MLIS Program Performance

Program Based Assessment

The SJSU School of Information has developed a set of Program Learning Outcomes  that are focused on the core competencies of our profession. The culminating e-Portfolio serves to assess a student's mastery of all program learning outcomes (core competencies)  for the MLIS degree before graduation.

Review and Measurement of Individual Program Learning Outcomes

Starting with the Fall 2007 semester, the school has collected data each semester on the number of revisions needed to satisfactorily demonstrate achievement of a defined subset of 5 of the MLIS Program Learning Outcomes or Core Competencies presented in students' culminating electronic portfolios. Our goal is to have 90% or better of INFO 289 (e-Portfolio) students who need no or only 1 revision to a Statement of Competency, the essay in which they demonstrate achievement of a specific Program Learning Outcome. If less than 90% of students submit work at that level, then that identifies for the faculty a need for curricular review of the courses that address that Program Learning Outcome.

Since 2007 we have collected datasets on all of our competencies and are in the process of reviewing all of them a second time as part of our ongoing curricular review process.

Assessment of Individual Program Learning Outcomes Reports MLIS

Course Student Learning Outcomes and Course Mapping to Program Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

Each course has both student learning outcomes - linked to assignments - as well as core competencies (program learning outcomes) defined for that particular class. - See

External Inputs into the Curriculum

Field Based Program Advisory Committees

International Advisory Council

Emerging Job Trends and Titles -annual survey

Retention Data

As a student progresses through the MLIS program there are three key transition points where we can see retention rates.

1. After the required one unit INFO 203. This class - Online Social Networking - is the first class taken by students admitted into the program. Students are required to pass the class in order to continue. One of the purposes of the class is to help determine if a student is equipped for the online environment.

Table 1. INFO 203 Retention and Pass Data

Semester Total Enrolled by iSchool Withdrawn/dropped Still Enrolled at Semester End NC CR Retention Rate Pass Rate
Fall 2010 436 61 375 6 369 86% 98.50%
Spring 2011 291 28 263 3 260 90% 98.90%
Fall 2011 532 86 446 3 443 84% 99.3%
Spring 2012 429 83 346 1 345 81% 99.7%
Fall 2012 506 81 425 5 420 84% 98.8%
Spring 2013 236 26 210 2 208 89% 99%
Fall 2013 404 68 336 4 332 83% 99%
Spring 2014 355 65 290 1 289 81.7% 99.7%
Fall 2014 507 84 423 1 422 83.4% 99.8%
Spring 2015 370 35 335 2 333 91% 99%
Fall 2015 471 67 404 0 404 85.77% 100%
Spring 2016 439 62 377 1 376 86% 99.73%


2. Core Courses. All students are required to make a B in each of the core classes (INFO 200 (Information Communities), INFO 202 (Information Retrieval System Design), INFO 204 (Information Professions)). Students who fail to make a B are placed on administrative probation. They have one more chance to take the class before they are disqualified from the program. The iSchool faculty’s target is that 85% of graduate students will successfully make a B in 200, 202, and 204 on the first attempt. This requirement regarding earning a grade of B or higher in each core course ensures that our new students themselves have proven that they possess sufficient interest, aptitude, and qualifications for successful completion of the program and subsequent contribution to the field.

Table 2. Data about Students Making Less than a B in Core Classes

  200 Total Enrolled # of less than B grades % 202 Total Enrolled # of less than B grades % 204 Total Enrolled # of less than B grades %

Spring 2012


327 34 10.39 325 24 7.38 304 16 5.26

Fall 2012


383 41 10.7 314 28 8.9 311 19 6.10

Spring 2013


219 22 10 219 19 8.6 226 18 7.9

Fall 2013


298 26 8.7 233 18 7.7 219 9 4.1

Spring 2014


290 17 5.8 295 20 6.7 251 11 4.3

Fall 2014


401 41 10.2 341 17 4.9 279 11 3.9

Spring 2015


291 19 6.5 283 10 3.5 263 2 0.7

Fall 2015


365 54 14.79 306 19 6.2 279 6 2.15

Typically 8%-10% of students who do not successfully pass core classes the first time, and opt to retake, successfully retake the classes

3. In order to graduate with their MLIS degree students must complete as a culminating experience either INFO 289 (e-Portfolio) or INFO 299-Thesis.

The great majority of students select e-Portfolio. The goal of the e-Portfolio is to provide a program-based assessment to ensure that each student demonstrates mastery of all program learning outcomes (core competencies) for the degree before graduation.

The e-Portfolio can be completed in one semester though the preparation happens all throughout the student's program.

The completion of a thesis represents an organized research effort, where the student makes an original contribution to the field. It may take as many as two or more years, although most theses require about a year to complete. Between Fall 2010 and Spring 2013, 11 students selected a thesis. Four have completed; one has withdrawn from doing a thesis; the others are in progress. In 2012, a graduating student -Jack Tilney- won the University's outstanding graduate thesis award. To see MLIS theses  in the King Library use  the Scholarworks information in point one on this page

Table 3. INFO 289: e-Portfolio Statistics

  Total Enrolled Passed No Credit* Incomplete Incomplete (cont'd)
Fall 2010 332 295 (88%) 13 24 0
Spring 2011 368 345 (93%) 11 12 6
Fall 2011 323 288 (89%) 15 14 6
Spring 2012 346 312 (90%) 11 18 5
Fall 2012 285 253 (89%) 11 20 3
Spring 2013 327 296 (90%) 18 13 1
Fall 2013 293 253 (86%) 19 21 1
Spring 2014 305 282 (92%) 12 11 6
Fall 2014 242 218 (90%) 14 9 0
Spring 2015 273 252 (92%) 14 7 0
Fall 2015 253 225 (89%) 13 15 0
Spring 2016 262 239 (91%) 8 15 0

*Students who obtain a No Credit in INFO 289 have one more chance to retake the e-Portfolio course.  A No Credit is awarded if a student fails to submit at least 10 satisfactory statements of competency with supporting evidence. If a student receives a second No Credit, they are disqualified from the MLIS program.  Between Fall 2010 and  Spring 2016, there were six disqualifications due to failing to produce a satisfactory e-Portfolio after two attempts.

Graduating Student Exit Survey Data

We survey our graduating students each semester as they complete the MLIS program. The information below is from one of our most recent exit survey, presenting the responses we received from MLIS students who graduated in spring 2016.

For a summary of 2016 responses see MLIS Student Profiles (Spring 2016)


MLIS Alumni Survey Data

We survey our alumni within 13 months after they graduate to track employment trends, ensure that our curriculum remains relevant, and help us anticipate shifts in the job market.

Our most recent survey was sent in May 2016 to graduates who completed the MLIS program during calendar year 2015. We received a total of 138 responses to our survey.

We are pleased to share the following data regarding our alumni who are working in a library and information science career environment or in a library and information science capacity.

Library and information science is the first professional career for many of our recent graduates (57%). Others are changing their career focus, having previously worked in a wide variety of fields, such as education, communications, fundraising, and social work.

Now that they have earned their MLIS degree, 84% have permanent, full-time positions and are working in diverse career environments, including public libraries, academic libraries, K-12 schools, and special libraries.

Their job titles are just as varied as their employers and include Digital Asset Manager, Library Director, Search Relevancy Analyst, Library Media Technician, Records Archivist, Teacher Librarian, and many more positions.

Our alumni are putting their MLIS skills to work performing many different job duties. The following is a list of the top five job assignments they are responsible for in their current positions:

  1. Reference / Information Services
  2. Readers’ Advisory
  3. Circulation
  4. Outreach
  5. Collection Development / Acquisitions

In anticipation of graduating, many began the job search while in the final semester of the MLIS program, and 89% were hired in the information profession within six months after earning their MLIS degree.

For those who remained with an existing employer or position held prior to or while attending the MLIS program, the master’s degree helped advance their career. 82% reported that they received a promotion, got a raise, became eligible for tenure, and/or moved from support staff to professional staff.

Our alumni shared that they believe the following five experiences / activities were most helpful or important in obtaining their first job in the information profession:

  1. Previous Employment Experience
  2. Coursework / Electives
  3. Technological Skills
  4. Professional Networking
  5. Internship, Practicum, or Fieldwork Experience

Our students not only live across North America while completing our fully online MLIS program, they are also working in different geographic areas after graduation. For example, our alumni reported that their employers are located in three Canadian provinces and 25 U.S. states.

We invite you to learn more about our alumni by browsing our alumni career spotlights, reading alumni stories, and scanning a list of employers of our alumni.

Sample of Comments from 2012 Employer Survey

  • We have hired two recent graduates from the SJSU iSchool, and they definitely excel at using technology to serve our customers, at adapting to change, and ability to deliver exceptional customer service across the board.    Graduates Job Titles: Virtual Services Librarian; Librarian 1/II; Manager
  • We currently have one SJSU iSchool graduate, and she is excellent across the board. She is a new graduate and is fully prepared to contribute to every project we've given her.   Graduate Job Title: Electronic Resources Specialist
  • Our Corporate Library employs 2 librarians and one is an iSchool graduate. We also, over the last 8 years, have hired 4 summer interns from your program. ALL iSchool students that worked with us graduated and are now employed. All of these students were well prepared and trained. Our company benefited from their employment and we plan on hiring more for future intern positions as they come up. In my estimation, your program has done an excellent job of preparing your students. As the library world goes digital, there will be more opportunities for librarians to take key positions as digital asset managers and electronic resource librarians and morph into whatever comes along. The great thing about librarians is that they can easily transition into so many non-traditional positions...they just have to believe they can. I guess that is where your school can be most them the skills and confidence and vision for a broader scope of possibilities   Graduates Job Title: Research Librarian
  • I thoroughly enjoy my SJSU employee - she has a great foundation in library science and technology, and is a great asset to the library and our company. Graduate Job Title: Digital Initiatives Librarian


Online Learning Consortium Award