Network of Illinois
Learning Resources in
Community Colleges

Information Literacy Toolkit - Needs assessment instrument

students in classroom

The information literacy needs assessment is based on 13 of the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Performance Indicators. The participating teams met to determine which of the performance indicators were most critical to their at-risk students and to decide on the format of the instrument. See Project Performance Indicators.

What’s different about this assessment instrument?
The input we received from course instructors as well as librarians was invaluable in determining what we wanted to assess as well as the format of the instrument.

The instrument consists of approximately 40 questions. There is a survey of library use attitudes, drawn (with the author’s permission) from Carol Kulthau’s book, Seeking Meaning. (See More Information Literacy Resources.) In addition to multiple choice questions, there are several open-ended questions. Several of these constructed-response questions are follow-ups to “yes/no” questions. We found that these constructed responses, while not scored, provide valuable insight into how students seek, find and use information. 

What do you need to administer the test?

  • Time – the test can be administered within a 50-minute class period, allowing time for announcements and instructions.
  • Equipment – computers (one per student) with Internet access. If your class doesn’t have access to a computer lab, the students can take the assessment independently or in groups.
  • Course login – you need to create a course login to access the instrument.

NOTE: If you would like to experiment with the assessment, prior to using it in class, follow these steps.

  • Take the assessment (use Course ID = 43, Password = testlit)
  • Review the results (use Course ID = 43, Instructor Email =, Password = testlit)

Remember, the instrument is designed to assess the needs of a class as a whole, so feel free to be creative in how you administer it. 

  1. Create a course login (be sure to remember the email address used to request the account, the Course ID assigned and the password for accessing the instrument)
  2. Administer an assessment (you will need to provide students with the URL, Course ID and password to access your course assessment)
  3. Review assessment results (to review assessment results, you must login using the instructor email address, Course ID and password for your course)



Project funded through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and sponsored by the Network of Illinois Learning Resources in Community Colleges.