Report: Students struggle with information literacy
Many students know how to use technology, but fewer know how to apply  
it to find what they're looking for
By Justin Appel, Assistant Editor, eSchool News

Despite the assumption that today's students are tech-savvy, many  
fall short in demonstrating the information literacy skills necessary  
for success in college and the workforce, a new report says. The  
report comes from an evaluation of responses from students nationwide  
to an information-literacy assessment tool developed by the nonprofit  

November 28, 2006—We often think of today's students as technology- 
savvy--and while that might be true, to a certain extent, when it  
comes to using hardware and software devices, a recently published  
report shows how little know-how students display when it comes to  
information literacy, or the ability to use technology to find the  
information they're looking for.

The report, from Princeton, N.J.-based ETS, found that the majority  
of high school and college students lack the proper critical thinking  
skills when it comes to researching online and using sources.

The report comes from an evaluation of the responses of 6,300  
students from 63 institutions around the country to ETS's new ICT  
(Information and Communications Technology) Literacy Assessment.  
Students were given scenario-based items that were presented to them  
in 75-minute test environments. These information literacy tests  
included extracting information from a database, developing a  
spreadsheet, or composing eMail summaries of research findings.

The tests are meant to measure students' abilities to overcome three  
challenges they typically have:

•The ability to identify trustworthy and useful information;

•The ability to manage overabundant information; and

•The ability to communicate information effectively

The study found that 52 percent of those tested could correctly judge  
the objectivity of a web site, and 65 percent could correctly judge  
that web site's authoritativeness. But only 40 percent of students  
entered multiple search terms when researching a topic, and only 44  
percent properly identified a statement that captured the demands of  
the assignment.



Findings from ETS's report

ICT Literacy Assessment

Baltimore County Public Schools