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Assessment of Students' Information Literacy: A Case Study of a Secondary School in Hong Kong
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Assessment of Students' Information Literacy: A Case Study of a Secondary School in Hong Kong

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CHU, Connie (Student, Master of Science in Library and Information Management, Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong) ...

CHU, Connie (Student, Master of Science in Library and Information Management, Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong)
YEUNG, Alice
CHU, Samuel


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  • 1. Chu, Connie B.L.; Yeung, Alice H.W.; Chu, Samuel K.W.Faculty of Education, HKU 1
  • 2. • Introduction• Research Questions• Literature Review• Theoretical Framework• Methodology• Findings• Conclusion 2
  • 3. • The conceptions of learning have undergone fundamental changes in recent years• Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to “recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information”(ALA, 1989, p.1)• The findings of this study will potentially contribute to the better understanding of students’ current level of information literacy, and hence provide insight on how to further develop their knowledge and skills in this aspect 3
  • 4. • Main Research QuestionTo what extent do secondary school students possess information literacy in the context of their inquiry group project-based learning? 4
  • 5. • Sub Research Questions1. Among the 5 aspects of information literacy of TRAILS (Tool for Real-time Assessment of Information Literacy Skills), which are the most challenging to students?2. How do students go through Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process (ISP) when undertaking their inquiry group project-based learning?3. What are the factors that have helped the students to equip and enhance their information literacy?4. To what extent are the students able to use information sources properly and ethically? 5
  • 6. • Assessment of students’ information literacy is necessary as it narrows the gap between the information literacy curriculum and actual practices of teaching, learning and assessment (Johnston & Webber, 2003)• The fundamental decision of assessment tools design depended on balancing the information needs and accurately assessing the varied transferable information skills (Walsh, 2009)• Many projects have adopted TRAILS as the standard to do information literacy assessment for high school students (Burhanna & Jensen, 2006; Schloman & Gedeon, 2007) 6
  • 7. • In this study, TRAILS is applied and related to Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process (ISP) and Information Literacy Framework for Hong Kong Students (IL Framework)(EMB, 2005)• A theoretical framework is formed to serve as an instrument to assess students’ information literacy. It lists the five aspects of TRAILS and integrates the tasks and dimensions mentioned by ISP and IL Framework 7
  • 8. • TRAILS has five aspects: (a) develop topics, (b) identify potential sources, (c) develop, use, revise search strategies, (d) evaluate sources and information, (e) recognize the use of information ethically• Information Search Process (ISP) (Kuhlthau, 2004a) highlights the change of the state of mind during six stages of information seeking process: initiation, selection, exploration, formulation, collection, and presentation together with three tasks: feeling (affective), thoughts (cognitive), actions (physical)• Information Literacy Framework for Hong Kong Students (EMB, 2005) emphasizes four dimensions in information literacy: cognitive, meta-cognitive, affective, and socio-cultural, and maps to anticipated students’ learning outcomes 8
  • 9. 9
  • 10. • This study adopts a mixed method research design• The study group consists of 176 Secondary One students in the academic year 2010-11 of a local public school• The research includesSurvey—an information literacy test with 15 questions set according to TRAILS was done by 176 studentsInterview— 4 face-to-face focus group interviews with 17 students in total face-to-face interview with 1 subject teacherStudents’ Group Project — 15 group projects done by students were examined 10
  • 11. • Mapping the majority of students’ learning outcomes with 31 indicators provided by the IL Framework, the students’ information literacy was primarily at Level II, which corresponds to the stage of Primary Four to Six. It is one level below the anticipated learning outcomes• The Students have had progress in the cognitive dimension such as clarifying topics, analyzing information and presenting findings• They are relatively immature in socio-cultural dimension. They were not eager to share information with others and they found the citation work too time-consuming 11
  • 12. Level I (P1-3) Level II (P4-6) Level III (F1-3) No. of No. of No. of Dimensions indicator indicator indicator Cognitive 0 10 4Meta-cognitive 0 7 0 Affective 0 4 1Socio-cultural 2 3 0 Total 2 24 5 12
  • 13. • The test shows that the students did particularly well in finding potential sources while they did not do well in using information ethically• The students claimed that they looked for information on the internet rather than other sources, and they ensured that what they found on the internet was reliable and could be freely used• They did not cite the sources properly in their group projects. They posted only hyperlinks of their mentioned articles without proper citation 13
  • 14. Questions TRAILS Secondary One Overall Level of Students’ Average Average StrengthsQ1 Aspect C: Develop, 55% 59% ModerateQ2 Use, and Revise Search 88%Q3 Strategies 58%Q4 81%Q5 13%Q6 Aspect A: Develop 60% 48.6% WeaknessQ7 Topic 45%Q8 41%Q9 Aspect B: Identify 75% 75.3% Most StrengthQ10 Potential Sources 67%Q11 84%Q12 Aspect D: Evaluate 64% 63% StrengthQ13 Sources and 62% InformationQ14 Aspect E: Recognize 53% 40.5% MostQ15 how to use 28% Weakness information responsibly, ethically, and legally 14
  • 15. • The students shared similar experiences as ISP model and mentioned that they were uncertain and confused at the initiation and selection stages but gradually found clarity and focus after formulating topics with useful information• The zone of intervention undertaken by teacher is insufficient. There are rooms for improvement such as enhancing information literacy training, strengthening the collaboration between librarian and subject teacher, and providing more library resources support 15
  • 16. • This study found that the students need to gear up their information literacy to a higher level• The students are good at identifying potential sources but they are weak in using information ethically. It is necessary to increase students’ awareness and knowledge of plagiarism• Based on the findings of this study, the educators can design appropriate trainings to students to empower their information literacy, which is one of the essential skills of education in the 21st century 16
  • 17. American Library Association(ALA). (1989). Presidential Committee onInformation Literacy: Final Report. Chicago, IL:ALA.Burhanna, K.J., & Jensen, M.L. (2006). Collaboration for Success: HighSchool to College Transitions. Reference Services Review, 34(4), 509-519.Education and Manpower Bureau. (2005). Information Literacy Frameworkfor Hong Kong Students: Building the Capacity of Learning to Learn in theInformation Age. Retrieved 23 April, 2012, fromhttp://www.edb.gov.hk/FileManager/EN/Content_7010/public%20(eng_finial_version).pdfJohnston, B., & Webber, S. (2003). Information Literacy in Higher Education:A Review and Case Study. Studies in Higher Education, 28(3), 335-352. 17
  • 18. Kuhlthau, C.C. (2004a). Information Search Process Retrieved 2 April, 2012,fromhttp://comminfo.rutgers.edu/~kuhlthau/information_search_process.htmKuhlthau, C.C. (2004b). Seeking Meaning: A Process Approach to Library andInformation Services (2nd ed.). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.Schloman, B.F. & Gedeon, J.A. (2007). Creating TRAILS: Tool for Real-TimeAssessment of Information Literacy Skills. Knowledge Quest, 35(5), 44-47.SmallSEOTools.com. (2010). What is the Plagiarism Checker? Retrieved 23April, 2012, from http://www.smallseotools.com/plagiarism-checker/TRAILS. (2004). Retrieved 2 April, 2012, from http://www.trails-9.org/Walsh, A. (2009). Information Literacy Assessment: Where do we start?Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 41(1), 19-28. 18