Assessing chemical information literacy skills using the ACRL standards as a guide
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At the University of Kansas two librarians co-teach Bibliography of Chemistry, a one-hour credited class offered through the Chemistry Department for 1st graduate students. The content and teaching methodologies have changed over time but no formal assessment had ever been conducted. For the Spring 2004 and 2005 semester classes, a measurement tool was designed to gauge the development of chemical information literacy skills during the semester. The students were given the assessment at the beginning and again at the conclusion of the semester in order to quantify improvements. The results from both years indicated statistically significant improvement in the students’ skills. The 2005 assessment questions, course lectures and assignments were mapped after the completion of the study to the ACRL standards to identify the groups of standards for which the students showed the most improvement. This was done in order to identify any relationship between the instructional activities delivered during the semester and improvements in students’ information literacy skills. For the Spring 2006 semester, a revised assessment tool was developed to incorporate performance indicators from the ACRL Information Literacy Standards and will be administered via the university’s course management software, Blackboard. Using a “backward design” strategy the instructors selected the classroom content and activities by first identifying the learning outcomes. These outcomes were tightly mapped to the ACRL standards.The methodologies used and results obtained from all three studies will be reported and implications for using the ACRL standards as a guide in developing assessment strategies will be discussed.
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