Thursday, November 13, 2008

Information Literacy Assessment Strategies

The ACRL 6 information literacy standards mentioned in the previous posting are meant to be instructional design guidelines. Each standard has several performance indicators and outcomes.

Here is a summary of the first standard:

An information literacy learner can determine the type and depth of information needed

Performance indicator


1. Learner knows their need for information

a) Communicates with classmates to identify research information need

b) Creates a thesis statement and questions based on information need

c) Becomes familiar with topic through general information sources

d) Modifies information need into manageable content

e) Identifies key search words

f) Synthesizes existing information to produce new information

2. Learner can identify various information types and formats as sources

a) Knows the formal and informal types of information organization

b) Knows the disciplines of information organization

c) Knows the value and differences of various media formats

d) Distinguishes audience of resources (popular vs. scholarly)

e) Knows the difference between primary and secondary sources

f) Realizes the need to at times construct information from raw data

3. Leaner knows cost and benefits of finding information

a) Can broaden search beyond local sources (e.g., interlibrary loan)

b) Considers the realistic time involved in finding information

4. Learner can reevaluate the nature and extent of information

a) Revises and refines initial information need

b) Articulates how information gathering decisions were made

One of the questions in researching about information literacy that I have had involves determining how to best assess these standards within instruction. In practice, the group project that I am involved in with the IDE 611 class is using information literacy standards to help guide our instructional design. However, a challenge we are facing is how to assess that a learner is indeed, for instance, ‘identifying key search words’. Through this process I am hoping to look at assessment as a way to best design instruction.

Perhaps a checklist such as this one could help with the process:

Communicates with classmates to identify research information need

Does the learner share with classmates and teacher the challenges faced in finding what information is needed?

Creates a thesis statement and questions based on information need

Does the learner’s information need influence research thesis and questions?

Becomes familiar with topic through general information sources

Is the learner exploring general information sources?

(e.g., wiki, blog, newspapers)

Modifies information need into manageable content

Is the learner modifying search topics into manageable forms?

(e.g., narrowing down search terms and using Boolean operators)

Identifies key search words

Is the learner using appropriate keyword searches?

By using the standards as guidelines, an instructional designer can create ideal learning situations and assess them in a meaningful way. Perhaps then, its not so much a matter of determining who is better at using the technology (digital natives or digital immigrants) but HOW they use the technology.


Yan Huang said...

These details are a good checklist for the assessment of Information Literacy. I like the table.

These are very high standards to a learner. Point 1 shows that learners have to have high self-motivation. As for Point 2 and Point 3, I think they are good and practical for learners. Point 4 seems a difficult retrieve process.

(It is not a good idea to construct a table in Word and then paste it to blog. A compatibility problem.)

Kevin Forgard said...

What I am trying to do is highlight how information literacy standards are something that digital natives don't really possess. Or, just because someone says they are a digital native - high online social networking - doesn't mean they are informationaly literate.