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Information literacy assessment by portfolio: a case study

Valerie Sonley (University of Teesside, Middlesbrough, UK)
Denise Turner (University of Teesside, Middlesbrough, UK)
Sue Myer (University of Teesside, Middlesbrough, UK)
Yvonne Cotton (University of Teesside, Middlesbrough, UK)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 20 February 2007




The purpose of this paper is to report the results of a case study evaluating the revision of the assessment methods of an information literacy module. The revised assessment method took the form of a portfolio.


During 2004, all six credit modules at the University of Teesside had to be reviewed and restructured into ten credit modules. Following Biggs' principles of constructive alignment, the tutors looked at the existing module aims and learning outcomes. A review of the literature and previous experience informed the selection of the new assessment method by portfolio. An evaluation of the assessment method was undertaken after the module had run.


The paper finds that the assessment method had real strengths especially in terms of validity. It was also economical and efficient. Students knew what they were expected to do and where they needed to put in effort.

Research limitations/implications

The assessment by a portfolio method has been carried out once with a relatively small cohort of students, so the findings can only be regarded as interim.

Practical implications

The tutors believe that they have created a very useful module with an aligned assessment method which would be of benefit to a much greater number of students


There is a shortage of publications that report the results of the use of portfolios for the assessment of information literacy.



Sonley, V., Turner, D., Myer, S. and Cotton, Y. (2007), "Information literacy assessment by portfolio: a case study", Reference Services Review, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 41-70.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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