The Information Literacy in Student Writing Project

Every year Carleton sophomores submit their writing portfolios for evaluation. Once the college has finished evaluating them, the portfolios are available for use by others on campus. The library has taken advantage of this and developed an on-going assessment project using these portfolios.

Each year, beginning in 2008, we pull a subset of papers from that year's collection of portfolios and read them using the rubric we constructed to help us develop a picture of how information literate our sophomores are. Since we can only see the students' writing, we cannot assess all facets of their information literacy, but there are quite a few markers of information literacy that can be gleaned even from closely focused primary source analysis or lab reports.

Participating in this assessment project has helped us develop new ways of talking about information literacy at the first and second year level and new ways of articulating how information literacy functions outside the parameters of traditional research projects.

Are you using this rubric or a derivative? Join our email list at to talk with others who are using and adapting this project to suit their own institutional needs and cultures.  To join this list, visit

Presentations and Publications

Jastram, Iris and Danya Leebaw. "Framing Up Information Literacy in Student Writing" at the ARLD Day Pre-Conference Workshop, April 27th, 2017. 

Jastram, Iris and Heather Tompkins. "Brewing up New Flavors of Assessment: Using Student Writing as Artifacts of Learning" at LOEX 2015 in Denver, CO on April 30th, 2015.

Jastram, Iris and Heather Tompkins. "Information Literacy, Rubrics, and Writing" at Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR on August 18th, 2015.

"Studying the Second Year: College Sophomores, Research Behavior, and Information Communication." Minnesota Library Association. Presented by Anna Hulseberg, Iris Jastram, Heather Tompkins, and Michelle Twait. October 8, 2014.

Jastram, Iris, Danya Leebaw, and Heather Tompkins. “Situating Information Literacy Within the Curriculum: Using a Rubric to Shape a Program.” Portal Libraries and the Academy 14, no. 2 (2014): 165–86. (Peer Reviewed)

'How is this different from critical thinking?': The risks and rewards of deepening faculty involvement in an information literacy rubric" by Danya Leebaw, Kristin Partlo, and Heather Tompkins.  Paper presented at ACRL 2013 conference.

"CSI(L) Carleton: Forensic Librarians and Reflective Practices" by Iris Jastram, Danya Leebaw, and Heather Tompkins. In the Library With the Lead Pipe. December 14th, 2011. (Invited. Peer Reviewed)

"Rubrics, Research Practices, and Student Writing." State Your Case Symposium 2011 presentation by Heather Tompkins, Danya Leebaw, and Iris Jastram. April 15, 2011. (Invited)

"Rubrics, Research Practices and Student Writing" LTC Lunch presentation by Heather Tompkins, Danya Leebaw, Ann Zawistoski, and Iris Jastram. February 17th, 2011. (Video available with Carleton login)

Suggested Citation for Information Literacy in Student Writing Rubric and Codebook

Gould Library Reference and Instruction Department.  "Information Literacy in Student Writing Rubric."  Northfield, MN: Carleton College. 2017.