Assessment of Information Literacy and Its Relationship With Learning Outcomes

Assessment of Information Literacy and Its Relationship With Learning Outcomes

Fernando Martínez-Abad (University of Salamanca, Spain), Patricia Torrijos-Fincias (University of Salamanca, Spain), Adriana Gamazo (University of Salamanca, Spain) and María José Rodríguez Conde (University of Salamanca, Spain)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4944-4.ch001


The global integration of competence-based education and training systems and the search for a generalized common framework for the incorporation of key competences in the curriculums of national education systems have generated a growing need for information literacy as a way of advancing to the awaited knowledge society. Large-scale assessments of student performance present criterion variables such as language, mathematics, or science, but it is noticeable how these assessments leave aside contents from other key competences such as information literacy. This chapter shows a theoretical approach to the subject and an example of an empirical study that aims to shed some light to the topic of information literacy by analysing the relationship between the level of information literacy shown by a student and their academic performance in subjects such as language and mathematics. The results suggest that it is possible to develop an instrument for the assessment of the complex information literacy competence, and which is also easy to administer in the classroom.
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Our current society is shaped by the use of Information and Communication Technologies (Castells, 1999), and citizens strive to move from an Information Society to a Knowledge Society (Area Moreira, 2001; Cassity & Ang, 2006; Cebrián Herreros, 2009; García_Peñalvo, 2014; Valimaa & Hoffman, 2008). Within this framework, new educational needs arise in all sectors of society, and these needs are mainly related to the adaptation and utilization of this new environment rich in information (Diehm & Lupton, 2012; Grizzle, Wilson, & UNESCO, 2011; Pinto Molina, Cordón, & Díaz, 2010; Price, Becker, Clark, & Collins, 2011), aiming to put up barriers to the so-called information overload or infoglut (Jarson & Taub-Pervizpour, 2015; Levitin, 2014; Zelder, 2009).

These emerging skills and knowledge related to the handling and treatment of information, especially in the digital field, are initially referred to within the field of information science (specifically the area of library science) as ‘Information Literacy’ (ALA/ACRL, 2000; Andretta, 2007; Bruce, 1997; Bundy, 1998). In the first few years of the new millennium, in which the development of the concept thrived, information literacy is understood as the set of key competences that every citizen must acquire in order to properly handle themselves within the information society, and it is emphasized that the experts in charge of its transmission and development should be librarians and information professionals. However, the limitations and determinants of the concept of literacy in the field of education, along with the significance that digital competences and information literacy have achieved in a few years, lead to a reconceptualization of the term, which starts to be known in the field of Educational Sciences as ‘Information Skills’ (Area Moreira, 2010; Bielba Calvo, Martinez-Abad, & Herrera García, 2014; García-Peñalvo, 2017;Martínez Abad, Olmos Migueláñez, & Rodríguez Conde, 2015; Rodríguez Conde, Olmos Migueláñez, & Martínez Abad, 2013). Thus, the name information skills provides the state of the art with a more educational, specific and definite approach to the term, overcoming the difficulties and biases related to the term ‘literacy’ (Cope & Kalantzis, 2009; Freire, 1981; Freire & Macedo, 1987; Lankshear & knobel, 2008; Wagner, 1998).

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