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Carolyn Caffrey Gardner
Carolyn Caffrey Gardner, Information Literacy Coordinator at Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson, California, USA

It can be a challenge to navigate accrediting bodies and their expectations for information literacy instruction and assessment. This is a snapshot of how folks at one campus tackled the self-study for WSCUC accreditation, including some takeaways that may help you on your own accreditation journey.

I joined California State University Dominguez Hills in May of 2016, in the midst of an accreditation preparation frenzy. As the new information literacy coordinator, I jumped right into the ongoing process of preparing for reaccreditation, which had started years in advance. In Fall 2015, as we geared up for our 2018 site visit, our campus created Core Task Forces. Each core task force was charged with analyzing a WSCUC core competency on our campus. These competencies are expected of every graduating student and include Information Literacy (IL). Led by Library Dean Stephanie Brasley, the IL Task Force began with extensive discussions about how information literacy is defined and where we can identify these skills being taught on our campus. The committee was made up of a diverse cross-section of faculty and administrators, each with different understandings of what information literacy is and how we can measure competency. While I wasn’t yet on campus for these discussions, the committee minutes and other documentation describe the task force’s adoption of the ACRL Framework definition of information literacy and the recommendation that we distribute that definition widely. The IL Task Force then began identifying where IL competencies were taught on our campus. Ultimately, the task force felt that retroactive assessment of assignments not intended to teach or measure information literacy outcomes wouldn’t provide an authentic understanding of our students’ learning. For those reasons, they opted not to conduct a one-time assessment project, such as applying an existing rubric (e.g., AAC&U) to collect student work, and instead opted to find existing evidence. The committee recruited students to participate in IL testing using Project SAILS, used existing NSSE data (from the general questions and not the information literacy module add-on), and explored program-level student learning outcomes assessment data. ...continue reading "CSU Dominguez Hills and the WASC Senior College and University Commission"

Lyda Fontes McCartin
Lyda Fontes McCartin, Professor, Head of Information Literacy & Undergraduate Support, University of Northern Colorado, Greenley, Colorado, USA

In 2014, my library Curriculum Committee started work on developing new student learning outcomes for our 100-level LIB courses. We teach five distinct credit courses; four are 100-level courses and one is a 200-level course. The learning outcomes had not been revisited in years and we had added new courses since that time. With the debut of the Framework, we took the opportunity to update our learning outcomes. It was at this time we began considering all of our 100-level courses as one “program.” An overview of the process we used to create the outcomes is provided in a C&RL News article titled “Be critical, but be flexible: Using the Framework to facilitate student learning outcome development.” The 100-level student learning outcomes are:

  1. Students will be able to develop a research process
  2. Students will be able to implement effective search strategies
  3. Students will be able to evaluate information
  4. Students will be able to develop an argument supported by evidence

Since 2015, I’ve been guiding the library Curriculum Committee through the creation of signature assignments to assess our credit courses so that we can look at student learning across 100-level sections. A signature assignment is a course-embedded assignment, activity, project, or exam that is collaboratively created by faculty to collect evidence for a specific learning outcome. Most of the time you hear about signature assignments in relation to program level assessment, but they can also be used to assess at the course level and are especially useful if you want to assess a course that has many sections taught by multiple instructors (hint – this model can be used for one-shot instruction as well).

I like signature assignments because ...continue reading "Assessing Credit Courses with Signature Assignments"

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Nancy Jones, Retired Administrator of Support Services at Encinitas Union School District in Encinitas, California, USA

 

Dr. Nancy Jones is a founding member of the Advisory Board of the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy. In this interview, conducted by email, she tells us about her work as a school district administrator in Southern California with a focus on working with teachers to make the most of assessment data. 

Nancy has been on the TATIL Advisory Board since the beginning. Her experience with schools and assessment has been invaluable.

 

Question: Please tell us a bit about your work with the Encinitas Union School District.

Nancy: During my 40+ years with the Encinitas Union School District I served in the positions of teacher, principal, and administrator/director of support services. My work at the district office level focused on data & assessment, state and federal special programs and resource development. I assisted teachers in transitioning to the new California digital assessments; trained them on utilizing data to inform their goal setting, instruction, and progress analysis; and provided instruction on assessment development. California adopted the Smarter Balanced Assessment System, which includes computer adaptive summative assessments, practice tests and interim assessments requiring teacher training for successful implementation. My role also involved assisting teachers to understand the power of using assessment data to address group and individual student growth and adapt their instruction to increase student progress. As data-driven decision-making has become a critical component to teacher effectiveness, I focused additional teacher training on assessment development using a high quality item bank selected by the district.  Assessment data were also used to establish need in the grant proposals I wrote for the district.

Q: What are you currently working on?

Nancy: As a retired educator, I have found that my education and experiences have been very useful in my new focus on community involvement. I am currently a member of the Community Advisory Board for the Altman Clinical and Transitional Research Institute (ACTRI) at the University of California, San Diego. The ACTRI is part of a national consortium created to accelerate laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients. Responsibilities of the Board include advocating on behalf of the general public on issues related to clinical research; recommending changes to clinical trials research strategies; and assisting with access to specific communities that are not adequately represented in outreach, UCSD research, or other CTRI resources. To increase my value to the Board I have volunteered with senior organizations and school enrichment programs. In addition, I am participating in higher education workshops and presentations to remain current on policy, research and national/global issues.

Q: What are your thoughts about the role and effectiveness of schools in preparing students for college? ...continue reading "Meet the TATIL Advisory Board: Nancy Jones"

Sign reading Good Cheap Fast
Credit: cea+ www.flickr.com/photos/centralasian/4534292595 CCBY2.0

It can be a challenge to decide which SAILS or TATIL test is the best one for your needs. Here I will take a few minutes to explain why we offer so many test options and how to determine which one is right for you.

The construct of information literacy is very broad. If you think about it as a light spectrum, it includes everything from infrared to ultraviolet. Many important concepts such as authority, intellectual property, search strategies, scholarship, and research are included. There is a lot to cover if you are going to assess your students’ information literacy capabilities. In order to make testing of these concepts manageable, we have grouped them in various ways.

Project SAILS has eight skill sets that we developed using the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education as a source for our
learning objectives. There are 162 test questions across the eight skill sets. The skill sets allow for in-depth scoring.

Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy (TATIL) has four modules. Using the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy as a guide, our advisory board created performance indicators for the entire IL construct that we then combined into modules. There are a total of 101 test questions across the four modules. These modules allow for in-depth scoring.

We think it's important to make tests that can be administered in a standard class hour. This means we cannot ask a student to answer every SAILS question or every TATIL question. Instead students answer a subset of the full test question bank.

We would also like to be able to give each student an individual score when possible. For many institutions receiving individual student scores is necessary in order to achieve their goals. Having individual scores also means we can generate a custom report for each student highlighting their strengths and making recommendations.

I have covered the three aspects of information literacy testing. We call these Breadth, Depth, and Individualization. Breadth indicates how much of the IL construct is covered, from partial to complete. Depth indicates how granular the reporting is, from shallow to deep. And Individualization indicates whether an individual student receives a score.

When having someone do a job for you, the old saying goes: Good, cheap, fast -- pick two. When deciding on a testing option you have a similar choice: Breadth, Depth, Individualization -- pick two. Here’s why:

...continue reading "SAILS and TATIL: Why Are There So Many Test Options?"

Cynthia Kane, Emporia State University
Cynthia Kane, Emporia State University

Cynthia Kane joined the Advisory Board of the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy in 2017. Here she answers questions about her work and her passion for assessment.

Question: Please tell us about your current job. 

Cynthia: I am currently the Director of Assessment at the Emporia State University Libraries and Archives. I oversee all aspects of assessment initiatives in our program, including information literacy assessments. I also represent the Libraries and Archives on two university-wide committees:  the Student Learning Assessment Council and the Higher Learning Commission Leadership Team. I really enjoy these last two opportunities because it’s given me a wider audience to highlight the impact of the academic library in student learning and success throughout their undergraduate and graduate careers.

Q: Do you teach? How has your approach to teaching changed since you started?

Cynthia: I have taught library instruction sessions in undergraduate and graduate courses for over 25 years. In addition, I served for years as an adjunct faculty member for ESU’s School of Library and Information Management. I presently coordinate the scheduling and teach sections of UL100, Research Skills, Information and Technology. This course counts for the “Information Technology” General Education requirement at ESU. My approach to teaching hasn’t really changed over the years – mainly, just being aware that technology tools will change, but the need to know how to find and use information effectively will never change!

Q: How has your library approached the Framework?

Cynthia: We’re working through that right now!  Our UL100 course will be 3 credit hours in Fall 2018 and we are reworking our course curriculum not only to accommodate ...continue reading "Meet the TATIL Advisory Board: Cynthia Kane"