Tuesday, February 01, 2011

RAILS rubrics

From the University of Kentucky, newly on the RAILS (Rubric Assessment of Information Literacy skills) website, are some rubrics. Rubrics outline what is required to achieve a particular information literacy standard (e.g. for "Constructs effective research strategy" it identifies what would be seen as "emerging", "developing", "proficient" or "distinguished" performance). I think you could also characterise this as a criterion-referenced approach to assessment (in all cases in it a good idea to tell the students what the criteria are, so they know how they are being judged, obviously).
It is interesting to look at the rubrics and compare with one's own teaching e.g. I couldn't adopt the rubrics as they stand, because I leave using using controlled vocabularies until a late stage, but put early emphasis on thinking of different search terms. Also, this rubric just addresses searching (by implication) electronic resources, rather than using a range of sources (such as books or people).
It is very useful to look at the rubrics though, and the authors say "feel free to modify and save a new version of any rubric on the site or upload a new rubric you use with your classes or instruction program."
I was sure I had mentioned RAILS before but I can't seem to find a post about it , so here is general information. RAILS "helps librarians assess student information literacy skills exhibited in "artifacts of student learning" like research papers, presentations, worksheets, portfolios, or reflective journals. Using the AAC&U VALUE rubrics and the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education as starting points, RAILS assists librarians who seek to create campus-specific rubrics, "norm" them for use with multiple raters, and gather results data that inform instructional improvements." It is based at Syracuse University's iSchool, funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services and has several universities (including Kentucky) participating in the 2010-11 cohort. The website is at http://railsontrack.info/
Photo by Sheila Webber: Rails on the Cuckoo walk pathway, Hailsham, January 2011

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