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Assessment in Action


Information Literacy


Badia, G. (2013). Faculty Knowledge of Information Literacy Standards Has an Impact in the Classroom. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 8(2), 242244.

Objective: To discover how faculty perceives information literacy and examine whether professors in different disciplines view and approach information literacy differently.... Methods: An email, containing a link to a brief online survey, was sent to 834 professors from academic institutions across the United States. Three faculty members from each department in six different disciplines from each institution were contacted. The survey contained a mix of closed and open-ended questions and could be completed in less than 10 minutes. Respondents were asked to supply their contact information if they agreed to be phoned for a follow-up interview. The interview consisted of six questions that were posed to all participants, with some changes depending on the answers given. Main Results: Regardless of discipline, the majority of faculty members who responded to the survey thought that information literacy competencies were important for their students to master. The majority also rated their students as only "somewhat strong" in "identifying scholarly materials, identifying reliable/authoritative information, finding relevant information, citing sources properly, synthesizing information, and searching databases".... Professors' answers differed within different disciplines when it came to showing their own knowledge of information literacy standards, such as those of ACRL, and assessing the abilities of their students.... Those faculty members who were knowledgeable about information literacy standards were also among the ones who included information literacy instruction in their courses and thought it was important for their students to learn.


Coates, H. (2013). Exploring the Disconnect Between Information Literacy Skills and Self-Estimates of Ability in First-Year Community College StudentsEvidence Based Library and Information Practice8(2), 264266.

Objective: To explore the relationships between information literacy (IL) test scores and self-estimated ability both prior to and after completing the test. Design: Information Literacy Test (ILT) with pre- and post-test surveys of self-estimated ability. Setting: Two community colleges: a small institution in a rural area and a large institution in an urban area. Subjects - First-year community college students enrolled in entry-level English courses. Methods: The authors conducted a replication study of their earlier work using a larger sample from two community colleges. Information literacy (IL) skills were assessed using the Information Literacy Test (ILT) developed and validated by researchers at James Madison University.... Main Results: The majority of students at both schools (95% at school 1, 80% at school 2) scored in the below-proficient range on the ILT, a few scored in the proficient range (5% at school 1, 20% at school 2), but no students scored in the advanced range.... Conclusion: The study revealed a significant disconnect between students' perceptions of their information literacy skills and their actual performance.... There is a need for tools to diagnose information literacy competence. Most students are unable to self-assess accurately and competency should not be assumed.


Hosier, A. (2016). Creating Learning Outcomes from Threshold Concepts for Information Literacy InstructionCollege & Undergraduate Libraries, 1–13.

Threshold concepts and learning outcomes represent two different ways of thinking about teaching and learning. Finding a way to translate between the two is necessary for librarians who may wish to use concepts from the Framework for Information Literacy to shape their instruction. The following article outlines a process for transforming concepts from the “Scholarship as Conversation” frame into learning outcomes that the author developed as part of a tutorial project. This process can easily be adapted to a variety of instructional situations.


Teaching for Transfer


Kuglitsch, R. (2015). Teaching for Transfer: Reconciling the Framework with Disciplinary Information Literacyportal: Libraries and the Academy 15(3), 457–470.

This article explores the tension between information literacy as a generalizable skill and as a skill within the disciplines. The new ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education addresses many challenges facing the previous ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, but the tension between disciplinary expertise and generalizable skills remains. Viewing the documents through the lens of teaching for transfer—that is, instruction that enables students to utilize knowledge and skills gained in one context in other situations—offers a useful approach. Exploring the Framework from the point of view of teaching for transfer addresses both practical and theoretical challenges. This viewpoint respects both the generalizable nature of information literacy and the highly contextual nature of its application in an academic setting.


Faculty-Librarian Collaboration


Douglas, V. A., & Rabinowitz, C. E. (2016). Examining the Relationship between Faculty-Librarian Collaboration and First-Year Students' Information Literacy AbilitiesCollege & Research Libraries77(2), 144163.

Using surveys, interviews, and a rubric-based assessment of student research essays, the St. Mary's College of Maryland Assessment in Action team investigated the relationship between faculty-librarian collaboration in a First Year Seminar (FYS) course and students' demonstrated information literacy (IL) abilities. In gathering information on the experiences, attitudes, and behaviors of faculty, librarians, and first-year students, the project team uncovered additional questions about the integration of IL in the FYS, the ways in which faculty and librarians work towards educational goals, and just what should be expected from students in their first year of college.

Junisbai, B., Lowe, M. S., & Tagge, N. (2016). A Pragmatic and Flexible Approach to Information Literacy: Findings from a Three-Year Study of Faculty-Librarian CollaborationThe Journal of Academic Librarianship 42, 604–611.

While faculty often express dismay at their students' ability to locate and evaluate secondary sources, they may also be ambivalent about how to (and who should) teach the skills required to carry out quality undergraduate research. This project sought to assess the impact of programmatic changes and librarian course integration on students' information literacy (IL) skills. Using an IL rubric to score student papers ( n = 337) over three consecutive first-year student cohorts, our study shows that when faculty collaborate with librarians to foster IL competencies, the result is a statistically significant improvement in students' demonstrated research skills. Our study also reveals a collaboration “sweet spot”: the greatest gains accrue when librarians provide moderate input into syllabus and assignment design, followed by one or two strategically placed hands-on library sessions. Successful collaboration thus need not entail completely overhauling content courses so as to make library instruction the centerpiece. Quite the opposite, librarians can help reduce the potential burden on faculty by supporting discipline- and course-specific research goals, as well as by sharing resources and best practices in IL pedagogy.

Mazziotti, D., & Grettano, T. (2011). “Hanging Together”: Collaboration Between Information Literacy and Writing Programs Based on the ACRL Standards and the WPA Outcomes. In Declaration of Interdependence: The Proceedings of the ACRL 2011 Conference, 180190.

The initial aim of this project was to find common ground between the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education1 (“ACRL Standards”) developed by the Association of College and Research Libraries and the WPA Outcomes Statement for First-Year Composition2 (“WPA Outcomes”) adopted by the Council of Writing Program Administrators (WPA) in order to foster collaboration between information literacy and first-year writing programs. The presenters hypothesized they would identify clear examples of overlap between the goals articulated in the two documents, and through this pairing would make suggestions as to how academic librarians and writing instructors could collaborate to meet these mutual goals. What the presenters found, though, was so much more.




Belanger, J., Zou, N., Rushing Mills, J., Holmes, C., & Oakleaf, M. (2015). Project RAILS: Lessons Learned about Rubric Assessment of Information Literacy Skills. portal: Libraries and the Academy, 15(4), 623644.

Rubric assessment of information literacy is an important tool for librarians seeking to show evidence of student learning. The authors, who collaborated on the Rubric Assessment of Informational Literacy Skills (RAILS) research project, draw from their shared experience to present practical recommendations for implementing rubric assessment in a variety of institutional contexts. These recommendations focus on four areas: (1) building successful collaborative relationships, (2) developing assignments, (3) creating and using rubrics, and (4) using assessment results to improve instruction and assessment practices. Recommendations are discussed in detail and include institutional examples of emerging practices that can be adapted for local use.


Daniels, E. (2010). Using a Targeted Rubric to Deepen Direct Assessment of College Students' Abilities to Evaluate the Credibility of Sources. College & Undergraduate Libraries, 17(1), 3143.

At the Sonoma State University Library, a rubric was designed specifically for deepening the assessment of freshmen students' ability to evaluate the credibility of sources. The course-level rubric was developed after program-level assessments proved too broad to uncover specific challenges in this particular skill. As a direct assessment tool, the rubric allows teaching faculty and librarians to more clearly identify and address the smaller steps required for a student to successfully learn to evaluate a source. The rubric and the results of using it as an assessment tool with a freshmen-level, general education oral communication/critical thinking course are discussed.


Gola, C. H., Ke, I., Creelman, K. M., & Vaillancourt, S. P. (2014). Developing an Information Literacy Assessment Rubric: A Case Study of Collaboration, Process, and Outcomes. Communications in Information Literacy, 8(1), 131144.

A team of four librarians at the University of Houston (UH) Libraries partnered with the UH Office of Institutional Effectiveness and its Director of Assessment and Accreditation Services for General Education to conduct a campus-wide, exploratory assessment of undergraduate information literacy skills. The project evaluated a selection of graduating, senior-level student papers using a rubric developed as part of the collaboration. This paper describes and discusses the collaborative rubric development and rating process, the practical implications for other librarians seeking to conduct a similar assessment, and the impact the project is having on the library instruction program.


Holliday, W., Dance, B., Davis, E., Fagerheim, B., Hedrich, A., Lundstrom, K., & Martin, P. (2015). An Information Literacy Snapshot: Authentic Assessment across the CurriculumCollege & Research Libraries 76(2), 170–187.

This paper outlines the process and results of an authentic assessment of student work using a revised version of the AAC&U's Information Literacy VALUE rubric. This rigorous assessment, which included the scoring of nearly 900 student papers from four different stages across the undergraduate curriculum, revealed much about the process of authentic assessment of student learning, the struggles and competencies of our students, and a clear path forward for improving practice. It also gave us a broad view of student learning, allowing us to immerse ourselves in student work and providing a stronger narrative to share with stakeholders.


Jastram, I., Leebaw, D., & Tompkins, H. (2014). Situating Information Literacy Within the Curriculum: Using a Rubric to Shape a Program. portal: Libraries and the Academy, 14(2), 165-186.

Rubrics are a rapidly growing subfield of information literacy assessment, providing a powerful tool for understanding student learning. This paper explores the role that the creation and application of an information literacy rubric can play in program development. Because of the Information Literacy in Student Writing assessment project at Carleton College, opportunities for information literacy instruction have opened up, we have begun the long process of arriving at a shared understanding of information literacy on campus, and our information literacy program is better integrated with campus-wide goals.


Kiel, S., Burclaff, N., & Johnson, C. (2015). Learning by Doing: Developing a Baseline Information Literacy Assessment. portal: Libraries and the Academy, 15(4), 747766.

This paper details the design and implementation of an initial baseline assessment of information literacy skills at the University of Baltimore in Maryland. To provide practical advice and experience for a novice audience, the authors discuss how they approached the design and implementation of the study through the use of a rubric-based authentic assessment, employing a pretest and posttest delivered through a course management system. They also present lessons learned through the process of assessment focused on norming, test design and delivery, and the importance of institutional support and flexibility.


Lowe, M., Booth, C., Stone, S., & Tagge, N. (2015). Impacting Information Literacy Learning in First-Year Seminars: A Rubric-Based Evaluation. portal: Libraries and the Academy, 15(3), 489512.

The authors conducted a rubric assessment of information literacy (IL) skills in research papers across five undergraduate first-year seminar programs to explore the question "What impact does librarian intervention in first-year courses have on IL performance in student work?" Statistical results indicate that students in courses with greater levels of strategic faculty-librarian collaboration performed significantly better in IL outcomes than those in courses with low collaboration. Intensive librarian course support was not necessary to achieve significant learning gains; these tended to occur when librarians provided initial input into syllabus and assignment design, followed by one or two assignment-focused IL workshops.


Oakleaf, M. (2014). A Roadmap for Assessing Student Learning Using the New Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 40(5), 510514.


Pinkley, J., & Hoffmann, D. "Opportunities in Disguise": The Continuing Evolution of an Authentic Information Literacy AssessmentCodex: the Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL, 4(2), 19–37.>

This article outlines the continuing evolution of the authentic assessment process for information literacy instruction at the John Spoor Broome Library at California State University, Channel Islands (CI), with particular focus on the library's 2013 assessment project. The goal of these continually evolving processes is to assess the library's value in ways that allow librarians to easily translate assessment findings to the campus community and to have actionable results that improve the library's service to students. Librarians at CI continue to adjust and improve their authentic assessment process with the following goals in mind: to utilize information gleaned from assessment efforts to create opportunities that positively impact and support learning through targeted, assignment-specific library instruction; to clearly define the role of the library and librarians in the student learning process; to translate and articulate assessment findings in meaningful ways to the campus community; and to have actionable results that improve the library's service to students.


Rinto, E. (2013). Developing and Applying an Information Literacy Rubric to Student Annotated Bibliographies. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 8(3), 518.

This study demonstrates one method of developing and applying rubrics to student writing in order to gather evidence of how students utilize information literacy skills in the context of an authentic assessment activity. The process of creating a rubric, training scorers to use the rubric, collecting annotated bibliographies, applying the rubric to student work, and the results of the rubric assessment are described. Implications for information literacy instruction are also discussed.