The CSUSM Information Literacy Program

Guiding Principles

The library faculty and staff in the Information Literacy Program (ILP) at California State University, San Marcos work collaboratively with campus partners to create learning environments and experiences that enable students to become student-scholars. ILP members foster students’ habits of mind, help build their knowledge base, and add to their skill sets in order for students to become knowledge creators.We do this in order to cultivate student-scholars.

Student-scholars are able to navigate an increasingly complex information landscape. They are information creators who seek to contribute to knowledge-sharing among experts in a field. Upon leaving higher education, student-scholars will have an appreciation of and ability to be engaged, contributing members of their communities.

All library faculty in ILP contribute to cultivating student-scholars in their work with first-year students, students in general education courses, and students within their majors and/or graduate programs. An understanding of these different levels of the intellectual experiences is necessary to identify and create impactful, transformative learning opportunities. In addition, ILP faculty identify, implement, and assess a variety of pedagogical approaches and high impact practices as appropriate to the instructional setting and learning outcomes. In order to do this, the ILP faculty proactively establishes and maintains strong relationships with faculty and administration.

The library is both physically and symbolically where students go to continue the research process beyond the classroom. It is often their first foray into independent research and where they go to process and contextualize the classroom or in-the-field experience. The library must be a place that facilitates and fosters knowledge creation and helps students navigate through the inherently transformative experience of higher education.

ILP is guided by the following to achieve the aforementioned aims:

  • Students’ abilities to find and use the research/professional literature cannot develop without an understanding of the scholarly research process, their role in the process, and the influence this process has on the world around them.
  • As active members of a scholarly community, students are critical evaluators, users, and creators of knowledge.
  • The academic experience can serve as a model to illustrate how to be an engaged and contributing member of one’s local, regional, and global community.

Assessment Principles

Over a series of conversations in Fall 2014, the ILP faculty and staff sought to identify a path to establish an approach to sustainable, programmatic-level assessment. While the ILP is not a credit-bearing program with full-time equivalent students (FTES), the group agreed that there are indeed learning outcomes for students who interact with the ILP. Assessing these common learning outcomes could allow ILP to plan, make decisions, and communicate within and beyond the Library organization about how ILP contributes to student learning at CSUSM. It will allow us to change and/or update our instruction to be as effective as possible.

To this end, the group agreed that assessment efforts in ILP will be iterative, defined in scope, and manageable in size. We commit to assessment efforts that:

  • focus on and flow from clear and important goals, especially those to improve curriculum and pedagogy but also regarding planning, budgeting, and accountability;

  • are supported with appropriate resources, including time, expertise, guidance, financial resources, support and feedback;

  • seek to involve the active participation of appropriate stakeholders in decisions stemming from the results;

  • are communicated widely and transparently.

These principles were considered and adopted November 2014. These are based heavily on Suskie’s Principles of Assessment.

Learning Outcomes

Drafting learning outcomes that are applicable to all aspects of ILP is especially challenging since the curriculum exists out of the common boundaries of credit-bearing, degree granting programs. However, ILP’s focus on developing the student-scholar as both an information consumer and knowledge producer indicates that the primary focus is not merely the development of research skills or information literacy. Instead, research skills and information literacy are the manifestation of the habits of mind, dispositions, and approaches of a student-scholar. With this in mind, ILP’s learning outcomes are divided into two categories: the development of the student scholar (and beyond the academy, a lifelong learner) and the skills and abilities needed to use and create information.

Becoming a student scholar/engaged community member

As a result of the learning experiences from ILP faculty, CSUSM graduates will have the dispositions and habits of mind of engaged members of their regional and global community. The will:

  • demonstrate engagement in the scholarly process;
  • display characteristics of a student-scholar identity;
  • describe actions of lifelong learners.



Above Standard 4 Standard 3 Sufficient 2 Emerging 1
Engagement in the scholarly process Pursues scholarly inquiry as an engaged actor in the scholarly process Participates in the scholarly inquiry process Articulates the variations of the scholarly inquiry process Describes common steps in scholarly inquiry
Student-scholar identity Values role as participant in knowledge creation as student-scholar Participates in knowledge creation as student scholar Articulates the characteristics of student-scholar.
May demonstrate characteristics of knowledge creator (e.g. provides a conclusion different from other scholars).
Awareness of student-scholar as user and creator of knowledge
Dispositions and habits of mind as student scholar Consistently approaches inquiry as a student scholar.
Critical user of information as well as knowledge creator
Inconsistently demonstrates a variety of characteristics of student-scholars Describes a variety of dispositions and habits of student-scholars
May demonstrate some characteristics of knowledge creator
Awareness of disposition and habits of student-scholars
(e.g. research does not happen in one sitting)


Information use and creation

As a result of the learning experiences from ILP faculty, CSUSM graduates will:

  • Identify: Identify issues, perspectives, or problems clearly and in multiple contexts;
  • Evaluate: Distinguish between relevant/credible sources, ideas, and information;
  • Analyze: Consider multiple points of view, perspectives, or solutions with a comparative approach;
  • Synthesize: Formulate clear and well-stated plans, solutions, or outcomes;
  • Concludes: Provide logical conclusions that reflect full range of information from multiple and suitable perspectives;
  • Act ethically: Use information in an ethical manner.












Above Standard

Explanation of Issues


Limited ability to distinguish fact from opinion; limited understanding of credible/relevant sources/ideas; fails to recognize multiple perspectives Recognizes fact and opinion as categories; awareness of standards of credibility in sources/ideas; awareness of multiple perspectives Distinguishes between fact and opinion; evaluates sources/ideas as credible or relevant; recognizes multiple perspectives Clear method of distinguishing between fact vs opinion and credible/relevant; sophisticated understanding of multiple perspectives





Articulates possible arguments, plans, or solutions with little or no logical approach Articulates possible arguments, plans, or solutions with imprecise reasoning Articulates logical arguments, plans, or solutions using inductive and/or deductive reasoning skills and clear method(s) Articulates sophisticated arguments, plans, or solutions using inductive and/or deductive reasoning skills and clear method(s)


Provides conclusions/finished ideas that are not tied to evidence; limited range of evidence/sources; demonstrates fallacious reasoning Provides conclusions/finished ideas that are loosely tied to evidence from sources of varying credibility; demonstrates some fallacious reasoning Provides logical conclusions/finished ideas informed by a full range of evidence from multiple and suitable sources; avoids fallacious reasoning Provides logical conclusions/finished ideas informed by a full range of evidence from multiple and suitable sources; reasoning reflects complexity and avoids fallacies
Ethical Use of Information Provides minimal attribution of information sources Provides attribution of some information sources in some instances Appropriately attributes information sources, but with some inconsistencies Provides appropriate attribution of information

Assessment Plan