ERIC Number: EJ826452
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Reference Count: 23
Choosing Assessments that Matter
Abilock, Debbie, Ed.
Knowledge Quest, v35 n5 p8-12 May-Jun 2007
Professionally, school librarians are faced with an explosion of choices--search engines, online catalogs, media types, subscription databases, and Web tools--all requiring scrutiny, evaluation, and selection. In turn, this support "stuff" forms a basis for making additional choices about how and what they teach and what they assess. Whereas once school librarians would ask "whether" evaluating students was appropriate to their role, now many are intent on learning "how" and "which" evaluations and assessments to use, as well as "what" to assess and "why", and feeling less satisfied with their final decisions. In recent years, in the face of pressure to document the value of the library's program to faculty and administration, to gain credibility with students and parents, and even to improve the attractiveness of graduating seniors in a highly competitive admissions process, some school librarians have chosen standardized information literacy evaluation instruments. They turn to these tests to help them systematically evaluate student growth, improve the library's program, and compare their students' performance against that of other students in similar institutions. Given the difficulty that people encountered when selecting from an array of jams, school librarians are also wondering how they will ever be able to choose from a cornucopia of evaluation tools. Whether librarians choose formative (ongoing) or summative (end-state) assessments, the author asserts that the key is backwards design (Wiggins and McTighe 2005), in which the type of assessment is matched to the kind of knowledge being assessed. Here, the author stresses that in certain cases, school librarians must decide to satisfice because "the goal of maximizing . . . can make people miserable--especially in a world that insists on providing an overwhelming number of choices, both trivial and not so trivial" (Schwartz 2004). In choosing assessments, the author suggests to read widely beyond the professional literature and experiment. Then pick only a few goals and match the assessment to them.
Descriptors: Information Literacy, Library Services, School Libraries, Library Role, Library Research, Use Studies, Evaluation Methods, Evaluation Research, Program Evaluation, User Satisfaction (Information), Self Evaluation (Groups), Scoring Rubrics
American Association of School Librarians. Available from: American Library Association. 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611. Tel: 1-800-545-2433; Web site: http://www.ala.org/aasl/kqweb
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Adult Education; Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A