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Information Literacy and Instruction: Information Literacy Standards

Resources and tips about information literacy, critical thinking, and how faculty can incorporate these concepts into their courses.

NEASC Standards

NEASC Standards 4.6 and 7.5 both deal with information literacy:

4.6

"The institution ensures that students use information resources and information technology as an integral part of their education. The institution provides appropriate orientation and training for use of these resources, as well as instruction and support in information literacy and information technology appropriate to the degree level and field of study."

7.5

"Faculty, staff, and students are provided appropriate training and support to make effective use of library and information resources, and instructional and information technology."

ACRL Standards

The Association of College and Research Libraries' Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education have been endorsed by the American Association for Higher Education and the Council of Independent Colleges. They are recognized and used by libraries and educational institutions worldwide. They can be found, along with more detailed outcomes, at the ACRL's website. Librarians use these standards when planning library instruction sessions; you may consider building some into your course outcomes as well.

Standard One: The information literate student determines the nature and extent of the information needed.

Performance Indicators:

  1. The information literate student defines and articulates the need for information.
  2. The information literate student identifies a variety of types and formats of potential sources for information.
  3. The information literate student considers the costs and benefits of acquiring the needed information.
  4. The information literate student reevaluates the nature and extent of the information need.

Standard Two: The information literate student accesses needed information effectively and efficiently.

Performance Indicators:

  1. The information literate student selects the most appropriate investigative methods or information retrieval systems for accessing the needed information.
  2. The information literate student constructs and implements effectively-designed search strategies.
  3. The information literate student retrieves information online or in person using a variety of methods.
  4. The information literate student refines the search strategy if necessary.
  5. The information literate student extracts, records, and manages the information and its sources.

Standard Three: The information literate student evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system.

Performance Indicators:

  1. The information literate student summarizes the main ideas to be extracted from the information gathered.
  2. The information literate student articulates and applies initial criteria for evaluating both the information and its sources.
  3. The information literate student synthesizes main ideas to construct new concepts.
  4. The information literate student compares new knowledge with prior knowledge to determine the value added, contradictions, or other unique characteristics of the information.
  5. The information literate student determines whether the new knowledge has an impact on the individual’s value system and takes steps to reconcile differences.
  6. The information literate student validates understanding and interpretation of the information through discourse with other individuals, subject-area experts, and/or practitioners.
  7. The information literate student determines whether the initial query should be revised.

Standard Four: The information literate student, individually or as a member of a group, uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.

Performance Indicators:

  1. The information literate student applies new and prior information to the planning and creation of a particular product or performance.
  2. The information literate student revises the development process for the product or performance.
  3. The information literate student communicates the product or performance effectively to others.

Standard Five: The information literate student understands many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and uses information ethically and legally.

Performance Indicators:

  1. The information literate student understands many of the ethical, legal and socio-economic issues surrounding information and information technology.
  2. The information literate student follows laws, regulations, institutional policies, and etiquette related to the access and use of information resources.
  3. The information literate student acknowledges the use of information sources in communicating the product or performance.