students, this includes plans for solidifying and updating their professional knowledge in the two-year period following graduation. 
  • Capstone Paper: Each student prepares a paper of publishable quality on a topic of the student’s choice, with the topic subject to instructor approval.
  • Capstone Presentation: Each student delivers an online conference-style presentation about his/her capstone paper. Each student uses presentation software (e.g., PowerPoint®) to illustrate points and information. 

Updated December 2020