Information Literacy Assessment

The purpose of this guide is to provide a starting point for those who need to assess information literacy student learning outcomes, particularly those working with the new Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.

Information Has Value

Information can be considered valuable in a number of different ways.  It can have monetary value as something that can be purchased or sold.  It can have value as the intellectual property of the person who created it.  It can also have value because it can be used to exert (or gain) power and influence.

There are so many ideas introduced in the description of the frame that I don't think the knowledge practices and dispositions developed by the authors really cover them all.  For instance, I think issues of censorship, the business of information, and the role of the library in existing information system could all be part of this frame, but none appear.  There is a lot of room for further elaboration and development.

Information Has Value doesn't overlap with the other frames too much.  Citation of sources also appears in Scholarship as Conversation, but otherwise the main tie between this frame and the rest of the Framework is the overarching focus on the need to understand the social context in which information is created, disseminated, and used.

Information Has Value has a very close relationship to Standard 5 (The information literate student understands many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and uses information ethically and legally).  But while almost every concept that was in Standard 5 can be found in Information Has Value, the reverse is not true.  Information Has Value has added a lot of content related both to the idea of information as a commodity and to social justice issues that isn't found in Standard 5.  Standard 5 focused much more on following laws, rules, and social conventions (both indicators 2 and 3) while the Frame has much more emphasis on socioeconomic issues.

Learning outcomes that can be assess through multiple-choice questions

Students will be able to match the terms copyright, fair use, and public domain with their definitions.

  • (provide a definition) This is the definition for which of the following?
  • Which of the following is the best definition of fair use?


Students will be able to identify correct citations.

  • (provide a citation) Is this the correct way to cite a journal article in citation style X.
  • What is wrong with the following citation?


Students will be able to match citations to particular formats/source types.

  • Which of the following is the correct citation for a book (or other format) in citation style X.


Students will be able to define open access.

  • Which of the following is the best definition of open access?


Students will be able to differentiate between paid and “free” information systems.

  • Which of the following do you have to access through the library?
  • Are government documents (or some other resource) usually available for free over the internet?


Students will be able to identify examples of plagiarism.

  • Which of the following examples would count as plagiarism?
  • (Students are presented with a short scenario)  Is this plagiarism?

Learning outcomes for worksheets or quizzes

Students will be able to describe major characteristics of the role of intellectual property in academia (or American culture, or discipline X).

  • Assignment where students research an intellectual property incident or case (e.g, an academic plagiarism incident or a copyright case).  Have them summarize the arguments on both sides and argue whether the outcome/ruling was fair.


Students will be able to discuss how individuals or groups can be marginalized or underrepresented  in systems that produce information.

  • Assignment to locate an article about how a group is marginalized,underrepresented, or misrepresented in the media or other types of information sources.
  • Assignment to locate an article about how a marginalized/underrepresented group is advocating for itself.
  • Assignment to locate a source by (authored or published) a specific group or person within that group.  It could either simply be included as a source or compared to sources written about the group by outsiders.


Students will be able to give examples of information privilege.

  • Assignment where students study the cost to obtain scholarly books and journal articles.  How much would it cost them to do a research project if they had to pay for the information rather than using the library?


Students will be able to discuss the role socioeconomic factors plays in access to information.

  • An assignment that challenges students to find information on a topic without using a computer.  They record their process and success/failure.
  • Ask students to imagine they are helping someone who has never used the internet to find information.  Have them list all the things they would have to explain and show that person to help them do so.


Students will be able to compare library systems to the open web.

  • Have students do the same search in a search engine and a library system.  Have them review and discuss the top X many results from each.
  • Assignment where students compare a search engine and a library system on particular points (e.g.,  interface, advanced search options, ease of use, and what materials they can access.)


Students will be able to give examples of how the internet affects the privacy of individuals.

  • Assignment where student sees how much/what type of information they can find on the internet about themselves.  Were they surprised?  Would they want a potential employer to be able to find that same information?
  • Assignment where students must look up and describe the privacy policies and settings of a social networking site or browser.  After understanding what is involved, would they change their own settings?

Learning outcomes for longer assignments with rubrics

Students will be able to articulate a variety of  information systems appropriate to their research topics. See this under Searching as Strategic Exploration.

Students will be able to connect their research process to issues of access.  (e.g., open access, web vs. library systems, cost of obtaining information [either in time or money], information privilege).

Students will be able to describe the social/cultural/political/monetary value of information pertaining to their research topics.

Students will be able to follow intellectual property rules and standards (plagiarism and citations).

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