Alterna(ve Assessments to Develop Informa(on Literacy
Dr Katherine J. Haxton
firstname.lastname@example.org @kjhaxton School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Keele University
“To be information literate, a person must be able to recognise when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed
Ensuring our graduates have the ability to evaluate informa(on as being ‘fake’ or ‘authen(c’ seems more important than ever in the An#-Expert Brexit Trumpian Era. Informa(on literacy can be thought
of as a key transferrable skill and in it’s development, provide opportunity to gain a wide range of other transferrable skills such as wriLen and oral communica(on, (me management and the ability to
interact with other people, a key requirement of RSC accredita(on.2 By selec(ng ‘non-tradi(onal’ assessment formats such as infographics, screencast presenta(ons, magazine ar(cles and group
projects, students can develop these skills while researching topics of personal interest as well as relevance to the programme of study. Giving students more control over the topic and nature of
assessment can lead to greater engagement with the task and greater aLainment. For more informa+on: bit.ly/AltAssess
Further Informa+on: the modular system has been exploited to full advantage to create a sequence of assessments across three years and
four semesters to develop wriLen, oral and graphical presenta(on skills, and informa(on literacy. In 1st year, students are encouraged to
cri(que their use of informa(on, par(cularly that found online, and engage with scien(ﬁc journal ar(cles. Assessment involves the crea(on
of short reports iden(fying and correc(ng incorrect chemical informa(on on the Internet, iden(fying the key components of every day
items, an essay wriLen in the style of an Educa(on in Chemistry ar(cle, and a screencast presenta(on. Each assignment builds on the
previous, and use of feed-forward is required. A group project in 2nd year includes group presenta(ons and a business-oriented report, then
an infographic in 3rd year allows students to engage with key concepts related to their course and focus on summarising informa(on
graphically. These assessments follow on from one another with common values around referencing, presenta(on and wri(ng style and
show how alterna(ve assessment styles can successfully be embedded throughout a Chemistry Curriculum.
1. American Library Associa(on (ALA) Presiden(al CommiLee on Informa(on Literacy (1989)
Online. Available at: hLp://www.ala.org/acrl/publica(ons/whitepapers/presiden(al [Accessed
2. Royal Society of Chemistry Accredita(on Requirements Available at:
%20update%20july%2017_tcm18-151306.pdf [Accessed 08/17]
3. Johnston &Webber, 2003. Informa(on literacy in higher educa(on: A review and case study.
Studies in Higher Educa(on, 28 (3), 335–352.
4. Waller & Schultz, 2005, How to Succeed at university in GGEES disciplines. Available at:
*Addi+onal Material: If you’d like to know more about these assignments,
please visit: bit.ly/AltAssess
Informa+on Literacy Step3,4 Skills Developed
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Someone was wrong
on the internet*
What Am I?
IDENTIFY the need for informa(on and deﬁne the type of
informa(on that would be most suitable.
Analyse the assessment brief The assessment brief (wriLen, or in-person presenta(on, or screencast) outlines the guidelines and marking criteria. Students use this to
deﬁne the types of informa(on required to complete the task in the required format.
LOCATE informa(on using appropriate search engines and
specialist databases and screening to determine whether
access to the source is available. A common pilall is to exclude
older sources, and sources not readily available online.
Search strategies Search Engine,
Search Engine, Web
of Science, Google
Web of Science/
Assessing reliability to
determine best sources
journals various various various journals
ACQUIRE that informa(on in digital or ‘dead-tree’ format from
libraries, online repositories, and publishers
web publisher websites,
EVALUATE the informa(on is essen(al to verify the quality of
the source and it’s relevance to the task in hand.
Repor(ng Informa(on X X X
Summarising informa(on X X X X
Cri(quing informa(on X X X
Genera(ng New Ideas X X X
APPLY the informa(on to complete the task. This includes
synthesisng the informa(on into a wriLen output, analysing
and represen(ng the informa(on in graphical forms, and using
speciﬁc sooware to deliver the assigned task.
Graphical Presenta(on Skills Chemical Structure
Slides/Visual Aids Figures Slides/Visual Aids Chemical Structure
Oral Presenta(on Skills Individual Group
WriLen Presenta(on Skills Report X Magazine ar(cles Report
ACKNOWLEDGE the source of the informa(on using an
appropriate referencing system.
Recommended format is the RSC Vancouver style. All images, videos, sounds unless created by the student to be properly acknowledged
and awareness of copyright/public domain/crea(ve commons licenses demonstrated