by Dominique Turnbow
Since many librarians do one-shot instruction, I thought it might be useful to focus on Level 2 assessment techniques that you can use in this unique environment. Due to the limited amount of time I have with students in a one-shot session, I try to include activities that provide an opportunity for formative assessment, rather than focus on summative assessment.
Two of my favorite ways to do formative assessment is using open-ended response systems or think-pair share. A search of library instruction literature will reveal many more ideas. I want this to be a collaborative list so please add your ideas in the comments.
Open-Ended Response Systems (including clickers)
Use open-ended response systems to get an idea of what students understand so you can address misunderstandings during the workshop.
- EDUCAUSE 7 Things You Should Know About…
- EDUCAUSE Review: Clicker Implementation Models
- Vanderbuilt University Center for Teaching (provides descriptions of the types of questions and activities)
- Occasional paper by Erping Zhu from the University of Michigan Center for Research on Teaching and Learning (includes recommendations for using clickers)
Use think-pair-share to guide a discussion and allow students to learn from one another. This method allows students to consider their own response to question or problem, then share it with a peer and their class.
- Think-Pair-Share overview from the National Science Digital Library
A note about pre- and post-tests
Many people like to use pre- and post tests as a quick way of assessing what their students have learned during a one-shot session. Given that information literacy skills are complex, often including a combination of concepts and principles, I am not an advocate of this method. One needs time to practice information literacy skills, more than once, before s/he to truly learn them. I don’t believe that most people are able to master these skills during a short workshop, nor should they be expected to. At best they can recall facts and processes presented. It is not realistic to expect students to be able to use the skills in the ways that we would hope an information literate student would. It could possibly take the course of their undergraduate education to become information literate as they would be presented with multiple opportunities to practice research through their coursework. Students must be given sufficient time to put learning into practice before being assessed. Therefore, all a pre- and post-test during a one-shot can measure is one’s ability to recall information; it shouldn’t measure how well they can perform the skills. It is much more useful to use formative assessment techniques to check students’ understanding of material being presented during the instruction session. It allows students to engage with the material and the instructor an opportunity to correct misunderstandings.My opinion about pre- and post-tests is grounded by instructional design approaches, including work by Ruth Clark. I highly recommend her work to those interested in learning more about practical implications of educational research.