Poster presentations as an assessment tool in a third/college-level Information Literacy course: an effective method of measuring student understanding of library research skills

JaNae Kinikin, Keith Hench
2012, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 86-96


This paper examines the impact that poster presentations have had in increasing student knowledge, engagement and interest in learning and understanding library research skills in a college-level, general education information literacy class. Many general education library classes use an annotated bibliography as a summative assessment of students’ learning in the course; however, this type of assessment does not provide a good method to evaluate students’ knowledge of research skills. In place of this bibliography a poster session was used to evaluate and assess student understanding of library research skills. The poster presentations allow the instructor to evaluate how the students applied their library research skills to locate information to answer research questions. Additionally, the presentations provide the students with the opportunity to share what they have learned with their classmates and invited guests and to learn more about each other’s topics.

More than 100 students have had the opportunity to present a poster and to share what they have learned. The poster consists of a summary of what was learned about the research question, reasons why the question was chosen and three citations. Students have commented that they have enjoyed the experience of learning more about their selected research topics and sharing what they have learned with their classmates. Researching a topic of interest to the student results in greater understanding and more interest in learning and using library research skills. The poster presentation helps students make a stronger connection between the skills required to find the information and their ability to communicate what they have learned about their research question. When designing information literacy programs, poster presentations showcasing the students’ research process should be considered as an alternative form of assessment that can be used to evaluate student learning in a general education library skills class. Additionally, a poster presentation assessment addresses Standards 1 through 5 of the ACRL (Association of College & Research Libraries) Information literacy competency standards for higher education and demonstrates the students’ ability to meet the course learning objectives.

This article is based on a paper presented at LILAC 2012.


poster presentation, information literacy, library skills, assessment

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