Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Library Outcomes Assessment & Information Literacy Committee Report 2008-2009

The 2008-2009 report of the Library Outcomes Assessment & Information Literacy Committee has been published on the Library's new "Information Literacy" web page, available here with the past 2 years' reports. The report discusses the results of the Andruss Library Information Literacy Assessment, given for the last 3 years to graduating seniors and this year to a group of 193 seniors. This year, the LOAIL Committee also gave the assessment to a large group of 425 incoming freshmen.

The Committee’s primary purpose in using the Information Literacy Assessment is to understand how students’ information literacy is developed in BU’s curriculum. Comparisons between scores for BU seniors and students at another institution as well as comparisons of scores for BU seniors by different major were made to provide some perspective, and care should be taken when interpreting these comparison; scores may vary due to the emphasis given to a specific information literacy standard in a discipline’s curriculum. It should also be noted that the ‘other school’ used for the comparisons this year is a smaller, private school (Carnegie Classification Master’s Colleges and Universities II). The Committee intends to continue administering the assessment each year, eventually obtaining freshmen and senior scores for the same cohort, which can then be used to draw more direct conclusions about students’ information skill development over 4 years.

The Committee hopes this report may provide a baseline for classroom faculty and library faculty to consider when planning library instruction and to help them identify possible areas in which students’ information skills may be strengthened. Instruction librarians have used this information in revising the General Library Research Tutorial and will continue to use the information when revising and designing additional tutorials. In addition to promoting the General Library Research Tutorial, librarians will also be seeking freshmen and seniors for this year's assessment.

Main findings from this year's report:

1. BU seniors’ mean scores on the standards ranged from highest to lowest as follows (see Table 2 and Appendix II. A.) Please note that scores are percentages.
a. Standard 1 – determine the extent of information needed (mean 58.43)
b. Standard 5 – understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically & legally (mean 53.16)
c. Knowledge – overall knowledge & understanding of how information is created & used (mean 53.15)
d. Application – can apply information appropriately in a given situation (mean 51.41)
e. Standard 3 – evaluate information and its courses critically; incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base (mean 51.19)
f. Standard 2 – access the needed information effectively and efficiently (mean 50.36)
g. Standard 4 – use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose (mean 50.26)

2. In comparison to seniors at one other institution, BU seniors scored significantly lower on the measure for overall knowledge of information use. They also scored lower (but not significantly) on their composite scores and on measures for all five standards; however, they scored higher than students at the other school on the measure for overall application of information. (see Appendix II.B.)

3. When compared to seniors with similar majors at one other institution, BU seniors in specific majors performed as follows:
a. BU business majors (management and other business) did not differ significantly on any measure. However, BU business students scored higher on their composite score, Standards 2, 4 & 5 measures, and the application measure while they scored lower on measures for Standards 1 & 3 and knowledge. (Appendix II. C.)
b. BU mass communications majors scored significantly lower on their composite score and Standards 2 & 4. They also scored higher on Standard 1 (but not significantly) and lower on Standards 3 & 5 and measures for knowledge & application. (Appendix II. D.)
c. BU elementary education majors did not differ significantly on any measure. However, BU elementary education majors scored lower on Standards 1, 2, 3, 4 and knowledge while they scored higher on Standard 5 and application. (Appendix II. E.)

4. In comparison to freshmen at one other institution, BU freshmen overall scored significantly higher on measures for Standard 4 and Knowledge. They also scored higher on their composite score and Standard 3, and lower on Standards 1, 2 & 5 and Application, but not significantly for any measure. (Appendix II. F.)

5. Among BU seniors, majors in nursing and science scored significantly higher than majors in elementary education, liberal arts, mass communication, and management on the composite score, Standard 2, and application. (Appendix II. A.) Additionally:
a. Science majors scored significantly higher than liberal arts majors on Standard 5
b. Nursing majors scored significantly higher than elementary education and management majors on the Knowledge measure
c. Seniors in business majors other than management scored lower than nursing and science majors on most measures, but not significantly.

6. Among BU freshmen, there was no significant difference between majors for any measure.

7. As expected, BU Seniors and BU Freshmen differed significantly in their scores for all measures.

If you have any questions, please contact Linda Neyer, Chair, Library Outcomes Assessment & Information Literacy Committee.

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