Thursday, March 19, 2009

ACRL 2009 - Information Literacy Assessment

One would think I was already done with my blog coverage of ACRL, but the truth is I had to turn all my attention to work and the upcoming Washington Medical Librarians Association (WMLA) conference I'm program chair for next week! After this entry I still have one more ACRL entry mulling on the back burner that integrates thoughts and experiences from the two keynotes given by Sherman Alexie and Ira Glass.

The last session I attended at ACRL was The Right Tool for the Job: Picking the Best Method for Information Literacy Assessment. This was nothing fancy nor glitzy compared to other session options going on at the time, but provided a good introduction and overview of how and when knowledge tests, integrated assessments & rubrics are appropriate assessment measures to use as part of library instruction.

As usual, a brief summary of my more extensive session notes

  • Knowledge tests focus on cognitive domain (recall, understanding, knowledge, analytical)
  • Use knowledge tests to assess at the cognitive level, not for behaviors or attitudes, or opinions.
  • Integrated assessments involve collaborating with professors to include information literacy assessments within the course assignment in meaningful, authentic way
  • Audience response to this is that annotated bibliographies have worked very well for students as an integrated assessment tool
  • Rubrics describe learning in 2 dimensions (parts/criteria and levels of performance)
  • Benefits of rubrics include focus on deep learning and higher order thinking skills, and a way to provide direct feedback

These assessment methods cover nearly any type of instruction and gave me some food for thought regarding how I can develop better ones for the online courses I teach to my colleagues that provide all of us with valuable information as part of the learning experience. I'm not satisfied to rest in the knowledge that the continuing education courses I teach are free; they are investments of my students' time and I strive to make it the best possible and productive experience for them.