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Hal Loewen (Librarian): PT 7500 Acceptable Evidence

Validity and Reliability of Assessment

How does the assessment tie back to the desired results (understandings, knowledge, skills, and values)?
If the desired result is for learners to...

(Enduring Understandings) understand...

  • that research is iterative and depends upon asking increasingly complex or new questions (Research as Inquiry)
  • that searching for information is often nonlinear and iterative, requires evaluation of a range of information, and requires mental flexibility to understand that searching can be complex  (Searching as Strategic Exploration)

(Essential Questions) thoughtfully consider the questions...

  • what are the different types of information resources to use depending on the question being asked (background and foreground questions).
  • what are the different databases that are available to them and how the information contained in them may be unique to that database.
  • what is the essential question that needs to be answered that stems from the more complex information need.
  • what type of filters can be used to find the results that match their research need.
  • has the student considered all the possible ways in which to express a concept or research question.

(Knowledge/Skills/Values) know... be able to... value...

  • formulate questions for research based on information gaps or on reexamination of existing, possibly conflicting, information (Research as Inquiry)
  • determine an appropriate scope of investigation (Research as Inquiry)
  • deal with complex research by breaking complex questions into simple ones, limiting the scope of investigations (Research as Inquiry)
  • use various research methods, based on need, circumstance, and type of inquiry (Research as Inquiry)
  • organize information in meaningful ways (Research as Inquiry)
  • synthesize ideas gathered from multiple sources (Research as Inquiry)
  • determine the initial scope of the task required to meet their information needs (Searching as Strategic Exploration)
  • utilize divergent (e.g., brainstorming) and convergent (e.g., selecting the best source) thinking when searching (Searching as Strategic Exploration)
  • match information needs and search strategies to appropriate search tools (Searching as Strategic Exploration)
  • design and refine needs and search strategies as necessary, based on search results (Searching as Strategic Exploration)
  • understand how information systems (i.e., collections of recorded information) are organized in order to access relevant information (Searching as Strategic Exploration)
  • use different types of searching language (e.g., controlled vocabulary, keywords, natural language) appropriately (Searching as Strategic Exploration)
  • manage searching processes and results effectively (Searching as Strategic Exploration)

Then you need evidence of the student's ability to...

  • identify and access information sources when there appears that there is no access or a lack of apparent information resources 
  • show the ability to evaluate and change their search strategies until the desired results are achieved when their initial attempts yield unsatisfactory results
  • demonstrate the ability to select the best resource in which to answer their question, both simple and complete
  • to deconstruct a complex question into its simplest form
  • select the filter that can be used to find information based on the best evidence available
  • identify synonyms and other terms that equally express the different concepts in their question
  • describe how the different Boolean operators work in searching and apply those strategies in their searches

That suggests the need for specific tasks or tests like...

  • using live, online response technology in which to answer questions posed during the lecture/lab
  • fill out worksheets during the lecture/lab to give them a better understanding of how the concepts of searching work, as well as how the assignment also works
  • give feedback on the student's search methodologies


The templates used come from:

Baer, A., Johnson, B., Matts-Benson, L. (2017, December). "Engaging with ACRL Framework: A Catalyst for Exploring and Expanding Teaching Practices." Chicago: American Library Association

The material for the templates is made available through CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0 

Content created by H. Loewen