Librarians Release Standards To Help Students Filter Information

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In preparing their latest homework assignment or lengthy research project, most students have access to the Internet, videos, and uncounted print resources at public and school libraries.

But the vast offerings can be daunting for even the most studious. Helping students maneuver through the maze will lead to higher achievement in all subjects, according to standards released by the American Association of School Librarians.

The first "Information Literacy Standards for Student Learning," unveiled at the American Library Association conference here late last month, offers nine standards for building students' skills in selecting print and electronic information.

For More Information

Read the "Information Literacy Standards for Student Learning," from the American Association of School Librarians. The report is also available for $20 by calling the American Library Association at (800) 545-2433 and pressing 7.

"All the emphasis has been on one delivery system ... technology," AASL President Kenneth Haycock said in an interview. "But information still comes from a variety of sources. Students need the ability to access and use information regardless of the source."

The standards are organized into three areas: information literacy, independent learning, and social responsibility.

Information literacy means students can gather information efficiently, critically evaluate it, and use it accurately and creatively. Under independent learning, students should be able to pursue information related to personal interests, appreciate literature and other creative sources of information, and strive for excellence in seeking information

'Intellectual Access'

To meet the social-responsibility goal, students should recognize the importance of information in a democratic society, practice ethical behavior in searching for and distributing information, and participate in groups to pursue and generate information, according to the librarians' guidelines.

The standards are designed to be integrated throughout subject areas. They are separate from standards created by the International Society for Technology in Education, released last month, which focus primarily on the skills needed to use technology. ("Technology Group Releases National Standards," June 24, 1998.)

"Much of the emphasis with technology has been on physical access. We are looking more at intellectual access," Mr. Haycock said.

While the document recommends that all schools have at least one library-media specialist--and cites research showing higher academic achievement in those schools that do--it says teachers, too, can implement the standards effectively.

The document includes examples of how to incorporate the standards into the curriculum as well as performance indicators to evaluate how well students meet them.

Vol. 17, Issue 42, Page 13

Published in Print: July 8, 1998, as Librarians Release Standards To Help Students Filter Information
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