VAASL 2015 - Is My High School Senior Ready to Be Your College Freshman?
Courtney L. Lewis, St. Catherine’s School,
Richmond Twitter: @sassylibr
Is My Senior Ready
To Be Your College
A study of tools and techniques
recommended by colleges and
More than the standard info literacy focus
Why Ask These
• We know. We KNOW.
• Because many of my questions seem to be
about tools, but they are really about skills.
• This knowledge means more to faculty
coming from college librarians working at the
schools our students attend.
• This data is a jumping off point for curricular
changes with teachers, and budget
discussions with administrators.
My Burning Issues
❖ I’m at a new school - why should faculty trust I’m an expert?
❖ Graduates attend a variety of colleges and universities with
which I’m less familiar
❖ Maybe I’m stuck in a rut (i.e. citation styles by department)
and it’s not important
❖ I want to use my budget on tools that will make the biggest
difference in helping students adjust that first year of college
What did I need to
• Web-Scale Discovery Service
• Plagiarism detection software
• Variety of citation styles prior to
• Which databases?
• Citation managers: should we go
• What type of research products
should students know how to
• Institution Name and Location
• What citation manager(s) do you teach or
endorse at your institution?
• Does your institution support a web-scale
discovery service for searching across
databases? If yes, which one?
• If you could pick five databases you wish entering
students knew how to use, what would they be?
My Questions (Cont.)
• Students are asked to produce a variety of products from
their research. With which formats do you think students
need to be familiar?
• Does your college or university use any of the following
plagiarism detection tools?
• What citation styles do you recommend students be
familiar with upon starting college?
• Do you feel that there are any other key information
literacy points or tools that you would like to emphasize to
high school librarians preparing a college-bound audience
❖ I Heart SurveyMonkey!
❖ Post on ACRL InfoLit listserv
❖ Get the last six years of
matriculation data from College
❖ Identified librarian who
specifically worked with first
year students in reference or
instruction; sent personalized
(Source: US News & World Reports)
• 11 Most Selective
• 26 More Selective
• 25 Selective
• 25 Less Selective
❖ Almost half of less
percent of more and
❖ Selective schools
were most likely to
Web-Scale Discovery Tools
❖ 100% of Most Selective
colleges use one (Summon
edges out Discovery)
❖ 77% of More Selective
schools subscribed (55%
Summon, 25% Discovery)
❖ 82% of Selective schools
use one (43% ExLibris, 26%
❖ 72% of Less Selective
schools subscribe (44%
Discovery, 28% ExLibris)
Citation Styles - MLA, Chicago,
❖ Most Selective and More Selective colleges and universities ranked
familiarity with MLA important at 65%, 41% felt knowledge of APA
important, and 18% felt experience with Chicago/Turabian important.
Thirty-two percent of librarians from these schools felt no particular
style was important.
❖ Selective schools had higher numbers ranking familiarity with a
variety of citations styles more important than most and more
❖ 100% of less selective colleges wanted familiarity with MLA and 79%
felt APA familiarity important. Only 13% of librarians felt
Chicago/Turabian was important.
What Do We Ask Students to
❖ Traditional Humanities Research Paper
❖ Oral Presentation with Visual Aids
❖ Oral Presentation without Visual Aids
❖ Original Scientific Research with Literature Review
❖ Digital Writing Product (blog post, website, video, etc.)
❖ Creative Visual Product (poster, artwork, etc.)
❖ Artistic Performance (dramatic production, dance, musical
Research Products Overall
❖ Traditional humanities
paper - length of
paper and free choice
❖ We ask for oral
visual aid facility - do
we teach it?
Research Product by
❖ Less selective schools closely mirrored the overall results,
with oral report (no visual aids) slightly outranking creative
visual products and digital writing
❖ Selective schools exactly mirror the overall results
❖ More selective schools rank digital writing much higher,
tied with oral report (no visual aids) for third
❖ Most selective schools are consistent with the overall
results but value humanities papers and oral presentations
with visual aids more, and artistic performances the least
❖ 58% use Turnitin, 14%
indicate teachers “have
their own system”
❖ Less selective schools
were more likely to
report use of Turnitin
❖ More selective and
most selective college
faculty objections to
Turnitin (but also noted
the need for these tools)
Free Response Themes
❖ Understand. Ask. Think.
❖ Format is invisible to students.
❖ The number one request? Ask a librarian for help.
❖ That pesky library catalog. They’ll need it!
❖ Skilled searching. Ethical use of information.
❖ Be part of a “community of scholarship”
What Am I Going To Do?
❖ Keep gathering data
❖ Inspire discussion about our
information literacy program
❖ Get a web-scale discovery
service and rethink my
❖ Get Turnitin
❖ Consider cultural change to
have students belong to a
“community of scholars”