5 years of book loans and grades

I’m just starting to pull our data out for the JISC Library Impact Data Project and I thought it might be interesting to look at 5 years of grades and book loans. Unfortunately, our e-resource usage data and our library visits data only goes back as far as 2005, but our book loan data goes back to the mid 1990s, so we can look at a full 3 years of loans for each graduating students.

The following graph shows the average number of books borrowed by undergrad students who graduated with an specific honour (1, 2:1, 2:2 or 3) in that particular academic year…


…and, to try and tease out any trends, here’s a line graph version….


Just a couple of general comments:

  • the usage & grade correlation (see original blog post) for books seems to be fairly consistent over the last 5 years, although there is a widening in the usage by the lowest & highest grades
  • the usage by 2:2 and 3 students seems to be in gradual decline, whilst usage by those who gain the highest grade (1) seems to on the increase
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  1. Dave Pattern said:

    For info, in the data used for the graphs, the total number of graduating students for each of the academic years is:

    2005/06 > 2,775
    2006/07 > 2,905
    2007/08 > 3,427
    2008/09 > 3,181
    2009/10 > 3,476

    Our two satellite campus (Barnsley & Oldham) opened for business in mid 2005, so that is partly why the graduate figures have increased over the years.

  2. Dave Pattern said:

    Something which I might not have mentioned before is that the book loans data I’ve been using is for first time check outs only, so doesn’t include renewals. From memory, the number of renewals has been gradually declining in recent years.

  3. Chris Langham said:

    Very interesting figures, particularly in that they show a strong correlation between number of loans and final degree classification. Although, the most able and most motivated students would tend to consult a wider range of sources, so borrow more items and get better grades.
    Borrowing 60 books in the 2 weeks prior to the finals – won’t guarantee undergrads a 2:1 or above! Even so the figures do show the importance of a well-resourced library to allow students to achieve higher degree grades.

    Have you looked at the figures the other way around – i.e. what were the final degree classifications of students who borrowed say 60+ books, 50-59 books, 40-49 … etc.

  4. Dave Pattern said:

    Hi Chris

    This previous blog post sort of looks at bands of loan usage (altho I think it’s just using 2 years of data), although there’s an emphasis on now/low usage.

    I certainly wouldn’t want to imply that there’s a strong causal effect, although I think it’s a safe assumption that the library does play a role in the acaedmic process.

  5. Nigel Gilbert said:

    Would it be possible to compare the patterns by discipline, or if that is not available, at least by dividing by engineering/natural science/social science/humanities? The use of books differs significantly by discipline, so this would be interesting: the trends might be even more pronounced if one looked at single disciplines (and you seem to have enough data to allow such a breakdown, if it is possible to distinguish students by disciplines).

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