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How do we ensure that DHS students graduate 
with the information literacy/technology skills 
needed to be successful after high school?  


At the beginning of the 2006-2007 school year, DHS librarians began discussing the need to integrate information literacy skills into the curriculum.  The need was determined by:

    • Observations of students struggling with the research process
    • Teachers requesting information literacy skills be taught
    • Teachers asking for help in investigating plagiarism cases
    • Teachers expressing frustration with students’ bibliographies/works cited pages

Informal discussions occurred between the library director and other department chairs about integrating information literacy skills into the curriculum.  The library director and librarians decided to pursue the topic for their inquiry question, resulting in the question, “How do we ensure that DHS students graduate with the information literacy/technology skills needed to be successful after high school?"           

    Following actions included:

    • December – May - Conducted a literature review
    • February - met with Sheila Shifrin and Karen Davis from District 109. 
    • March - Spoke with the elementary librarian at Holy Cross School.
    • March - Administrated an online survey to some freshman and seniors classes.
    • March - Collected and analyzed Works Cited pages.

The results of thiswork provided more evidence that a school-wide information literacy program was needed. The Library Director presented the work to the Building Administration Team and was given approval to form a committee to investigate solutions to the question.  Committee volunteers included classroom teachers, department chairs and building administrators. The first committee meeting was held in April 2007. 


DHS Information Literacy Standards and Targets AASL 21st Century Standards  ACRL (College) Standards
Skills Needed by Incoming Freshmen 2009-2010 Freshman Advisory Survey ACRL Standards Chart for Seniors
  2009-2010 Freshman Advisory Survey Supplement

Timeline and Meeting Notes

2006 April Meeting

Introductory PowerPoint Presentation


The librarians presented their work from the fall and winter.  Committee members read articles and discussed definitions of information literacy and connections to their curriculum.  Summer workshop meetings were set and committee members were asked to encourage department colleagues to complete the Information Literacy and Technology Survey.

2007 June 8 Summer Workshop


Committee Members Present: Lucy Kempton, Laurie Williams, Lou Ann Erikson, Ryan Rockaitis, Marc Pechter, Judi Luepke, Tony Peters, Matthew Armfield, Shari Kellogg, Emily Kadel, Pam Tyler, Ken Williams, Julie Blanche

Also present: Sheila Shifrin, Caruso Middle School, District 109, Denise Shorey, Head, Reference Department, Northwestern University
Sheila and Denise are also interested in creating an information literacy program at their schools and are willing to help us in our work at DHS.

1.  Sheila shared that:

  • Currently, District 109 does not consistently teach information literacy/technology skills to students. At Caruso Middle School, 8th grade students are assigned a research project and are required to evaluate Free Internet sites.
  • Shepard Middle School students are assigned a research project in 7th grade and may have forgotten skills by 9th grade.
  • Seminar students are not taught any research skills by librarians - it may be happening with classroom teachers.
  • Librarians hear teachers say that students already know how to research and do not need formal instruction.
  • District 109 is currently exploring two research models.
  • It would be helpful to have a list of skills needed by incoming freshman.

2.   Denise shared that skills lacking in many incoming freshman at Northwestern include:

  • Understanding how information is organized and how to search efficiently for it.
  • Knowing how to determine the appropriate resource to meet their needs.  It is appropriate to use an encyclopedia if it meets their needs. 
  • To be willing to use print and non-print materials.  Understand that information exists in different places and formats.
  • Asking for assistance.  They need to recognize when they do not know something.  Asking for assistance is not an admission of weakness. 
  • Understanding that librarians, even at the college level, are there to help and empower them.
  • Understanding plagiarism.
  • Knowing the difference between a database and a catalog.
  • Remembering simple technology musts:  saving work often, etc.
  • Knowing how to use intext citations.
  • Understanding how to analyze information instead of cutting and pasting.  Be able to create their own information after reading information created by others.

3. Information Literacy Standards were reviewed.  Department representatives shared connections between the standards and department safety nets.  While implied connections could be made in most departments, only the Social Studies Department had explicit language related to information literacy skills.  The committee agreed that we should talk with department chairs and colleagues about including more specific language regarding information literacy/technology skills in safety nets.

4.  Some skills that are currently being taught or should be taught at DHS are:

  • Be able to use technology after high school/college for their own betterment. (Health)
  • Be able to research the relevance of everyday connections to science. (Science)
  • Apply research skills to real life situations.
  • Integrate information effectively.
  • Understand how to take information and apply it. (Math)
  • Notetaking.
  • Outlining.
  • How to eliminate copy-and-pasting.
  • Gather information effectively.  What search tools to use.
  • Using MLA and APA styles to create bibliographic citations.

5. Brainstorming session.

  • What is currently being taught in all departments?  Repetition is ok and necessary.
  • How do we balance teacher autonomy with the need to integrate these skills throughout the curriculum?  Should we work through teams such as the Freshman English team?
  • Colleges are being asked to show outcomes.  Where are the skills being taught?
  • All teachers should be required to understand and teach information literacy/technology skills.
  • AP, Honors and Special Education courses need to be a part of this endeavor.
  • We believe that students of all ability levels can master these skills.
  • We believe that this is important and necessary.
  • What information literacy/technology skills do our students need to be life-long learners?
  • What assessment tools will be used?
  • How will we integrate skills during summer school?

5.  Possible Next Steps

  • Freshman teachers who are on the committee will seek ways to work with librarians to integrate information literacy/technology skills into their curriculum.
  • Talk to other teachers.
  • Listen to other teachers.
  • Talk to Elaine Winer about Staff Development.
  • Look at Safety Nets.
  • Have a fall meeting during the middle of September.
  • Give out the survey again to people who did not return it.
  • Apply for Project Teach money to find work time.
  • Analyze the surveys.
  • Create a calendar of freshman projects.
  • Look at core freshman classes.




2007 October 2 and October 22 Meetings


Survey Results

  • 14/14 Science teachers teach Excel
  • Email etiquette should be included in skills
  • Pleasantly surprised by the number of people reporting that they are teaching information literacy skills.
  • We were surprised at the number of people who use Podcasting and UTube
  • The staff development replies will be useful in the future.
  • The number of people replying to technology questions was significantly lower than the number who replied to the information literacy questions.
  • Information Literacy Models from other States

  • Wisconsin Academic Standards
    • Likes
      • Connected to Big Six Research Model
      • Includes note taking skills, getting familiar with the library
      • Includes evaluating the product and the research process
      • Differentiates between grade levels
      • Offers a sense of milestones
      • Good examples
    • Dislikes
      • Too much “big picture”
      • Too long
      • Too wordy
      • Not broken down by year
      • Does not show progression
      • What are the intermediate steps?
  • Nebraska Student Competencies in Technology
    • Likes
      • Layout
      • Examples
    • Dislikes
      • Examples should be in lists
      • No standards
      • Examples of performance in K-2 & 6-8
      • All of 9-12 is lumped together
  • Colorado Students Achieve Power
    • Likes
      • Aligned with specific subjects – makes it easy to enter the work
      • Good assessment guidelines
      • Connected to standards
      • Clear rationale
      • User friendly for teachers
    • Dislikes
      • Does not connect to grade levels
      • No mention of technology
  • New York Library Media Skills
    • Likes
      • Represents learning from the perspective of a student.
      • All kids are not in the same place at the same time.
      • Allows for repetition.
      • Fluid.
      • Help teachers decided what to focus on.
      • Easy to compare to the curriculum.
      • Progression is smooth.
    • Dislikes
      • Not enough depth
      • Formatting makes it difficult to read.
  • General Discussion

    • Feeder schools are not consistent.  Caruso Middle School is participating in a study through Syracuse University on “what they think they know vs. what they actually know."
    • Staff may not know what they need.
    • Are we (teachers) making assumptions about what students already know?
    • We need to collect evidence to show that it “sticks.”
    • Are teachers assuming that all kids are tech-savvy?
    • Social Studies places a heavy emphasis on research skills in their safety net.  While that is commendable, we believe that information literacy/technology skills should be owned by the building.
    • Is it possible to include some skills in Advisory?
    • Challenges with offering technology staff development include the schedule, lack of people showing up.  Could we have another technology field trip?
    • Should we have a skill audit every year for students?
    • Should we have a skill audit for staff?




2007 December 10 Meeting

  • Review – How do we ensure that DHS students graduate with the information literacy (and technology) skills needed to be successful after high school?
    • General Timeline: 1st year – list skills, get feedback from other stakeholders, BAM, departments etc.
    • After listing skills, we will plan the implementation – where the skills will fit into the curriculum, staff development, etc. Probably second year.
    • Questions? – Will departments have an opportunity to look at skills and where they are already taught in the curriculum?  Answer: The first step will be the departments looking at the list to see if the list is ok.  Then, the next step will be how they fit into the curriculum.
  • Big Six Workshop attended by the librarians.
    • Many schools use this.  District 109 is thinking of adding Big 6 or another model.  (The Caruso Librarian, Shelia was in attendance.  Later in the meeting she mentioned the other model - Independent Investigation Method (IIM)
    • Best way to ensure students are information literate is to integrate it completely into the curriculum.
    • Correct, consistent language teaches kids how to use information better.
    • Change wording from the model to fit schools specific needs.
    • Marisa – Big 6 can be connected to anything.  Facilitator used the problem of “Does this girl like me” as a problem that could utilize the Big 6.
    • Lucy – It’s a problem solving process.
  • Small Groups
  • Share with the entire group.  Summarize the standard and share challenges and connections you found as you worked with it.  

  • Small Group 1 – Access

  • Challenges & Connections

    • How specific should the skills be?

    • What comes before task definition?

    • How do we know this is happening?  How do we assess?

    • How do you demonstrate?

    • Focus group? – Record student actually going through the process and speaking out loud his/her steps to the answer.

  • Small Group 2 – Evaluate

  • Challenges & Connections

  •  Pretty straightforward.

  • How do you differentiate between – access, evaluative and use?

  • Brainstormed from other national and state lists was good.

  • Software – Turn-it-In was discussed

  • Small Group 3 – Use

  • Challenges & Connections

  •  Did some of our benchmarks overlap others?

  • How do we differentiate between – access, evaluative and use?

  • Going back to the Big 6 model a lot.

  • Many of these are higher level skills – are students capable of doing this?

  •  Many times teachers stress this standard more than others.

  • Small Group 4 – Technology

  • Challenges & Connections

  • Discussed National Educational Technology Standards

  • It’s not just about equipment and applications i.e. “apply existing knowledge.”

  • Technology can facilitate the process but not an island unto itself.   Must know how to use, evaluate, etc.

  • What do students really know?

  • What does teacher do in class?

  • Technology changes so much – sometimes by the time a school secures money for the technology, the technology has changed.

  • Need to do both well – Research and Information Fluency

  • Project Teach
  • Lucy has applied for Project Teach money to help with meeting times.

  • This will allow for small group meetings in Jan. /Feb.

  • The next large group meeting will be in March.  

  • Information Committee
  • Is this work “on the radar” at DHS?

  • No, for the most part it is not.  The survey at the end of the year brought some questions then, nothing else has been mentioned.

  •  Lauren – Maybe the committee members should bring up the work we are doing in the Information Literacy Committee in a general way during their Department meetings.





2008 February/March Small Group Meetings

Project Teach money was used to allow committee members to meet during the school day.  Standards and objectives were finalized.  Skills for entering freshmen were identified.




2008 Summer Workshop

  • Participants:  Lucy Kempton, Marisa Fiorito, Laurie Williams, and Hillary Quagliana.  The information literacy standards and technology standards were merged into one document. 
  • A draft version of an assessment instrument was created to administer to all incoming freshmen during the fall of 2008.
  • A list of tasks and questions for 2008-2009 was created.
  • Finish the survey.  Consider giving it online.  Schedule time in Freshman Advisory for the survey.
  • Recruit new member from the math department.
  • Share targets/objectives with BAM.  Ask for feedback from departments.
  • Survey seniors.
  • Make connections with all feeder schools.
  • Review skills expected of incoming freshmen.
  • Create staff development opportunities
    • Workshop topics
      • Creating plagiarism-proof assignments or how to stop them from using their brother’s paper
      • Analyzing information literacy rubrics- for process and product
      • What can the librarians do for you or help to make the research projects not so much work for you….New or improved assignments. Organization to make research projects “easier.”
      • Big Six (can we get a speaker)
    • Create a fun activity using data from student survey
    • Locate teachers who can give workshops
    • Summer workshops, late starts, inservice time
    • 2008-2009 focus on late starts, faculty meetings.
    • Summer of 2009 workshop
    • 2009-2010 After school workshops?
    • Explore Turn-It-In
  • How do we include Special Education students?
  • What classes do all kids take?
  • What about summer school?  What are differences between taking classes during the semester and during summer school?  How do we integrate the skills during summer school?
  • Information Literacy Program assessment.
  • Ideas for 2008-2009 First Committee Meeting

    • Late September or early October
    • Bring results from Advisory Survey
    • Share merged standards
    • Bring BAM feedback
    • Plan for faculty meeting




2008 October 6 Meeting

Document review and discussion

  • Freshman Advisory Survey - Students seem concerned about giving the right answer and are uncomfortable with saying that they are a nonuser or don’t know the answer.

  • Standards – the Information Literacy Standards and Technology Standards were merged into one document.

  • Department Feedback Form – The World Language Department is the only one to finish so far.  Departments are struggling with completing the form. Laurie, Marisa and Lucy offered to attend department meetings to help with the work.  It was suggested that teachers be given more information about our work and why the information from departments is needed.  Conversations need to be expanded with departments and teachers.

Te Tentative timeline – we agreed to begin integrating skills into the curriculum for either freshman classes or perhaps freshman and sophomore classes in the fall of 2009.

  • Staff development – Laurie, Lucy and Marisa are teaching an E credit workshop this fall.  Janell will support other staff development opportunities in the spring and summer.  Do we focus on teachers of freshmen?  Teachers of core classes?  We will continue discussing staff development offerings.

  • Committee members signed up for small work groups.

o   Changing to “target” language  (Janell will help with this) – Tracy Boland

o   Analyzing advisory surveys – Ken Williams, Emily Kadel

o   Analyzing departmental feedback – Miriam Pike, Lou Ann Erikson, Judi Luepke

o   Explore integrating skills into Freshman Advisory – Kurt Tenopir, Andy Zakszeski, Frank Szuch, Ryan Rockaitis

  • Questions, discussions

o   Could we offer some type of accreditation to students that will go on their transcript?

o   Portfolios could showcase students’ information literacy and technology skills.






Drafts of DHS Skills from Small Group Work in November and December

Group 1 - Standard One:  The student who is information literate accesses information efficiently and effectively.

  • Recognize that school and personal related questions can be answered in libraries.

  • Know that all libraries have an organizational scheme and it is necessary to understand it.

  • Understand how to search by author, subject, keyword, title and Boolean searching.

  • Develop a search plan by indentifying potential resources.

  • Know how to use an online catalog.

  • Know how to retrieve print materials from DHS and other libraries.

  • Task definition? What do I already know?  What information am I missing?

  • Formulate research questions or subtopics.

  • Develop a list of keyword synonyms.

  • Determine the quantity of information needed.

  • How to find the information within sources, i.e. table of contents, index, glossaries, etc.

  • Determine the variety of potential sources (give examples)

  • Matching the source to the task.  Understand when to use general or specialized reference tools.

  • Understand the difference between information formats such as print, Free Internet and purchased online databases.

  • Know the difference between primary vs. secondary sources?

  • Re-analyze search strategies as success or failure is experienced.

  • Know how to keep a record of research (research log)

  • Understand when it is necessary to seek human resources for help.

Group 2 - Standard Two: The student who is information literate evaluates information critically and competently.

  • Examines and compares information from various sources.
  •  Distinguishes between fact and opinion.
  • Identifies inaccurate and misleading information.
  • Distinguishes point of view, perspective and bias.
  • Selects information appropriate to the problem or question at hand.
  • Determines original source.
  • Traces history of the source.
  • Evaluates various sources in order to evaluate reliability, validity, accuracy, authority, timeliness.
  • Recognizes the cultural, political or other context within which the information was created and understands the impact of context on interpreting the information.
  • Understands the importance of an exhaustive search.
  • Uses consciously selected criteria to determine  whether the information contradicts or verifies information used from multiple source formats.
  • Determines probable accuracy by questioning the source of the data, the limitations of the information gathering tools or strategies and the reasonableness of the  conclusions.

Standard 1 or 3 - Students will anticipate the amount of time necessary to conduct the research process.

Additions - Continually revises topics and research strategies as additional information is uncovered.

Group 3 - Standard 3: The student who is information literate uses information accurately and creatively.

  • Apply critical thinking skills to information.

  • Synthesis new ideas, evidence, and prior knowledge to address the problem or question.

  • Draw conclusions and support them with credible evidence.

  • Interpret new information to formulate new ideas which address the question using comparison, evaluations, inference and generalization skills.

  • Organizes information appropriately.

  • Demonstrates understanding of essential ideas by using them effectively.

  • Integrates new information, draws conclusions, connects with prior knowledge.

  • Selects the best format to communicate information.

  • Can use a variety of note taking strategies.

  • Students are prepared to present information in the following formats: visual, written, oral, multi-media.

  • Paraphrase.

  • Prepare a bibliography or list of all sources using the appropriate style manual.

Group 4 - Technology Skills based on NTSE Standards

  • Creativity and innovation.  Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.  Students:

    • apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.

    • Create original works as a means of personal or group expression.

  • Communication and Collaboration.  Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.  Students:

    • interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.

    • students communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.

    • students communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.

  • Research and Information FluencyStudents apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.  Students:

    • plan strategies to guide inquiry.

    • locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.

    • evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks

    • process data and report results.

  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making.  Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources. Students:
    • identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation.
    • plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
    • collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
  • Digital Citizenship. Students understand human, cultural and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.  Students:
    • advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.
    • demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning.
  • Technology Operations and Concepts.  Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations. Students:
    • understand and use technology systems.
    • select and use applications effectively and productively.
    • transfer current knowledge to learning of new technologies.