New librarians accepting instructional roles in academic libraries inherit classrooms which have evolved beyond the traditional “sage on a stage” model of bibliographic instruction to more active, student-centered information literacy sessions. However, as in the past, these are still primarily one-shot sessions. Assessment is used to make the most of these fifty-minute meetings and might include pre-tests, post-tests, and various classroom assessment techniques (CATs). Assessment provides important benchmark data to measure student information literacy skills, and the results inform and guide instruction librarians. Each assessment method has unique advantages; however, this article will focus specifically on the pre-test and the importance of using pre-test responses in the information literacy classroom. Pre-testing provides oneshot instruction librarians an opportunity to get to know a class prior to instruction. This information should be used to shape the design and content of instruction. In addition, the data should be used and mentioned in the classroom. Exercises reenacting responses from the pre-test may be more meaningful for students than an activity using generic examples. This approach to information literacy instruction is grounded in constructivist logic, because it seeks out a student’s prior knowledge and enables the learner to take an active role in building on that knowledge to incorporate new concepts.

Publication Date

Spring 2013