Analysis of Information Literacy
This was the first year that the institution assessed student artifacts from both lower level GE courses and upper division (senior) level classes in each Program.
General Education Results: Seventy-two (n=72) papers representing three colleges were blind read by readers from the Committee. Twenty-one (21) were from a 100-level GE certified course, and fifty-one (51) were from three different 200-level courses. The median scores a as follows: Documentation Conventions, 1.580645; Appropriateness of Sources, 2.709677; Evaluating Sources (Critical Thinking), 1.935484; and Integrating Sources (Critical Thinking), 1.983871.
The following constitutes observations by the readers:
- Readers noted that some assignment sheets did not call for a specific citation style; readers simultaneously found that the majority of papers made haphazard use of more than one proper citation format. There appears to be a correlation between vague instructions and the mixing of formats in papers;
- Students don’t appear to be evaluating the validity of sources. They don’t appear to be able to locate the best sources of information and mainly relied on only on- line (web) non-academic sources;
- In cases where students do find appropriate sources, they exhibit difficulty synthesizing the information with their own train of thought or argument; Some papers read like “stacks of information”—students don’t appear to be aware of how to use information meaningfully;
- Is not clear if students were unaware of the rubric for Information Literacy or if they simply did not spend adequate time on their papers as many read like “first drafts.”
- Readers identified 25% of these papers plagiarizing passages directly from texts. Likewise in more than 50% of papers, there was a huge discrepancy in what was listed in the bibliography as opposed to what was actually cited in the body of the paper. What was a little troubling for readers was that the easiest skill, Documentation Conventions, which is simply following an academic format, was the skill most problematic for students.
The following are recommendations put forth by the Assessment Support Committee:
- The GE Committee should ensure that the papers that are turned in fit the measurement that is being undertaken (one of the assignments was a summary of field experience which is actually not appropriate for review for Information Literacy).
- That both teachers and students remain cognizant of the rubric during the duration of the assignment. We encourage departments to disseminate and discuss rubrics before assignments are crafted and/or collected.
- Teachers may want to consider more specific instructions on what constitutes “appropriate: sources for their courses/programs.
- Teachers should consider limiting the range of citation formats or specify one— vague instructions or parameters can lead to a “mishmash” of styles.
Senior-level results: One hundred and eighty-nine papers were read by sixteen programs representing three colleges—CAS, CoBE, and CHL. Because programs could read and report their own data, the Committee made no overall analysis of the results; however, individual department results and their responses are recorded individually within their matrices (see below).
Program Specific Reports
B.A. Chemistry & Chemistry Health Sciences
B.A. Geography & BS Environmental
B.A. Japanese Studies
B.A. Liberal Studies
B.A. Performing Arts
B.A. Pharmacy Studies
B.A. Physics & B.S. Astronomy
B.B.A. Accounting & B.B.A. Business Administration
B.S. Computer Science