titleinquiry logo

working togetherInformation Literacy Standards

The key to integrating the standards into the K-12 curriculum is the matching of each information standard with content-area standards and examples. Teachers and media specialists must work together to support these connections. In some cases, the media specialist must convince the subject matter teachers that the information standards complement and support the content-area standards. They aren't "extras" or things that will take more time. The information literacy standards are essential in building lifelong learners in every content area.

Educators around the world have identified basic competencies in the information and communication area for both students and teachers. Some of these guidelines place more focus on process, while others emphasize product. Technology plays a central role in some guidelines, while it is viewed as one of many options in other curriculum. In some cases, an integrated approach is taken. In other words, the scope and sequence for information and communication literacy has been merged with each content area.

Two sets of standards represent two perspectives: ALA/AASL (American Library Association) and AECT representing the "information perspective" and ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) reflecting the "technology perspective." Compare and contrast these two different perspectives and sets of competencies.

eye means readRead Enduring Understandings - Where Are They in the Library's Curriculum? by Jean Donham in Teacher Librarian, 38(1), 2010. IUPUI login required.

Information Standards - Standards for the 21st Century Learner

The information standards are currently in transition. Some states including Indiana are following the Information Power document adopted in 1988/1998. However a new set of standards is now in place.

New guidelines developed by AASL (American Association of School Librarians) were introduced in Fall 2007. These new standards known as the AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner will be adopted by individual states over the next several years.

AASL StandardsThe four new learning standards state that learners use skills, resources, and tools to (AASL, 2007, high resolution PDF or low resolution PDF ):

  1. Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge.
  2. Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge.
  3. Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society.
  4. Pursue personal and aesthetic growth.

The sub-standards are then organized into four categories:

  1. Skills - Key abilities needed for understanding, learning, thinking, and mastering subjects.
  2. Dispositions in Action - Ongoing beliefs and attitudes that guide thinking and intellectual behavior that can be measured through actions taken.
  3. Responsibilities - Common behaviors used by independent learners in researching, investigating, and problem solving.
  4. Self-Assessment Strategies - Reflections on one's own learning to determine that the skills, dispositions, and responsibilities are effective.

Each standard, category, and substandard is numbered. For instance,

1. Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge.
1.1 Skills
1.1.1 Follow an inquiry-based process in seeking knowledge in curricular subjects, and make the real-world connection for using this process in own life.

eye means readRead the new standards - AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner. Also download and read the high resolution PDF or low resolution PDF containing all of the standards from AASL. These are the newly adopted U.S. national standards.

Read the old standards (still used in Indiana) Information Power: The Nine Information Literacy Standards for Student Learning (PDF). This ALA/AECT sponsored page focuses on nine information literacy standards associated with information literacy, independent learning, and social responsibility.

eye means readRead Chapter 2: Information Literacy Standards for Student Learning in Information Power (1998, p. 8-44) to learn about the standards and explore examples. Come up with your own example of an Indiana standard in any subject area and a complementary Information Literacy standard and learning activity that addresses the standard. Keep in mind that these are now considered the "old standards".

Skim the Colorado Information Literacy Standards. Notice how they added rationale, evaluation measures, and aligned to content area standards based on the AASL standards.

Technology Standards

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has also developed a set of standards. These National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) are used by both teacher librarians and technology coordinators in working with teachers. This ISTE sponsored web page focuses on news, resources, and guidelines for the National Educational Technology Standards. It also contains sample curriculum.

eye means readRead the overview of the standards and download and read the NETS Student Profile (PDF) and Essential Conditions (PDF).

The major areas in the NETS for Students (2007) include:

  1. Creativity and Innovation. Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
  2. Communication and Collaboration. Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
  3. Research and Information Fluency. Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.
  4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making. Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.
  5. Digital Citizenship. Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.
  6. Technology Operations and Concepts. Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations.

Standards Exploration

eye means readRead Stong Nests, Successful Students: Skills & Strategies for 21st Century Learning by Annette Lamb. This article explores the new standards and focuses on ideas for implementation.

Explore the Standards discussion and comparison of standards at the ISTE Standards wiki.

video clipStandards Discussion
View Forum Discussion at ISTE 2008 (7:05).

View a discussion of the new standards. The SIGMS forum was moderated by Marlene Woo-Lun, President of Linworth Publishing, and featured Annette Lamb, Gail Dickinson, Joyce Valenza, and Doug Johnson.

Standards Around the World

It's interesting to compare the standards found around the world and across subject areas. Make some comparisons between older AASL/AECT Standards from Information Power, the new Standards for the 21st-Century Learner (high resolution PDF or low resolution PDF ), ISTE NETS, enGauge Model, National Content Standards and State/Province and National information/technology standards listed below.

US States



United Kingdom


Learn More

Key building blocks for student achievement in the 21st century: Assessment, alignment, accountability, access, analysis (Year 4 Report) (PDF document) by CEO Forum on Education and Technology (Washington, DC, 2001).

Johnson, Doug (2008) Blog Entries Related to Standards. Student Standard Comparisons.

| SLIS-IUPUI | eduScapes | About | Contact Us | ©2005-2011