A Disciplinary Blueprint for the Assessment of Information Literacy

A Disciplinary Blueprint for the Assessment of Information Literacy

A Disciplinary Blueprint for the Assessment of Information Literacy

A Disciplinary Blueprint for the Assessment of Information Literacy


Have you ever worried that literature on library instruction deals more with methods of assessing student attitude than student learning? If so, you'll be glad to know someone is doing something about it

Eight unique disciplinary modules are presented, each identifying a series of information literacy objectives developed in accordance with Bloom's Taxonomy of Cognitive Objectives.

A substantive curriculum map embedded within each module lists the sequence of courses required for the disciplinary major and the level at which the course is taught (sophomore, junior, etc.), notes whether information literacy instruction is currently taught by the library for that particular course, and delineates the specific information literacy learning objectives the students must master in order to fulfill the course assignments.

Collaborative responsibility for teaching the information literacy skills is also outlined, with specific recommendations for ways the library can strengthen its support for the specific discipline. In addition, assessment methodologies are identified; including scoring rubrics designed specifically for the disciplinary information literacy objectives.

An indispensable resource for academic librarians ready to take the leap from episodic reactive response to programmatic sequenced integration into the curriculum.


This began as a series of brief proposals to my department chairperson, John Buschman, during a developmental leave granted to me by Rider University for the purpose of researching disciplinary information literacy skills and their assessment. I sent the proposals to John throughout my leave to obtain his feedback as to whether they were realistic for our library’s instruction program. When he received the third proposal, he commented, “You realize that you’re writing a book …” to which I replied, “I am?” He recognized the significance of my recommendations for our library’s program and suggested that they could be replicated at other institutions. What follows is a more elaborate version of those proposals, but this is still intended to serve as an outline of recommendations for librarians to adapt to their own institutions. I do hope that this framework is one that can be adapted for your institution with the idea that your own creativity and circumstance will determine its success for your students.

The proposals in the chapters ahead are each for a different discipline and provide a framework for both teaching and assessing the students’ disciplinary information literacy skills. Each follows a cognitive sequence that has been incorporated within the required courses for the students’ disciplinary program. They are, thus, referred to as “sequences,” beginning with introductory skills and resulting in the more sophisticated cognitive skills required for the evaluation levels of information literacy.

We’ve piloted two sequences at Rider University and each has been adapted slightly differently from the original recommendation in response to conversations with faculty in the disciplines. John agreed to “try out” the first sequence with the Sociology Department and Pat Dawson agreed to try out the second sequence with the sciences. Robert Lackie and Diane Campbell are eager to begin the sequences for their disciplines, and I am grateful to all of the instruction librarians for recognizing the good sense of what I am recommending.

Those of us who are lucky enough to work in a library while putting together a manuscript understand the essential role played by the library staff who order books and interlibrary loans, photocopy needed materials, and always understand that the material . . .

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