UNCW Information Literacy Competency Exam for Transfer Students

  1. Register for Exam
  2. Information Literacy Exam at a Glance
  3. What is “Information Literacy”?
  4. What is the Information Literacy requirement for University Studies at UNCW?
  5. Who should take the Information Literacy competency exam?
  6. What credit do I get if I pass the Information Literacy competency exam?
  7. When is the Information Literacy competency exam offered?
  8. What if I require an accommodation for the exam?
  9. How much does the Information Literacy competency exam cost?
  10. How do I register for the Information Literacy competency exam?
  11. What is covered on the Information Literacy competency exam?
  12. How can I prepare for the Information Literacy competency exam?
  13. What should I expect when taking the exam?
  14. How is the Information Literacy competency exam scored?
  15. When will I know when I have a passing Information Literacy score?
  16. What happens if I fail the Information Literacy competency exam?
  17. Who can I contact if I have questions?


Information Literacy Exam at a Glance

Transfer students who enter the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) with at least 45 hours of credit under the UNCW 2014-15 Catalogue are eligible to earn three (3) hours of Information Literacy (IL) competency credit by passing the Information Literacy Competency Exam.

The exam assesses a student’s understanding and application of the UNCW University Studies student learning outcomes for information literacy through the first two years of college level education.

The exam consists of two parts:

  1. Sixty (60) multiple-choice items (worth a maximum score of 60 points) and
  2. One (1) typed research essay and associated questions (worth a maximum score of 40 points).

The necessary total score to earn the three (3) hours of Information Literacy competency credit is 65.

The total time available to complete the exam is three (3) hours.

The exam focuses on the student’s ability to:

IL 1. Be able to determine the nature and extent of information needed to solve a problem.
IL 2. Access information effectively and efficiently from a variety of sources.
IL 3. Evaluate information critically and incorporate appropriate information into his or her knowledge base.
IL 4. Individually, or as a member of a group, use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.
IL 5. Understand many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and access and use information ethically and legally.

The Office of the Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Undergraduate Studies will confirm the competency credit with the Registrar’s Office.


What is “Information Literacy”?

One of UNCW’s Learning Goals (Goal 3) is to “Locate, evaluate, and effectively use information by applying a variety of academic and technological skills” (http://uncw.edu/learningoutcomes/index.html). Information Literacy is a required component of the general education curriculum (“University Studies”) at UNCW (http://uncw.edu/usac/informationliteracy.html).

Information Literacy is “a set of abilities requiring individuals to ‘recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.’ 1Information Literacy also is increasingly important in the contemporary environment of rapid technological change and proliferating information resources. Because of the escalating complexity of this environment, individuals are faced with diverse, abundant information choices--in their academic studies, in the workplace, and in their personal lives. Information is available through libraries, community resources, special interest organizations, media, and the Internet--and increasingly, information comes to individuals in unfiltered formats, raising questions about its authenticity, validity, and reliability. In addition, information is available through multiple media, including graphical, aural, and textual, and these pose new challenges for individuals in evaluating and understanding it” (http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/informationliteracycompetency).

Each Information Literacy intensive course approved for the University Studies program must address the following student learning outcomes:

IL 1. Be able to determine the nature and extent of information needed to solve a problem.
IL 2. Access information effectively and efficiently from a variety of sources.
IL 3. Evaluate information critically and incorporate appropriate information into his or her knowledge base.
IL 4. Individually, or as a member of a group, use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.
IL 5. Understand many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and access and use information ethically and legally.


What is the Information Literacy requirement for University Studies at UNCW?

The Information Literacy component of the University Studies program is designed to foster the development of students’ Information Literacy (IL) skills by requiring three (3) Information Literacy intensive courses: The First Year Experience and two (2) additional Information Literacy intensive courses, with at least one (1) in the major field of study. Students are required to take nine (9) hours from this component for graduation (http://uncw.edu/universitystudies/informationliteracy.html).

Transfer students successfully passing the Information Literacy competency exam will receive three (3) Information Literacy (IL) competency hours. This replaces the First Year Experience IL competency credit. Students who pass the Information Literacy competency exam must still complete the remaining requirements for the Information Literacy component of University Studies.


Who should take the Information Literacy competency exam?

Transfer students who enter UNCW with at least 45 hours of credit under the UNCW 2014-15 Catalogue are eligible to earn three (3) hours of Information Literacy competency credit.

This option is provided to transfer students who are not able to complete a First Year Experience course and are advised of missing IL competency credit by their academic advisor.


What credit do I get if I pass the Information Literacy competency exam?

The Information Literacy (IL) exam should be taken by transfer students who do not complete a First Year Experience course and are advised of missing IL competency credit by their academic advisor. Receiving a passing score will allow the student to receive three (3) hours of IL competency.

The three (3) hours of IL competency credit earned through the Information Literacy competency exam cannot be used to fulfill the Information Literacy requirement within a student’s major. Students who pass the Information Literacy competency exam must still complete the remaining requirements for the Information Literacy component of University Studies.

The Office of the Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Undergraduate Studies will confirm the competency credit with the Registrar’s Office.


When is the Information Literacy competency exam offered?

Students can take the exam in a group setting (with two proctors) in a computer lab in Randall Library (RL #1039) on one of the following pre-determined dates:

Fall 2016

Friday, November 4, 2016 (1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.) in RL #1039* **
Friday, November 11, 2016 (1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.) in RL #1039* **

*Students must register by midnight on November 4.

          **If you require an accommodation due to a documented disability, you must register for the exam by midnight on October 26.

        

What if I require an accommodation for the exam?

If you are a student with a disability and anticipate needing accommodations of any type in order to complete the exam, you must:

  1. Be registered with the UNCW Disability Resource Center. Students who have not previously done so should contact the Disability Resource Center (#1033 DePaolo Hall, 910-962–7555) to provide necessary documentation of the disability and coordinate appropriate accommodations.
  2. Register for the Information Literacy Competency Exam by midnight on March 6 so necessary accommodations can be approved and arranged prior to the test date. 
  3. Indicate a need for accommodation when registering for the exam: Register for Exam
  4. Request an electronic copy of your Accommodation Letter from Disability Resource Center for the Information Literacy Competency Exam
  5. Forward the Accommodation Letter NO LATER than 7 days prior to test date to:Von Yeager, University Studies Librarian, Randall Library: yeagerv@uncw.edu.


How much does the Information Literacy competency exam cost?

The cost of the exam is $85. Upon registration (http://library.uncw.edu/info_lit/form/transfer-student-exam-registration) students will be billed through UNCW’s Student Accounts.


How do I register for the Information Literacy competency exam?

Students must register for the Information Literacy competency exam online: http://library.uncw.edu/info_lit/form/transfer-student-exam-registration. Students MUST present their UNCW OneCard to take the exam.

*Students must register by midnight on November 3, 2016.

Students who are registered with Disability Services and require accommodations for the exam must indicate this during the registration process. If you require an accommodation due to a document disability, you must register for the exam by midnight on October 26, 2016.


What is covered on the Information Literacy competency exam?

The exam consists of two parts:

  1. Sixty (60) multiple-choice items (worth a maximum score of 60 points) and
  2. One (1) typed research essay and associated questions (worth a maximum score of 40 points).

The following student learning outcomes (skills) are assessed on the Information Literacy competency exam through the multiple-choice items and the essay. Students will be presented with a research question and will need to identify, evaluate, and synthesize available research on that question. Additionally, the essay requires students to utilize the Modern Language Association (MLA) citation style both in text and in a Works Cited list. Questions about the student’s research process are posed and students are required to describe that process.

IL1: Be able to determine the nature and extent of information needed to solve a problem.

Specific skills:

  • Develop a thesis statement and formulate questions based on the information needed. 
  • Develop the ability to identify key issues/questions that require additional information.
  • Explore general information sources to increase familiarity with the topic.
  • Identify background information sources appropriate for an initial understanding of a topic.
  • Identify appropriate sources for various research questions.
  • Identify key concepts and terms that describe the information needed.
  • List terms that may be useful for locating information on a topic.
  • Identify keywords, synonyms and related terms for the information needed.
  • Identify alternate terminology, including synonyms, broader or narrower words and phrases that describe a topic.
  • Identify the purpose and audience of potential resources (e.g., popular vs. scholarly, current vs. historical).
  • List the differences between websites/broadcasts, newspapers, magazines, journals, and books.
  • Distinguish between popular and scholarly information resources.

IL 2.  Access information effectively and efficiently from a variety of sources. [Information Literacy; Critical Thinking]

Specific skills:

  • Retrieve information online or in person using a variety of methods.
  • Describe a general process for searching for information in Randall Library (or other university library).
  • Use various search systems to retrieve information in a variety of formats.
  • Select the appropriate tool to find a book and an article on a particular topic.
  • Describe the differences between freely available Internet search tools, subscription databases, and library catalogs.
  • Use different research sources (e.g., library catalog and databases) to find different types of information (e.g., books and articles)
  • Select appropriate tools (e.g., databases) for research on a particular topic.
  • Construct a search strategy using appropriate commands for the information retrieval system selected (e.g., Boolean operators, truncation, and proximity for search engines; internal organizers such as indexes for books).
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the concept of keyword searching and use it appropriately and effectively.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the concept of Boolean logic and construct a search statement using Boolean operators.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the concept of truncation and use it appropriately and effectively.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the concept of keyword searching and use it appropriately and effectively.
  • Use various classification schemes and other systems (e.g., call number systems or indexes) to locate information resources within the library or to identify specific sites for physical exploration.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the fact that items in the library may be grouped together by subject in order to facilitate browsing.
  • Use specialized online or in person services available at the institution to retrieve information needed (e.g., interlibrary loan/document delivery, professional associations, institutional research offices, community resources, experts and practitioners).
  • Identify appropriate service points for assistance both in the library and via the library’s website.
  • Use the Randall Library Web site to locate information about library resources and service.
  • Demonstrate a general knowledge of how to obtain information that is not available immediately.
  • List methods for obtaining research assistance in the library and using the library’s website.
  • Assess the quantity, quality, and relevance of the search results to determine whether alternative information retrieval systems or investigative methods should be utilized.
  • Select relevant articles by examining elements such as the article title, abstract, source, and date of publication.
  • Record all pertinent citation information for future reference.
  • Identify the location, call number, and status of an item in the library catalog.

IL 3. Evaluate information critically and incorporate appropriate information into his or her knowledge base.

Specific skills:

  • Summarize the main ideas to be extracted from the information gathered.
  • Articulate and apply initial criteria for evaluating both the information and its sources.
  • Apply established evaluation criteria to determine if an information source is appropriate.
  • Discern reliable sources from unreliable ones.

IL 4.  Individually, or as a member of a group, use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.

Specific skills:

  • Identify specific research topics and will develop a sound knowledge base through their own research to analyze and/or argue a chosen issue or position.
  • Organize the content in a manner that supports the purposes and format of the product or performance (e.g. outlines, drafts, storyboards).
  • Integrate the new and prior information, including quotations and paraphrasings, in a manner that supports the purposes of the product or performance.
  • Communicate clearly and with a style that supports the purposes of the intended audience.

IL 5. Understand many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and access and use information ethically and legally.

Specific skills:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of intellectual property, copyright, and fair use of copyrighted material.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of what constitutes plagiarism and does not represent work attributable to others as his/her own.
  • Practice MLA documentation.
  • Identify instances of plagiarism.
  • Select an appropriate documentation style and uses it consistently to cite sources.


How can I prepare for the Information Literacy competency exam?

Students should review the materials provided by Randall Library to prepare for the exam: http://library.uncw.edu/info_lit/information-literacy-tutorials. Students should be aware that the Information Literacy competency exam is assessing transfer students’ Information Literacy skills and there is the assumption that some of these skills were learned at the student’s previous institution. These tutorials do not provide a one-to-one relationship to the exam and therefore should not be the student’s sole source of information. Students should allow for four to six hours to review these tutorials. Students should review the student learning outcomes covered by the exam and prepare accordingly. 

Many of the tutorials were created by other institutions. Students should focus on the concepts of the tutorials rather than the specific tools mentioned in the tutorials as tools vary from institution to institution.

Students should be familiar with the Modern Language Association (MLA) citation format. A brief guide is available online through the Purdue Online Writing Lab.

Additionally, students must have basic computing skills including the ability to use a mouse and type. Students must also have the technology skills to navigate the Internet and use the basic functions of Microsoft Word.

Students should eat breakfast or lunch prior to taking the exam and get adequate sleep the night before.

Students who are registered with Disability Services and require accommodations for the exam must indicate this during the registration process.


What should I expect when taking the exam?

The Information Literacy competency exam is administered through the Blackboard Learn Course Management system.

Students will complete a multiple choice “test” and then will complete an essay and associated questions. The essay requires that students use Microsoft Word. Each component of the exam (the test and essay) will be administered through Blackboard Learn and submitted through Blackboard Learn.

It is recommended that students spend no more than 60 minutes completing the multiple-choice items in order to spend the remaining 120 minutes on the essay and its associated questions.

  • Students must show a photo ID to take the test (UNW One Card, driver’s license, or passport is recommended).
  • Students should expect to spend three full hours taking the exam.
  • No food is allowed.
  • Only covered drinks (such as bottled water) are allowed.
  • Proctors will be walking around the room to monitor and observe students.
  • Music/headphones are not allowed.
  • If a student is disruptive, he/she will be asked to leave.
  • Students must use the bathroom or use their cell phone prior to the test beginning.
  • Students must turn off all cell phones and electronic devices.
  • All belongings must be put under the students’ desk/chair when taking the exam.
  • Students may not touch their belongings without permission from the proctor(s).
  • Students may not talk to other students.
  • Students may not get up and walk around as this will disturb other students.
  • Students must review, sign, and date a form indicating that they understand the consequences of violating the UNCW Student Academic Honor code through cheating or other forms of academic dishonesty: http://uncw.edu/odos/honorcode/ and are truthful about their identify.
  • Students may leave when they have finished the exam.


How is the Information Literacy competency exam scored?

The Information Literacy competency exam is divided into two parts: a 60 question multiple-choice “test” and an essay based on research with accompanying questions about the student’s research process. The multiple-choice test is scored automatically in Blackboard. The essay is scored using a rubric and is scored by a team comprised of one librarian and one English Composition instructor.

A score of 65 or higher grants a student the three (3) hours of Information Literacy competency credit.


When will I know when I have a passing Information Literacy score?

Your total score for both parts of the Information Literacy competency exam will be e-mailed to you within eight weeks of completing the exam.


What happens if I fail the Information Literacy competency exam?

Students may NOT retake the exam.

However, students may take another Information Literacy (IL) intensive course to receive the three (3) competency credit hours. A list of IL courses can be found in the UNCW Catalogue. Students should speak to their advisor before registering for one of these courses.


Who can I contact if I have questions?

Von Yeager, University Studies Librarian
yeagerv@uncw.edu or 910-962-2778

or

Anne Pemberton, Associate Director, Library Assessment and Instructional Services
pembertona@uncw.edu or 910-962-7810

 

 

Exam Dates

Exam registration is closed!

Spring 2017 Exam Dates

Friday, March 31, 2017 (1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.) in RL #1039* ** CLOSED

Friday, April 7, 2017 (1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.) in RL #1039* **​

**If you require an accommodation due to a documented disability, you must register for the exam by midnight on March 22, 2017.

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