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Information Literacy Assessment Toolkit: Program-Level Assessment

PALNI's Information Literacy Assessment Toolkit

Considerations Prior to Assessing

Program-Level Considerations:
ACRL's Guidelines for Instruction Programs in Academic Libraries provides the following criteria that constitutes an information literacy program:

  • Mission Statement
    should encapsulate the purpose of the IL program as it relates to the institutional mission and the needs of its learners.
  • Content of Instruction
    should articulate outcomes that can include concepts and skills found in ACRL's Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, ACRL's Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education, and an institution's learning outcomes.
  • Identify Modes of Instruction
    should include differing environments of learning (e.g. classroom teaching, online learning, research consultations) and pedagogy methods used in the classroom with emphasis on active learning and developing critical thinking skills.
  • Program Structures
    should map the points in its institution's curricula where info lit competencies are taught and learned. It's the process of identifying where IL programming fits within an institution's general education & discipline curricula, and within the progression of a student's undergraduate learning (first-year vs. senior year IL competencies).
  • Evaluation & Assessment of Program 
    should be based on an IL program's student learning outcomes and overall program goals.

Info Lit Program Statements:
Below are institutional info lit program statements. While they may not describe all of the criteria noted above, they provide examples of program components.

Program-Level Assessment

5 questions to ask for programmatic assessment

  • Program Outcome - What does an effective instruction program do?
    • Guided by a learner-centered mission statement & program outcomes
    • Engages in outreach to communicate the value of IL 
  • Program Criteria - How do you determine if you have achieved your outcomes?  What will constitute success?
    • Include data-specific percentage to represent change increase/decrease over time (evidence!)
  • Program Assessment - How will data or evidence be collected?
  • Program Analysis and Evaluation - How will the discussion or evaluation of the data occur?  Who will be involved?
    • Evaluative discussion lends itself to trust, improvement opportunities, collaboration, and impact reach
  • Program Change - What changes will be enacted?  Who will take leadership?  What is the timeline?  What resources are required?
    • TIP: keep the goal of impact in mind, reasonable change will result in the greatest impact. Establish leadership, timeline goals, and identify resources to make the change happen

Zald, A. E., Gilchrist, D. (2008). Instruction and program design through assessment. In Christopher N. Cox; Elizabeth Blakesley Lindsay, Information Literacy Instruction Handbook 164.192. 

build a program with institutional alignment

Building an intentional IL program provides a blueprint for integrating information literacy into your University's curricula at appropriate learning points throughout a student's academic experience.  A program helps faculty and curriculum committees and administrators understand the scaffolding needed to build information literacy competencies in students and ensures that students graduate with strong information literacy skills and competencies.              

The following best practices standards and rubrics are what good information literacy programs are built around:

reaching out to campus support services

Best Practices and considerations for reaching out to campus support services:

  • Collaboration with and support from:
    • Assessment Committees 
    • Institutional Research Offices 
    • Program Review Committees 
    • Accrediting Organizations, etc.
  • Defining the support need (e.g. data collection, analysis, use of information, etc.)
  • Understanding student data policies (i.e. IRB & FERPA compliance)

considerations for standardized assessment

Standardized assessments are those tools where institution's can compare their results to other institution's results.  Examples are listed below.

Standardized Assessment Examples

examples of programmatic assessment

The following are assessment methods/programs developed for individual institutions.