Assessing Information Literacy among Undergraduates: A Discussion of the Literature and the University of California-Berkeley Assessment Experience

Patricia Davitt Maughan

Abstract

Although national standards for information literacy have been developed and approved by the Association of College and Research Libraries, little is known about the extent to which undergraduates meet these or earlier sets of standards. Since 1994, the Teaching Library at the University of California-Berkeley has conducted an ongoing Survey of Information Literacy Competencies in selected academic departments to measure the “lower-order” information literacy skills of graduating seniors. The most fundamental conclusion that can be drawn from this survey is that students think they know more about accessing information and conducting library research than they are able to demonstrate when put to the test. The University of California-Berkeley library experience is consistent with earlier study findings that students continue to be confused by the elementary conventions for organizing and accessing information.

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