Sunday, August 22, 2010

Andruss Library Information Literacy Assessment Results

The 2009-2010 AL Outcomes Assessment & Information Literacy is now available on the Library web site here. The report discusses freshmen and senior students’ scores on an information literacy assessment which has been given for the last 4 years and its implications for instruction. Information literacy refers to a set of abilities requiring individuals to "recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information,” and the importance of information literacy has been recognized by Middle States Commission on Higher Education as an important student outcome. Furthermore, improving students’ information literacy has been identified as one of BU’s proposed General Education outcomes and one of BU’s proposed Strategic Plan ‘academic excellence’ goals.

The key challenge identified is the need to improve students’ research and information skills by the time they graduate. When analyzed by college, BU senior students’ scores range between 45.05% and 67.72% for the 25-item information literacy assessment, with an overall composite score of 55.53% correct (n=120, SD=14.35). A reasonable goal is that seniors could achieve scores in the range of 70% - 80%, and the report identifies specific areas in which information literacy instruction may be strengthened. Question analyses indicate the five lowest scores for BU senior student outcomes in which information literacy instruction can be improved:

(1) understanding and writing literature reviews
(2) understanding copyright and fair use
(3) using Boolean logic and other appropriate commands when constructing a database search
(4) developing strategies to begin research and to modify a search
(5) differentiating between the types of sources cited (book, journal article, book chapter, etc.)

In addition to sharing this information with classroom professors who request librarians to provide information literacy instruction to their classes, the Library Outcomes Assessment & Information Literacy Committee plans to use the information to identify specific topics for new tutorials and for revision of the General Library Research Tutorial to increase students’ information literacy by the time of graduation. 

If you have any questions, please contact the Reference Desk at 389-4204 or the librarian liaison for your department. -- LN

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