Developing and Applying an Information Literacy Rubric to Student Annotated Bibliographies


Erin E. Rinto

Undergraduate Learning Librarian and Assistant Professor

University of Nevada Las Vegas

Las Vegas, Nevada, United States of America



Received: 20 Mar. 2013   Accepted: 23 May 2013



cc-ca_logo_xl 2013 Rinto. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative CommonsAttributionNoncommercialShare Alike License 2.5 Canada (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly attributed, not used for commercial purposes, and, if transformed, the resulting work is redistributed under the same or similar license to this one.




ObjectiveThis study demonstrates one method of developing and applying rubrics to student writing in order to gather evidence of how students utilize information literacy skills in the context of an authentic assessment activity. The process of creating a rubric, training scorers to use the rubric, collecting annotated bibliographies, applying the rubric to student work, and the results of the rubric assessment are described. Implications for information literacy instruction are also discussed.


Methods The focus of this study was the English 102 (ENG 102) course, a required research-based writing course that partners the instructors with the university librarians for information literacy instruction. The author developed an information literacy rubric to assess student evaluation of information resources in the ENG 102 annotated bibliography assignment and trained three other librarians how to apply the rubric to student work. The rubric assessed the extent to which students critically applied the evaluative criteria Currency, Relevance, Accuracy, Authority, and Purpose to the information sources in their annotations. At the end of the semester, the author collected up to three de-identified annotated bibliographies from each of the 58 sections of ENG 102. The rubric was applied to up to five annotations in each bibliography, resulting in a total examination of 773 annotations (some sections turned in fewer than 3 samples, and some bibliographies had fewer than 5 annotations).

Results The results of the study showed that students struggle with critically evaluating information resources, a finding that supports the existing information literacy assessment literature. The overwhelming majority of annotations consisted of summative information with little evidence that students used any evaluative criteria when they selected an information source. Of the five criteria examined, Relevance to the student’s research topic and Authority were the most commonly used methods of resource evaluation, while Currency, Accuracy, and Purpose were criteria least-often used. The low average scores on the rubric assessment indicate that students are not adequately learning how to apply this set of information literacy skills.


Conclusions – The library instruction sessions for ENG 102 need to move beyond the skills of choosing and narrowing a topic, selecting keywords, and searching in a library database. Students also need more targeted instruction on higher-order skills, particularly how to critically evaluate and question the sources they find. The results of this assessment are being used to refocus the learning outcomes of ENG 102 library sessions so that instruction can better meet student needs. The results are also being used to make the case for further collaboration between ENG 102 and the university library.





It has been well-documented in the library literature that academic libraries are responsible for assessing their services, especially library instruction, in order to communicate impact and better meet student needs (Rockman, 2002; Avery, 2003; Choinski, Mark, & Murphy, 2003; Oakleaf & Kaske, 2009). In order to intentionally design, implement, and assess information literacy instruction, it is helpful to have information about how students apply information literacy skills in practice. In particular, how do students understand and articulate the concept of evaluating information resources? Does library instruction influence the decisions students make during their research process? How can the assessment of student work help practicing librarians make the most of the ubiquitous single course period instruction session? 


This research project is informed by the assessment component of a new collaboration between the Lied Library and the English Composition program at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). The focus of the partnership was the English 102 (ENG 102) course, a required research-based writing class. In prior years, the relationship between the library and the ENG 102 course was informal in nature; there was no established set of learning goals for each library session that applied directly to the learning outcomes of ENG 102 nor a shared understanding of how the library session related to the larger goals of the ENG 102 curriculum. No regular assessment program showed how the library instruction sessions contributed to the information literacy needs of ENG 102 students. One goal of this new partnership was to introduce and execute an assessment plan for the ENG 102 information literacy instruction program. The assessment plan culminated with the collection and analysis of annotated bibliographies using a rubric designed by the author to assess students’ skills with evaluating information resources.


The purpose of this case study is to demonstrate one way that rubrics can be developed and applied to student writing to show how students apply information literacy skills in the context of an authentic assessment activity. This study contributes to the information literacy assessment literature by using a rubric to assess the information literacy skills evidenced by a sample of student work from a large, high-impact undergraduate Composition course. The results of this research project will allow librarians to fine-tune the single course period library instruction sessions that accompany the research component of the ENG 102 course.  


Literature Review


The assessment literature indicates that an important and ongoing trend is authentic assessment; that is, using meaningful tasks to measure student learning (Knight, 2006). Performance-based assignments are key ways to gauge how students are internalizing what they are taught in class. Unfortunately, unless librarians are teaching full-semester courses, they rarely see the outcome of what they teach. One way that librarians can become involved in authentic assessment is to collect work samples from the students who come to the library for instruction. Librarians can then evaluate the samples based on the skills that they would expect to see in student work. The results of such an assessment can inform future decisions about instruction, identifying areas where students excel or struggle and designing instruction programs that better support student learning.


One particular method that librarians have used to assess student information literacy skills is the rubric. Rubrics are advantageous assessment tools because they can be used to turn subjective data into objective information that can help librarians make decisions about how to best support student learning (Oakleaf, 2007; Arter & McTighe, 2001). Rubrics allow an evaluation of students’ information literacy skills within the context of an actual writing assignment, supporting the notion of authentic assessment. 


In the last ten years several studies that use rubrics to assess student information literacy skills have been conducted. In 2002, Emmons and Martin used rubrics to evaluate 10 semesters’ worth of student portfolios from an English Composition course in order to evaluate how changes to library instruction impacted the students’ research processes. This study showed that while some small improvements were made in the way students selected information resources, closer collaboration between the Composition program and the library was needed (Emmons & Martin, 2002). Choinski, Mark, and Murphy (2003) developed a rubric to score papers from an information resources course at the University of Mississippi. They found that while students succeeded in narrowing research topics, discussing their research process, and identifying source types, they struggled with higher-order critical thinking skills. Knight (2006) scored annotated bibliographies in order to evaluate information literacy skills in a freshman-level writing course. The study uncovered areas where the library could better support student learning, including focusing more on mechanical skills (database selection and use) as well as critical-thinking skills (evaluating the sources found in the databases). These studies, which used rubrics to evaluate student writing, all share similar findings—students succeed in identifying basic information if they are directly asked to do so but have difficulty critically evaluating and using academic-level sources. 


While these articles help inform how students apply information literacy skills in authentic assessment tasks, they do not provide very detailed information on how information literacy rubrics were developed and applied to student work. Studies that delve deeper into the rubric creation process rectify some of these issues. Fagerheim and Shrode (2009) provide insight into the development of an information literacy rubric for upper-level science students, such as collecting benchmarks for graduates, identifying measurable objectives for these benchmarks, and consulting with faculty members within the discipline, but there is no discussion of how scorers were trained to use the rubric. Hoffman and LaBonte (2012) explore the validity of using an information literacy rubric to score student writing. The authors discuss the brainstorming of performance criteria and the alignment of the rubric to institutional outcomes but there is no description of the training process for raters. Helvoort (2010) explains how a rubric was created to evaluate Dutch students’ information literacy skills, but the rubric was meant to be generalizable to a variety of courses and assignments, making it difficult to transfer the processes described to a single course assignment. 


Perhaps the most in-depth descriptions of the rubric development and training process appear in two studies by Oakleaf (2007; 2009) in which rubrics were used to score student responses on an online information literacy tutorial. Oakleaf describes the process for training the raters on rubric application and the ways in which that training impacted inter-rater reliability and validity (Oakleaf, 2007). Oakleaf (2009) gives a description of the mandatory training session. The raters were divided into small groups; the purpose of the study, the assignment, and the rubric were introduced and discussed; and five sample papers were used as “anchors” and scored during a model read-aloud of how to apply the rubric. Oakleaf used Maki’s 6 step-norming process to have the raters score sample papers and then discuss and reconcile differences in their scores (Oakleaf, 2009; Maki, 2010). This process was repeated twice on sample papers before the raters were ready to score sets of student responses on their own. Oakleaf’s explanation of how to train raters on an information literacy rubric was used as the model for rubric training for this study.


Though the literature on using rubrics to evaluate information literacy skills has grown over the last decade, Oakleaf’s studies remain some of the only examples of how to actually apply the rubrics in an academic library setting. Thus, there is still a need for localized studies that describe the application of information literacy rubrics. This study contributes to the literature by providing a case study of developing and using rubrics to evaluate how students apply information literacy skills in their class assignments.


Context and Aims




ENG 102 is the second in a two-course sequence that fulfills the English Composition requirement for degree completion at UNLV. ENG 102 is a high impact course that sees a very large enrollment; in the Fall of 2012, there were 58 sections of ENG 102, with 25 students in each section. The course has four major assignments, consisting of a summary and synthesis paper, an argument analysis, an annotated bibliography, and a researched-based argument essay. The third assignment, the annotated bibliography, was the focus of this study since the ENG 102 library instruction sessions have traditionally targeted the learning outcomes of the annotated bibliography project.




The author had two aims for this research project: the first was to gather evidence of how students apply information literacy skills in the context of an authentic assessment activity, and to use that information to fine-tune information literacy instruction sessions for the ENG 102 course. The second aim was to fill a gap in the literature by providing a case study of rubric development and application to student work. By offering a transparent view of how the rubric was created and how raters were trained, the author hopes to provide a localized case study of the practicalities of rubric usage.




Developing Rubrics for Information Literacy


A rubric is an assessment tool that establishes the criteria used to judge a performance, the range in quality one might expect to see for a task, what score should be given, and what that score means, regardless of who scores the performance or when that score is given (Callison, 2000; Maki, 2010). A scoring rubric consists of two parts: criteria, which describe the traits that will be evaluated by the rubric, and performance indicators, which describe the range of possible performances “along an achievement continuum” (Maki, 2010, p. 219). 


The benefits of rubrics as assessment tools are widely recognized: they help establish evaluation standards and keep assessment consistent and objective (Huba & Freed 2000; Callison, 2000); they also make the evaluation criteria explicit and communicable to other educators, stakeholders, and students (Montgomery, 2002). The most commonly cited disadvantage of rubrics is that they are time consuming to develop and apply (Callison, 2000; Mertler, 2001; Montgomery, 2002). The advantages of the descriptive data that come from rubrics should be weighed against their time-consuming nature, and proper time should be allotted for creating, teaching, and applying a rubric.


There is much information in the assessment literature on the general steps one can take to develop a scoring rubric. The model adapted by the author for the study consists of seven stages and was developed by Mertler (2001). Other examples of rubric development models can be found in Arter and McTighe (2001), Moskal (2003), Stevens and Levi (2005), and Maki (2010).

Mertler’s Model
(Mertler, 2001).

                1. Reexamine learning outcomes to be addressed.

2. Identify specific observable attributes that you want to see or do not want to see students demonstrate.

3. Brainstorm characteristics that describe each attribute. Identify ways to describe above average, average, and below average performance for each observable attribute.

4. Write thorough narrative descriptions for excellent and poor work for each individual attribute.

5. Complete rubric by describing other levels on continuum.

                6. Collect student work samples for each level.

                7. Revise and reflect.


In accordance with Mertler’s model, the author began the process of designing the ENG 102 information literacy rubric by defining the learning outcomes that needed to be addressed. The learning outcomes that the Composition program identified for the annotated bibliography assignment were used as a starting point for developing the rubric criteria. The annotated bibliography assignment has six information-literacy-centered learning outcomes, including choosing and narrowing a research topic, designing search strategies, conducting academic research, evaluating sources, writing citations, and planning a research-based argument essay. Many of these outcomes require students to use higher-order critical thinking skills, which were identified as areas of difficulty in previous studies that used information literacy rubrics, so the author was particularly interested in assessing those areas. The author then mapped each of the six outcomes to the Association of College and Research Libraries Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education and used a set of sample annotated bibliographies from a previous semester to identify attributes in student work that represented a range of good and poor performances for each of the six criteria (ACRL, 2000). Next, the author created written descriptions of the aspects of performances that qualified them as good or poor, and filled in the rubric with descriptions of “middle-range” performances. This first draft resulted in three rubrics that were shared with other instruction librarians and the ENG 102 Coordinator during a rubric workshop led by an expert in the field who came to UNLV’s campus to help support library assessment efforts.


The discussions during the workshop led to substantial revision of the rubrics’ content and format. Language was standardized and clarified, with careful attention paid to using parallel structure. In addition, efforts were made to ensure that only one element was assessed in each criterion and that the performance indicators on the rubric were mutually exclusive. Maki’s checklist for evaluating a rubric proved to be a useful tool for identifying areas of ambiguity and overlap (Maki, 2010). The author also refocused the scope of the project, which was too broad for the first stage of the assessment project. Instead of addressing all six information literacy learning outcomes identified for ENG 102, the author decided to start with just one outcome: source evaluation. 


For the source evaluation rubric, five criteria were selected to assess: Currency, Relevance, Accuracy, Authority, and Purpose. These criteria were drawn from a UNLV Libraries’ handout that aids students in evaluating the credibility of a resource and walks them through how to decide if a source is useful for their project. The rubric had three performance indicators to represent the range of student work in terms of how the student applied the evaluative criteria: “Level 0—not evidenced,” “Level 1—developing (using evaluation criteria at face value),” and “Level 2—competent (using evaluation criteria critically)” (see Figure 1).


The goal of the rubric was to identify which evaluative criteria students were not using at all, which they were using in only a shallow way, and which criteria students were using as critical consumers of information.  In order to gather this level of detail, the author decided that the rubric would be used to evaluate the individual annotations in each bibliography, not the bibliography as a whole.  This meant that the rubric would be applied up to five times for each student’s paper, since students were to turn in at least five annotations.  



Figure 1

Source evaluation rubric



Applying the Rubrics


Collecting and Preparing Student Samples 


The ENG 102 Coordinator, a faculty member in the Composition Department, had already established a method for collecting a sampling of student work every semester, so the author was able to receive copies of the annotated bibliography assignment from this sampling. The ENG 102 Coordinator uses a form of systematic sampling where the work from every 5th, 10th, and 15th student in each section is collected (Creswell, 2005). This means that at least three papers were to be collected from each of the 58 sections. In all, the author received a total of 155 annotated bibliographies, representing 10% of the total ENG 102 student population (not every section turned in the required 3 samples). In accordance with IRB protocol, the ENG 102 Coordinator de-identified all papers before the author received them for this study.


The author read through the first 50 samples received in order to find sets of anchor papers to use during the rubric training sessions, as was recommended by Oakleaf (2009).  Anchor, or model, papers were selected as examples for the training session because they reflected a range of high, medium, and low scoring student work.  Fifteen annotated bibliographies were selected and grouped into three sets so as to reflect a variety of student responses to the assignment. 


Preparing for the Training Session: Issues of Inter-rater Reliability


The author selected three other librarians to help score the student work samples. The other three librarians were trained on how to apply the rubric in a series of two 2 hour sessions. 


Inter-rater reliability was an issue of interest for this project because four librarians were involved in the rating process. Inter-rater reliability is the degree that “raters’ responses are consistent across representative student populations” (Maki, 2010, p. 224). Calculating inter-rater reliability can determine if raters are applying a rubric in the same way, meaning the ratings can statistically be considered equivalent to one another (Cohen, 1960; Moskal, 2003; Oakleaf, 2009). Because the sample of student work resulted in over 700 individual annotations, the author wanted to determine if this total could be equally divided between the four raters, resulting in each person having to score only a quarter of the samples. If, during the training sessions, the four raters could be shown to have a shared understanding of the rubric, as evidenced through calculating inter-rater reliability statistics, then only the recommended 30% overlap between papers would be needed (Stemler, 2004).


In order to calculate inter-rater reliability for this study, the author used AgreeStat, a downloadable Microsoft Excel workbook that calculates a variety of agreement statistics. Due to the fact that there were four raters, Fleiss’s kappa and Conger’s kappa were used as the agreement statistics for this study. These statistics are based on Cohen’s kappa, a well-established statistic for calculating agreement between two raters. Fleiss’s kappa and Conger’s kappa modify Cohen’s kappa to allow for agreement between multiple raters (Stemler, 2004; Oakleaf, 2009; Fleiss, 1971; Conger, 1980; Gwet, 2010). The Landis and Koch index for interpreting kappa statistics was used to determine if sufficient agreement had been reached. A score of 0.70 is the minimum score needed on the index for raters to be considered equivalent (Landis & Koch, 1971; Stemler, 2004). 


Table 1

Kappa Index

Kappa Statistic

Strength of Agreement












Almost Perfect



The Training Session 


The rubric training sessions followed Maki’s 6-step process: first, the author introduced the annotated bibliography assignment and the learning outcomes that were to be assessed. She handed out copies of the rubric and explained the criteria and performance indicators. The author then conducted a “read-aloud” with two of the anchor annotated bibliographies, reading through the annotations and articulating how she would score them based on the rubric. Once the librarians felt comfortable with the application of the rubric, each librarian individually scored a practice set of three bibliographies. Differences in scoring were identified, discussed, and reconciled (Maki, 2010; Oakleaf, 2009). 


At this point, the author used the statistical software AgreeStat to calculate the group’s inter-rater reliability. Since the initial scores were very low on the Landis and Koch index, the scoring and discussing process was repeated twice more. The inter-rater reliability scores for each round were as follows:


Inter-rater reliability greater than “fair” was not reached during three rounds of scoring; the numbers were well below the recommended 0.70 score. The author decided that, since the raters could not be considered equivalent in their application of the rubric, the papers could not be divided evenly between them. Instead, each bibliography would be scored twice, by two different raters, and the author would reconcile any differences in scores, a suggested method for resolving dissimilar ratings known as “tertium quid,” in which the score of an adjudicator is combined with the closest score of the original raters, and the dissimilar score is not used (Johnson, Penny, and Gordon, 2008, p. 241). The librarians had two weeks to score their set of bibliographies, at the end of which time the author recorded all scores. 




A total of 773 annotations were scored for the study. The following table shows the number of annotations that applied each of the evaluative criteria, and to what degree:


For three of the five evaluative criteria, the majority of the annotations received a Level 0 score, meaning they did not provide any evidence of using the criterion in question. For Currency, 686 (88%) of the annotations received a Level 0; for Accuracy, 575 (74%) received a Level 0; and for Purpose, 615 (79.5%) of the annotations were scored Level 0. Though students did better applying the criteria Relevance and Authority, a substantial percentage of students did not use these criteria either—330 (42.6%) annotations received a Level 0 for Relevance and 268 (34.6%) annotations received a Level 0 for Authority. In fact, in every instance except Authority, Level 0 was the most frequent score out of the three possible performance levels. 


The rubric was designed in such a way that a Level 1 score indicates that students are aware that a particular evaluative criterion exists and attempt to use it to assess the usefulness and appropriateness of a source, and a Level 2 score indicates that students apply these criteria in a critical way. When Level 1 and 2 scores are combined, it is apparent that 87 annotations (11%) use the criterion Currency to evaluate the source, 158 annotations (19.7%) use the criterion Purpose to evaluate the source, 198 annotations (25.6%) use the criterion Accuracy to evaluate the source, 443 annotations (57.2%) use the criterion Relevance to evaluate the source, and 505 annotations (65.2%) use the criterion



Table 2

Interrater Reliability from Training Rounds



Table 3

Scores for Evaluative Criteria



Authority to evaluate the source. In the instances of Relevance and Authority, it is evident that the majority of students are at least aware that these criteria should be considered when selecting an information source.


However, there were no instances in which the majority of students applied the evaluative criteria in a critical way, the performance required to receive a Level 2 score. For Currency, 17 (2%) of annotations were scored Level 2; for Accuracy, 14 (1.8%) annotations were scored Level 2; and even fewer for Purpose—only 6 annotations, less than 1% , used the criteria critically. However, in the case of Relevance and Authority nearly a quarter of the annotations applied the criteria critically, at 180 annotations (23.2%) and 189 annotations (24.4%), respectively. 


Examining the annotations within the context of the bibliographies in which they appeared provides information on how students applied these evaluative criteria across their entire papers. Each of the 155 papers examined contained up to five annotations, meaning each of the evaluative criteria could receive a score of up to ten points—two points per annotation. The author totaled the scores each paper received for the application of the criteria Currency, Relevance, Accuracy, Authority, and Purpose. The following table contains the average total score for each evaluative criterion, the maximum score for each criterion, and the standard deviation—how closely students clustered to the average score.


It is interesting to note that the mean scores for Currency, Accuracy, and Purpose were quite low (0.66, 1.35, and 1.15 out of 10, respectively), and that the standard deviations for these criteria were also low (1.47, 1.61., and 1.67, respectively). A small standard deviation means that most of the scores are grouped very close to the average score, with only a few outlying points (Hand, 2008). Thus, even though the range of scores given for these criteria was high, the high scores were outliers—the majority of scores given for each annotation was actually very near the low mean scores. This further reinforces the notion that students are consistently failing to critically apply the evaluative criteria Currency, Accuracy, and Purpose in their annotations. 




Overall, it appears that the results of this study support the information literacy assessment literature in terms of students struggling with the application of critical thinking skills. In their rubric assessment of student writing, Emmons and Martin (2002) indicated that students had particular difficulties with identifying the purpose of different kinds of sources; Knight (2006) also stated that source evaluation was a particular issue in student writing. The ENG 102 annotated bibliographies reinforce these ideas—the only evaluative criteria students considered on a consistent basis was the author of their source and how that source related to their research topics. This study therefore contributes to the literature on student application of critical thinking skills by providing specific data about the degree to which students evaluate their information resources.


Table 4

Breakdown of Scores for Evaluative Criteria in Student Papers


A practical implication of this research is an indication of where reinforced information literacy instruction might be beneficial to students. It is clear that students need more support in learning how to identify whether a source is appropriate and to articulate how it contributes to their argument. This is a complex skill set and needs to be taught in both the ENG 102 classroom as well as in the library instruction session. The first step the author took was to share the results of the rubric assessment with the ENG 102 Coordinator and to initiate a conversation about what elements of source evaluation the Composition program would like to emphasize in future semesters. The author also plans to share these results with the ENG 102 instructors at their fall orientation meeting and to stress areas where the library can help improve student performance, as well as steps the ENG 102 instructors can take in their own classrooms to help students become more critical of their information sources. The author had previously created an ENG 102 Instructor Portal—a website available to ENG 102 instructors that provides information literacy activities and assignments to support the learning outcomes of ENG 102. The Portal was highly utilized throughout the 2012-2013 school year, but the learning outcome of source evaluation was perhaps buried beneath a myriad of other learning outcomes, and was therefore not sufficiently highlighted. The author plans to streamline the Instructor Portal content to emphasize this skill set, and to discuss with ENG 102 instructors at orientation the possible ways they can integrate these activities into their teaching. 


In addition, the library needs to target source evaluation more consistently during the instruction sessions for ENG 102. According to a survey of the librarians who worked with ENG 102, source evaluation was not covered across all sections that came to the library, and, when it was taught, it usually consisted of briefly showing the students the source evaluation handout at the end of the session. The results of this study clearly demonstrate that this is not enough instruction on source evaluation, and the author has met with the instruction librarians to discuss ways in which we can better teach source evaluation in our sessions. The group agreed that in order to more fully instruct on source evaluation, other learning outcomes that are currently taught in the library session should be moved out of the face-to-face classroom and into the virtual one. The author is in the process of creating a web tutorial that will have students work through selecting and narrowing a research topic prior to coming to the library for instruction. The class time formerly spent on topic exploration can then be better spent on helping students navigate through search results and apply evaluative criteria to their potential sources. 


One limitation to this study is the restricted face-to-face time that librarians have with students; the library can only support teaching one 75 minute instruction session for each section of ENG 102. The use of a web tutorial to free up class time, as well as providing ENG 102 instructors with more resources on source evaluation is intended to alleviate some of this pressure. The library is also limited in terms of what individual ENG 102 instructors emphasize when they assign the annotated bibliography project. Since there is no shared rubric that ENG 102 instructors have to use for the annotated bibliographies, it is plausible that there is a large amount of variability in what the classroom teachers instruct their students to do in their annotations. Including ENG 102 instructors in the conversation about how students struggle with source evaluation—via fall orientation and the Instructor Portal—is one step in improving this issue. 


Finally, the process of applying the information literacy rubric can also be improved in the future. The training sessions failed to establish sufficient inter-rater reliability, and this was in large part due to not enough time allotted for training, particularly in discussing differences in scores. Two 2-hour training sessions (over two days) was all the group could commit to the project, but in the future, the author will emphasize the importance of a full day of training so that more time can be spent working through differences.


Additional factors that might influence student performance should also be examined. The author did gather information about student performances based on their section type—regular, themed, or distance education—as well as differences in scores between ENG 102 classes that came to the library for instruction versus those that did not; though it was required to schedule a library instruction session, ten sections did not come to the library. More in-depth statistical analysis needs to be done in order to interpret that information and the impact, if any, that these factors have on student performance. 




This study intended to accomplish two goals. The first aim of this study was to gather evidence about how students apply information literacy skills in the context of an authentic assessment activity, and to be able to use that information to establish a baseline from which to design future library instruction. The overall scores on the rubric indicate that there is considerable need for further instruction on the concept of how and why to apply evaluative criteria when selecting information resources. Clearly, one instruction session is not enough time to sufficiently introduce this concept—teaching source evaluation is a responsibility that should be shared between the ENG 102 instructors and the librarian in the instruction session. Working with the ENG 102 program to help instructors embed this information literacy skill set within their own classrooms is an important first step in helping students succeed. 


A second aim of this study was to provide a case study of how to create and apply a rubric to evaluate student information literacy skills. To that end, the author provided a transparent view of the process of rubric development and training scorers to use the rubric. Several lessons were learned during this process, such as how to move forward when inter-rater reliability was less than desirable. It is the author’s hope that others will build upon the successes and learn from the limitations of this study in order to continue the important discussion of authentic assessment of information literacy skills and the ways in which academic libraries can better support student learning.




The author would like to thank Anne Zald, Cheryl Taranto, and Samantha Godbey for their assistance in scoring student work using the information literacy rubric; Ruby Fowler for providing the de-identified copies of annotated bibliographies; Jen Fabbi for her guidance throughout the project; and Megan Oakleaf for leading the assessment workshop that led to the revision of the first draft of the rubric. 





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