The California Academic & Research Libraries, the state chapter of ACRL, held its biennial conference in Costa Mesa March 31-April 2.  I was there to present a poster describing our approach to analyzing the Framework.  I outlined our process for developing student outcomes and performance indicators.  And I explained the rhetorical analysis that resulted in our four Dispositions: Toleration for Ambiguity, Feeling Responsible to the Community, Productive Persistence, and Mindful Self-Reflection.  (You can read more about Richard Hannon’s work with the Dispositions here.)

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Earlier that day, per-conference workshop participants had met with Allison Carr and Talitha Matlin from Cal State University, San Marcos, to grapple with the Framework and apply constructivist teaching approaches to develop new lesson plans and activities.  Discussions like these are helping librarians to bridge the divide between their practices and the Framework’s aspirations.  It was a wonderful opportunity for librarians to spend some focused time making the Framework practical.

Throughout the conference, what I heard from my colleagues working at colleges and universities from across the state is that the Framework remains an inspiring but daunting document.  We discussed its value as a renewed vision for IL and encouraged one another to keep up the challenging but rewarding work of adapting the Framework to our needs.  I heard this message from my community college colleagues who were trying to determine how much of the Framework to bite off in any given research session and in their program, overall.  And I heard it from my research university colleague who is trying to incorporate the Framework’s knowledge practices as well as its dispositions into their campus-wide discussions about assessing institutional student learning outcomes.

The efforts of our advisory board and consultants to distill the Framework in order to create TATIL offer one piece of the foundation on which we will continue to build the future of information literacy.

I have been serving as the Rhetoric Consultant on the TATIL test since 2014, where one of my main responsibilities was to analyze the Framework in order to prepare the board to write outcomes and performance indicators. In this post, I will be giving a brief overview as to how I went about that process of understanding the Dispositions.

In order to be able to test for the Dispositions, or what the Framework calls the “affective, attitudinal, or valuing dimension of learning,” we needed to determine what kinds of latent traits sat beneath the surface-level descriptions of these Dispositions within the Framework. Studying the Framework, I was initially confused about the distinction between Dispositions and Knowledge Practices because many dispositions appeared to be bound-up with an understanding of core information literacy concepts. For example, in Information Has Value, the Framework says that competent students will “value the skills, time, and effort needed to produce knowledge.” The problem is that in order to value the time and effort required to create knowledge, students must first have learned what is involved in creating these kinds of texts; so, unless students are explicitly taught the multiple stages of forming research questions, collecting data, analyzing, and then synthesizing the information into a cohesive text, how can they have developed an attitude that values the rigor of this process? Thus, an important question emerged: How do we isolate the affective trait from the knowledge implied in the Dispositions?
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