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Information Literacy 101 Test-Out Information

Course Description:

This course provides an introduction to techniques of information retrieval and information evaluation.  Students completing this course will have the skills needed to locate and critically evaluate information, to think critically about research strategies, and to apply these concepts to undergraduate research using Library resources and the Internet.

Course Objectives and Learning Outcomes:

  Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Recognize and articulate a need for information – formulate a question based on information need, identify key concepts and terms
  • Define, identify and locate information resources – understand how information is organized and stored, determine the best research tools, know how to use a variety of resources
  • Develop and implement effective search strategies – create search terms, perform Boolean searches, re-evaluate and revise search results
  • Critically evaluate, synthesize and organize information – use a variety of criteria to assess validity of information, organize information in a useful manner, create connections between information from different sources
  • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose – edit information to fit information need, understand plagiarism and crediting sources, integrate new and prior information in creation of new product

Special Examination (Test Out) for a waiver of the Information Literacy General Education Requirement

Who typically could benefit from the Information Literacy Test-Out?

  • Someone whose high school had a systematic program of library instruction
  • A transfer student whose previous institution had a systematic and thorough program of library instruction

  Who is eligible to take the Information Literacy Special Examination?

  • Beginning Fall 2003, all incoming undergraduate students are required to pass Information Literacy 101.  If you transferred to St. Ambrose University prior to Fall 2003, please contact the Records and Registration Office for general education requirements.
  • If you are in a Learning Community which has Information Literacy 101 as one of its components, you may NOT test out of the Information Literacy General Education requirement
  • Credit for IL101 will not be granted; only a waiver of the Information Literacy General Education requirement can be gained by passing the Test-out.  There is no charge for taking the test, but a student may only take it once.

What material is covered by the Information Literacy Special Examination?

  • How information is organized in books, periodical literature (e.g. journals, magazines, and newspapers), on the Internet, including the major library classification systems
  • Knowledge of finding aids, their organizational structure and how to use them.  Examples of these include library catalogs, periodical indexes like The Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature, Academic Search Premier in EbscoHOST, Social Work Abstracts, ERIC or Medline in FirstSearch, as well as Internet subject directories, indexes, or search engines
  • The ability to identify the “key words” or most important identifying terms one would use in a search for information
  • Use of Boolean logic in structure of informational databases; using the Boolean operators “and”, “or”, and “not” when searching an online database
  • Analyzing and interpreting the information found in a bibliographic record, i.e., the description of a book in an online library catalog or of a journal article in an online index
  • Ethics of information use and misuse, including plagiarism and copyright
  • Know how to cite information sources properly using MLA and APA styles, as for a bibliography
  • There are 2 parts of the test-out:  the first part is taken with pencil and paper, largely objective (multiple choice, matching, ordering, etc.), and in the second part, you will use the computer to perform a guided search for information.  You must pass both parts with a score of 70% or better.
  • A book which could help you prepare:

Quaratiello, Arlene R.  The College Student’s Research Companion. 2nd ed. New York: Neal-Schuman, 2000.  (In the SAU Library, this may be found on the third floor at Z 710 .Q37 2000).

When can I take the Information Literacy Special Examination?

  • It is usually offered in the first week of classes of Fall and Spring terms.
  • The next Test Out for Information Literacy will be offered Tuesday, August 21, 2012, from 1:00 - 3:00 pm; then again on Saturday, August 25, 2012, from 9:00 - 11:00 am in the Media Program Room 11, lower level, the SAU Library.  You may call the Reference Desk, 563-333-6245, to register to take the test (sign up for only one testing session) beginning August 13, 2012.
  • Future test-out dates will be posted on this site.

Where do I go to take the examination?

  • The examination will be in the Library's Media Program Room in the lower level.  Bring pencils, erasers, and either your student ID card or a drivers license.

How do I pass the Special Examination, and how will I know?

     Students need to score 70% or better on each part of the test out.  The test will only be given to a student once.  If the student does not pass with 70% or better on BOTH parts, the class must be taken.

  • A letter will be sent to you with your results.

For more information, contact Barbara Kuttler at 563-333-6473 or


Last modified

July 2012

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