Information Literacy Skills Are Positively Correlated with Writing Grade and Overall Course Performance
AbstractA Review of:
Shao, X., & Purpur, G. (2016). Effects of information literacy skills on student writing and course performance. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 42(6), 670-678. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2016.08.006
Objective – To measure the correlation of tested information literacy skills with individual writing scores and overall course grade.
Design – Online, multiple-choice survey.
Setting – Public research university in North Carolina, United States of America.
Subjects – Freshmen students enrolled in either first-year seminar (UCO1200) or basic English writing course (ENG1000).
Methods – A 25-question, forced-choice test was piloted with 30 students and measured for internal consistency using Cronbach’s Alphas. The survey instrument was slightly revised before being administered online via SelectSurvey, to 398 students in 19 different sections of either UCO1200 or ENG1000, during class sessions. The test measured students’ information literacy skills in four areas: research strategies, resource types, scholarly vs. popular, and evaluating websites. The preliminary questions asked for each student’s name, major (by category), number of library instruction sessions attended, and the names of library services utilized.
The students’ information literacy scores were compared to their writing scores and overall course grades, both of which were obtained from course instructors. The information literacy scores were also analyzed for correlation to the number of library instruction sessions attended or the types of library services utilized.
Main Results – Information literacy skills positively correlated with writing scores (n=344, r=-.153, p=0.004) and final course grades (n=345, r=0.112, p=0.037). Pearson’s Correlation Coefficients results demonstrated relationships between writing scores and the information literacy test section “Scholarly versus Popular Sources” (n=344, r=0.145, p=0.007), and final grade and information literacy test sections “Types of Sources” (n=345, r=0.124, p=0.021) and “Website Evaluation” (n=345, r=0.117, p=0.029). The impact of using other library services or of attending multiple information literacy sessions was not statistically significant.
Conclusion – Students’ mastery of tested information literacy skills directly correlates to their writing and final course grades. The study confirms the need for faculty and library collaboration to create well-integrated library instruction and services, and advocates for librarians to become integral to campus initiatives for student learning and success.
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