This is the published version of Wertz, R.E.H, Ross, M., Purzer, S., Fosmire, M., and Cardella, M. (2011). Assessing Engineering Students' Information Literacy Skills: An Alpha Version of a Multiple-choice Instrument. Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. June 26-29, 2011 and is available at:


Information literacy is crucial component of developing life-long learning skills. However, few standard and easily gradable assessment tools exist to assess the information literacy competencies of learners. In this paper, we discuss the development of a multiple choice instrument designed to measure these competencies in an efficient and expedient manner, and we present results of data collected from 366 first-year engineering students. The instrument requires students to first read a technical memo and, based on the memo‟s arguments, answer eight multiple choice and two open-ended response questions. The mean score on the multiple choice portion was only 3.46 out of 8. A qualitative analysis of the open-ended responses provided more insights into students‟ abilities to identify and resolve conflicts between information sources, evaluate the reliability and relevancy of information sources, and use reliable information sources.


information literacy; multiple-choice assessment; engineering education

Date of this Version