Community College Composition Faculty in Information Literacy Assessment: A Qualitative Phenomenological Exploration

Community College Composition Faculty in Information Literacy Assessment: A Qualitative Phenomenological Exploration

Author: 
Elisa C. Roberson
Program of study: 
Ph.D./HEA
Abstract: 
The need for information literacy proficiency assessment is increasing in higher education. Information literacy is a competency that reflects the ability to know, find, evaluate, use, and ethically manage sources of information. Community college composition faculty attempted to identify strategies for assessment of this proficiency. Higher education faculty and administrators are attentive to information literacy standards which has caused a need for demonstrated assessment artifacts that reflects direct skills assessment. The community college composition faculty perceptions and lived experiences was studied to understand information literacy assessment from the subjects’ point of view. This qualitative research used phenomenological design. Purposeful, typical sampling was used to identify Participants for this research. Face-toface, one-on-one interviews were conducted with 15 community college composition faculty who assess information literacy. NVivo was used for qualitative analysis of the data. Five themes emerged: instruction and assessment of IL requires standard terms and methods; composition IL assessment has increased in response to the formal institutional assessment process; institutional assessment of IL reported student proficiency; strength of administrative support of IL assessment advanced proficiency for community college composition; and institutional assessment of IL revealed proficiency differences between specific student populations. Faculty found that 373 students from 34 community college composition sections were given a 50 question multiple choice post-test on information literacy and the average end-of-semester student score was 75%. Future research recommendations involve developmental students, ESL students, and application of information literacy rubrics to interdisciplinary writing intensive courses.
Dedication: 
I dedicate the work presented in this study to my wise, loving, and peaceful husband, Erriel. The e-n-c-o-u-r-a-g-e-m-e-n-t of my supportive, patient, cheerful children, Nandi, Jair, and Asa has kept me moving forward in the face of this daunting task. They kept telling me that they will be proud to have another doctor in the house soon. My parents and siblings gave me strength to pursue this lifelong goal, I hope that my efforts honor each of their incredible gifts that they have poured into my life. Finally to my hero, Frieda, I can still feel you here with me every step of the way and I hope that I have made you proud.
Acknowledgements: 
Throughout this dissertation journey I have heard a particular song in my head. It was sung by the character Dory in the animated movie, Finding Nemo, “just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.” Arduous is the only word that typifies this process, but the faith-filled, expectant prayers of family and friends made me feel indefatigable, even during the toughest hours. By God’s grace I was blessed to find my mentor and chair, Dr. Leah Hollis, who affirmed my efforts and urged me forward. Surely she became weary after answering the same questions over and over again, but she did not lose hope in my ability. Thank you to my committee members, Dr. Kimberly Lockwood and Dr. Jean Svacina, both of whom significantly contributed to the direction that my work would take. Finally, thank you to my collegian allies, Dr. Tara Hart who aided me in formulating my initial ideas for this project, Dr. Patty Remoy who continuously reminded me that I could “get this dissertation done”, Ms. Susan Hellenbrand and Dr. Jay Alperson, the real wizards behind the curtain in Oz…sincerest thanks.