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Institutions collaborating on an information literacy assessment tool

Sara Sharun (Library, Mount Royal University, Calgary, Canada)
Michelle Edwards Thomson (Library, Red Deer College, Red Deer, Canada)
Nancy Goebel (Augustana Library, University of Alberta, Camrose, Canada)
Jessica Knoch (Library, MacEwan University, Edmonton, Canada)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Article publication date: 10 November 2014




The purpose of this paper is to create an information literacy (IL) instruction assessment tool that responds to the unique needs of individual institutions and provides a strategic and relevant model for assessing IL skills among undergraduate students.


The research team designed a post-test questionnaire comprised of two demographic questions, two open-ended questions and a pool of skill-based multiple-choice questions mapped to Association of College and Research Libraries Information Literacy (ACRL IL) Competency Standards for Higher Education. Participating librarians used a customized questionnaire to assess student learning at the end of their one-shot instruction sessions.


In their responses to the multiple-choice questions, students demonstrated a clear understanding of ethical use of information and a strong ability to select appropriate tools for accessing information sources. Student responses to the open-ended questions revealed a wide range of confidence and ability levels, and provided insight into the frequency, depth and breadth with which various ACRL Standards are being addressed in library sessions.

Research limitations/implications

This paper reports on student responses to questions that have subsequently been identified as problematic; therefore, strong inferences cannot be made about student learning from these responses. Questions have since been improved with further revision. In addition, the sample sizes for individual questions were too small to be generalizable.

Practical implications

The intentional and strategic approach to the development of the assessment tool and its implementation is that it be practical and easy to implement for partner libraries. It is intended to make assessment of IL in the undergraduate context be assessable to all academic librarians who desire to participate.


This paper describes a unique assessment tool that is designed to be responsive to local needs and provide a cost-free assessment option for academic libraries.



This research was funded in part by a grant from the Alberta Rural Development Network. The authors wish to thank Leslie Beattie, Library Program and Service Assessment Specialist, Red Deer College Library, for her helpwith the statistical analysis related to question validity.

An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2013 QQML Conference in Rome, Italy, June 4-7,


Sharun, S., Edwards Thomson, M., Goebel, N. and Knoch, J. (2014), "Institutions collaborating on an information literacy assessment tool", Library Management, Vol. 35 No. 8/9, pp. 538-546.



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