Earlier this year we launched a new online version of the Information Literacy rubric that we have previously described here on the blog. The rubric, which was originally developed by Angela, Lisa and Ken as part of their TLRI funded project on transition to tertiary education, has gone through a series of transformations. The latest change involved a move from the earlier paper based version to on online version, a goal that Angela, Ken, Anne and I discussed in our very first Rubric meeting on a sunny day at a café in Otaki back in 2015 (who says great research meetings have to happen in stuffy offices on campus). The move to an online rubric meant we could create immediate individual summary reports for each student who completed the rubric, giving them a snapshot of the skills where they are already strong and the areas that would benefit from more learning and practice.

We tested the new online rubric earlier this year with the schools participating in the project. Two hundred and forty eight students across the schools completed the rubric, providing a good comparison to the data collected in 2015-16. A couple of points that we highlight in the reports to schools this year, and that remain largely unchanged from last year’s results, are summarised below.

These ‘digital natives’ still need to learn how to make the best use of the online search tools at their disposal. Even if they use google on a regular basis, the students

  • were either unaware of or uncertain how to use online databases, Google books and Google scholar, and
  • required specific instruction about how to narrow and perform more efficient searches on Google (in addition to changing key word searches).

With such a wealth of information available to them, their responses also suggest that they need assistance with how to appropriately acknowledge the information they wish to use. Students

  • found it difficult to accurately and thoroughly acknowledge information in their work.
  • were very unfamiliar with the idea of in-text citation and did not know how to correctly create reference lists using referencing systems such as APA

Consistent with the 2016 cohort, both librarians and the library were largely untapped resources; a large majority of the students (62%) never asked their librarian for help and an additional 30% only sometimes approached their librarian for assistance. Sixty four percent of the sample either never or only rarely used the library (23% never and 41% rarely). The conclusion and recommendation based on the 2016 data remains the same for the 2017 results: more emphasis needs to be given by subject teachers to use the school library and the librarian’s information management skills to develop their students’ skills to independently find, select, retrieve, use, and evaluate information, whether it involves hard copy and digital material.


If you are interested in learning more about the rubric, don’t hesitate to contact us using the contact form.