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Information Literacy: Assessment

Information Literacy Plan

Click the link below to download a copy of the Loyola ▪ Notre Dame Library's Information Literacy Program Plan.

Request an Information Literacy Session

The Research & Instruction Department is available to teach your students how to use the library research resources. Sessions last 50-90 minutes and can cover such topics as how to effectively search library databases, the library catalog, and other key resources for conducting research; how to access the full text of articles; and how to evaluate information found in databases or on the web. If you would like to schedule a library information literacy session or talk to librarian about developing a session for your students, please use this form.


Assessment is an integral part of the Information Literacy Program. It serves to examine the ways in which the program is successful and how it can be improved upon. The primary goal is to evaluate what students are able to do as a result of the learning experience, with an emphasis on performative or authentic assessment—to determine whether or not students are able to demonstrate the skills that are taught through library instruction.

Currently, the Research & Instruction Department uses the following methods to assess our instruction:

Formal Assessment

The most established assessment activity used to evaluate the library’s Information Literacy Program is an assignment given to all Loyola undergraduate students in their 200-level Literature course, Major Writers. The 10-question assignment asks students to perform basic research tasks, such as finding a book in the catalog, searching in a library database on a given topic, identifying relevant results from a list, and citing information using MLA style. This assessment serves a dual purpose: to prepare students for the main research assignment in their class, and to provide the Research & Instruction department with significant information as to which skills students continue to struggle with and therefore should be reinforced in library instruction.

Formal assessments such as annotated bibliographies, quizzes, and research assignments are also used in several other courses in the Information Literacy Program, primarily in the Psychology, Pharmacy, and Nursing programs. Feedback is gathered from faculty immediately following library instruction sessions, as well as later in the semester, after students have completed research assignments. 

Informal Assessment

In many of the information literacy sessions, students are given a challenge research question at the end of the class. This provides an opportunity for librarians to reinforce key concepts and informally assess student learning. As students work independently on finding resources to answer the challenge question, the librarian circulates throughout the room to observe which skills students are able to replicate on their own and which remain problematic. Other informal assessments include observations of students’ follow-up questions, expressed needs during one-on-one consultations, and reference interviews from the Research Assistance Desk. Librarians use notes from these informal observations to improve their instruction for future sessions.

The next departmental goal is to pinpoint additional classes and programs where the Research & Instruction department can institute formal and performative assessments, such as graded library assignments and pre- and post- tests.