Posted by: leish79 | April 29, 2013

Blog Task 2 – Comment on the role of the teacher librarian in practice with regard to assessing information literacy and inquiry learning

Assessment of information literacy and inquiry learning is complex and requires more than simple testing of knowledge by way of standardised testing. Whilst this may play a role in the assessment of these skills, it cannot clearly show whether students have developed skills and have the ability to apply these to their studies. Assessment needs to be varied and multiple to increase validity and should occur at different points of the process to allow for comparison (Kuhlthau, Kaspari & Maniotes, 2007; Mueller, 2005; Mueller, 2008).

Assessment in inquiry learning should be embedded into the process and shouldn’t simply be an add-on at the end of a particular topic or project (Kuhlthau et. al., 2007; Stripling, 2007). Ongoing assessment during the implementation of the inquiry process allows the teaching team to identify the strengths and areas for improvement of individual students and the group as a whole. This then allows for ongoing tweaking of the content being taught to ensure it is meeting the needs of the students involved and is informed by the ongoing assessment.

The teacher librarian’s role in assessment mirrors their role in the implementation of guided inquiry. That is collaboration is the key (Brown, 2008; Kuhlthau et. al., 2007). Each member of the instructional team is required to participate in the assessment of the students learning and therefore collaboration is highly important to ensure holistic and accurate assessments of student learning are undertaken. The teacher librarian is generally seen as the lead in teaching information literacy skills and it is therefore understandable to assume they will also take the lead in assessing these skills. However, it is important that all members of the instructional team are involved in the assessment process and that each member’s assessments are equally valued. The teacher librarian should ensure the ongoing collaboration between the team members to ensure the sharing of assessment information and to assist with pulling all of the information together.

There are many ways to assess students’ information literacy and inquiry learning skills. These include, rubrics, portfolios, observation, conferences, final products and tests. There is no one accepted way of assessing these skills and all references considered each agree that utilising multiple ways of assessing increases the validity of the assessment. Evaluation of the final product is arguably useful however it does not necessarily demonstrate the student’s learning journey and their growth in skills along the way (Kuhlthau et. al. 2007).

The teacher librarian’s role in assessment is pivotal to the implementation of a guided inquiry approach as they are seen as the expert in the teaching of information skills and just as they are looked upon to provide instruction to teachers in how to teach these skills, similarly they are looked upon to provide instruction to teachers in how to assess these skills. The assessment of inquiry learning is made all the more difficult by the number of different skills being learnt simultaneously and the absence of an accepted format to assess these skills.

References:

Brown, C. A. (2008). Building rubrics: A step-by-step process. Library Media Connection, 26(4), 16-18.

Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K., & Caspari, A. K. (2007). Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st Century. Westport: Libraries Unlimited Inc.

Mueller, J. (2005). Authentic assessment in the classroom … and the library media centre. Library Media Connection, 23(7), 14-18.

Mueller, J. (2008). Assessing skill development. Library Media Connection, 27(3), 18-20.

Stripling, B. (2007). Assessing information fluency: Gathering evidence of student learning. School Library Media Activities Monthly, 23(8), 25-29.

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