Best methods for evaluating educational impact: a comparison of the efficacy of commonly used measures of library instruction

J Med Libr Assoc. 2012 Oct;100(4):258-69. doi: 10.3163/1536-5050.100.4.007.


Objectives and background: Libraries are increasingly called upon to demonstrate student learning outcomes and the tangible benefits of library educational programs. This study reviewed and compared the efficacy of traditionally used measures for assessing library instruction, examining the benefits and drawbacks of assessment measures and exploring the extent to which knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors actually paralleled demonstrated skill levels.

Methods: An overview of recent literature on the evaluation of information literacy education addressed these questions: (1) What evaluation measures are commonly used for evaluating library instruction? (2) What are the pros and cons of popular evaluation measures? (3) What are the relationships between measures of skills versus measures of attitudes and behavior? Research outcomes were used to identify relationships between measures of attitudes, behaviors, and skills, which are typically gathered via attitudinal surveys, written skills tests, or graded exercises.

Results and conclusions: Results provide useful information about the efficacy of instructional evaluation methods, including showing significant disparities between attitudes, skills, and information usage behaviors. This information can be used by librarians to implement the most appropriate evaluation methods for measuring important variables that accurately demonstrate students' attitudes, behaviors, or skills.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Computer-Assisted Instruction / methods*
  • Curriculum
  • Educational Measurement / methods
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / methods*
  • Information Storage and Retrieval / methods*
  • Librarians
  • Libraries, Medical / organization & administration*
  • Library Science / education*
  • Professional Role
  • Teaching / methods*
  • United States