This study aimed to acquire knowledge about Singapore secondary school (ages 13 to 16 years old) students’ skills in searching, evaluating and using information.
A comprehensive instrument encompassing the basic information literacy (IL) skills, as well as a new dimension of ethical usage of information and collaborative information seeking was used for data collection. From August to November 2010, a total of eight schools comprising 3,164 students participated in this study.
It was a matter of concern that various kinds of libraries, including school libraries, were found to be under-utilized. From the test that was administered to assess the IL skills of students, the results were found to be generally unsatisfactory as each of the major categories of IL skills recorded a score that is below 50 (out of a maximum of 100) except for “task definition”. For skills related to “information seeking strategies”, “location & access” and “information use”, the types of schools, academic streams of study, and students’ family background seemed to have significant influences.
This study is the first large-scale survey conducted in Singapore that sought to test the IL skills of secondary school students. The findings are useful in assessing the current effectiveness of IL integration, and the need for a more planned approach towards IL competency training within the school curriculum in Singapore.