Epic Fail of an IL Assessment

Document Type


Presentation Date


Conference Name

Michigan Library Association Annual Conference

Conference Location

Grand Rapids, MI


This presentation describes a failed attempt at information literacy assessment of multiple sections of first-year college writing students. The assessment tool of choice was a pre/post survey asking student to report on their level of ability and confidence related to seven different IL/library research-related tasks/concepts. It was ultimately found—via this assessment attempt and follow-up literature review—that these so-called "indirect" assessments are questionable at best (i.e., students "don't know what they don't know"). Conclusions reached include: 1) Assessments need to be skill-based ("direct"), and 2) Students should first be shown what they don't know (given a wake-up call) early-on and crafting instruction accordingly.

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