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Information Literacy @ Egan Library: Assessment

Information Literacy Assessment

In Fall 2019, library faculty determined that the assessment process begun in 2018 was not manageable for a long-term assessment effort, and it also provided limited ability to assess multiple instruction sessions or multiple frames from the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy. After finding an assessment process that seemed better suited to gathering data across instruction sessions on all of the ACRL Frames, based on an assessment process and rubric developed by University of Maryland Libraries, a new data collection survey and rubric were developed.

This process could be used with any instruction session, it was quick and anonymous, and the data could be evaluated in a timely manner. At the end of each session, students would record their “a-ha moment” from the session: a moment that stood out to them, something that had personal meaning for them, or a key takeaway from the lesson. These “a-ha moments” would later be categorized using the rubric to indicate which frame and disposition from the ACRL Framework (information literacy outcome) was being addressed and at what level (developing, proficient, advanced).

The new survey was deployed across instruction sessions delivered by librarians Kaia Henrickson and Jennfier Ward during Spring 2020, for both in-person and online sessions. Jennifer and Kaia met at the end of the spring semester to evaluate responses based on the new rubric and make a few small revisions to the rubric itself to better reflect the ACRL Framework dispositions being taught at UAS. The pilot of the new assessment process was successful overall, and librarians plan to continue using it for the 2020-21 academic year.

Classroom assessment

Assessment as part of course-integrated instruction most frequently takes the form of activities completed as part of the class, which are evaluated by librarians and faculty during and/or outside of the class time (see the example activities above).  Librarians also gather feedback from professors regarding students’ performance on assignments that are supported by librarians’ in-class instruction and make use of informal feedback (e.g. what was most useful, what remained unclear, etc.) from both professors and students.

For broader instructional services, we typically rely on data gathered as part of a wider assessment effort.  For example, surveys are generally distributed and collected following university events, like New Student Orientation, that include questions related to the presentations that compose the events.  We incorporate the results of these surveys into the development and delivery of our program and use them for continuous improvement.

Another way that we assess our students is through the Student Rating forms.  All instructors have the option to include the question “The UAS library services were useful for this course. Examples: instruction sessions, research help, interlibrary loan, course reserves” as part of their formal Students Ratings. We compile student responses to this question, which informs us of student perceptions of our instruction services and research help (in addition to other services) across the University. 

As part of our courses, Library Information Literacy (LS110) and Library Information Literacy for E-Learners (LS111), students complete course assignments to measure the skills they have learned during the class in addition to a course reflection essay at the end of the course.  In addition, as with all UAS courses, students complete the Student Course Rating forms.

AY 2018-19 Information Literacy Assessment

During AY2018, Egan Library revised the outcomes assessment strategy for the Information Literacy Program. The goals were to identify learning outcomes and assignments that align with information literacy outcomes from the new ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education, design information literacy instruction to support these assignments, and collect student artifacts at the end of the term in order to assess the extent to which student work demonstrates “the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.”

In Fall 2018, Library faculty worked with Communications faculty to develop an assignment (annotated bibliography), instruction, and rubric to evaluate student work samples. In January 2019, a group of faculty evaluated the Fall 2018 student samples from two sections of COMM 111. Based on the results of this assessment, Library and Communications faculty adjusted instruction for Spring 2019 to try to improve student outcomes. The assessment process was repeated after Spring semester with a new set of student work samples to see if the adjusted instruction impacted student proficiency, and the results for both Fall and Spring are analyzed in the AY2019 Information Literacy Outcomes Assessment Final Report.

AY2019 focused on assessing the following frame from the ACRL Framework and two student learning outcomes:

Authority is Constructed and Contextual
Information resources reflect their creators’ expertise and credibility and are evaluated in accordance with how various communities recognize and confer authority. Authority is best approached with an attitude of informed skepticism and an openness to new perspectives, emerging voices, and changes in schools of thought.

Students will:

  • identify markers of authority such as subject expertise, societal position, and/or special experience, with an understanding of how those markers apply in different contexts, and
  • evaluate authoritative information based on the information need and research context.