Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Snapshots of Reality: A Practical Guide to Formative Assessment in Library Instruction

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Snapshots of Reality: A Practical Guide to Formative Assessment in Library Instruction

Article excerpt

Snapshots of Reality: A Practical Guide to Formative Assessment in Library Instruction. By Mary Snyder Broussard, Rachel Hickoff-Cresko, and Jessica Urick Oberlin. Chicago: ACRL, 2014. 256 p. Paper $52 (ISBN: 978-08389-8689-9).

Written by two academic librarians and an education professor, this book aims to introduce the concept of formative assessment to a wider library audience and to demonstrate how formative assessment can be used in one-shot library sessions. The authors detail 48 formative assessment snapshot techniques (FASTs) that could be used as part of a library instruction session.

The authors define formative assessment as "small, frequent, and often informal assessments designed to help the educator get an understanding of students' current knowledge and what they have learned" (5). The formative assessment snapshot techniques (FASTs) are broken down into those that could be used before, during, or after an instruction session. The authors also provide the estimated time required for a given FAST, the amount of collaboration required with the course instructor, and the information literacy standard (ACRL or Standards for the 21st-Century Learner) addressed by the assessment. Although the authors focus on how formative assessment is used to improve student learning, they offer a chapter on how it also can be used to improve librarian teaching. The authors devote a chapter to technology tools that can be used in formative assessment, and they end with a discussion of the use of formative assessment in school libraries and a description of a "culture of assessment."

The authors do a good job of detailing the benefits of using formative assessment in one-shot library instruction. …

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