Classroom Assessment Techniques for Librarians - A Review by Jessica Moore

In their book Classroom Assessment Techniques for Librarians, Melissa Bowles-Terry and Cassandra Kvenild build upon the ideas from Tom Angelo’s classic book Classroom Assessment Techniques with applications for information literacy instruction.

Classroom assessment techniques (CATs) are learner-centered activities that engage students in learning and yield actionable assessment results.  As formative assessments, CATs give instructors a snapshot of how well students are grasping the material, allowing them to change or modify instruction based on gaps in understanding. Because CATs are administered during the course of instruction, they are especially useful to librarians who often only have a one-shot session to work with students. 

The CATs featured in this book are arranged by what they assess, i.e., prior knowledge and understanding, analysis and critical thinking, synthesis and creative thinking, application, attitudes and self-awareness, and learner reactions. The description of each CAT includes sections on when to use it, how to score it, and what to do with the results, along with at least three examples of how the CAT can be used in different settings.  Techniques such as the minute papermuddiest point, and one-sentence summary are described using examples from the library instruction context, offering librarians practical ideas for how to incorporate these CATs into their own instruction.

This brief, practical book is recommended for librarians seeking to improve their instruction with effective techniques for assessing student learning.

Jessica Moore - Reference/Instruction Librarian, University of Northwestern - St. Paul

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