Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2013


Is it possible to administer an information literacy assessment in only a few classes that would provide essential, adequate, data from semester to semester? In a college with a student body of about 2,000, would it be possible to obtain actionable assessment results if only 150 to 200 students were assessed each semester?

This article is the result of the creation and implementation of the information literacy assessment that was launched in the fall of 2009 by Savage Library at Western State College of Colorado (WSC). WSC changed its name to Western State Colorado University on August 1, 2012. The authors of this article, a librarian and a lecturer in English, collaborated closely to embed the information literacy assessment into multiple sections of the second-year writing class required for all Western students. This article presents an overview of the information literacy (IL) assessment and an analysis of the data obtained from the assessment. The article also provides an overview of how to embed IL instruction and IL assessment into the classroom to improve student skills in critical thinking, IL, public speaking, and research and persuasive writing.

Through a specific case study in which IL instruction and assessment was used in multiple sections of the same second year required writing course (COTH 202: Academic Writing and Inquiry), a broader set of implications is suggested for the usefulness and relevancy of the IL assessment in almost any academic course, regardless of the discipline.

One model for how librarians and faculty might collaborate by incorporating IL instruction and assessment in a classroom setting is presented. This particular collaboration resulted in a substantial improvement in student learning outcomes as well as an easy-to-use formative method of assessing and then adjusting IL instruction as it is situated in a required writing course.


This article has been published by the American Library Association: Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), in Reference & User Services Quarterly. The original publication is available online at

Copyright © 2013 RUSA and the authors. All rights reserved.