Author ORCID Identifier

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Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

James H. McMillan


The amount of information in the world has grown exponentially in the last generation. Students often believe that growing up as digital natives means they have advanced information literacy skills. However, school librarians are not seeing evidence of this in their schools. The purpose of this study was to determine if secondary students overestimate their information literacy (IL) abilities, if relationships exist between IL self-efficacy and performance, and if grade level or self-efficacy level changes those relationships. To accomplish this, data were collected from two middle schools and three high schools from a total of 397 students in grades 6, 9, and 12. Students completed the Information Literacy Self-efficacy Scale (ILSES) and the Tool for Real-time Assessment of Information Literacy Skills (TRAILS) to measure their IL self-efficacy and performance. The data were examined as a whole, by grade level, by self-efficacy level, and by a breakdown of combined self-efficacy level and grade level. Analyses involved t-tests, bivariate correlations, and hierarchical linear regression. Results showed that all groups overestimated their IL abilities and that the overestimation increased as self-efficacy level increased. In addition, correlations provided evidence of a relationship between IL self-efficacy and performance for each grade level and for each self-efficacy level. Another finding was that in all grade levels, higher self-efficacy equated to higher performance, however, for a large percent of students, high self-efficacy equated with lower scores. Grade level did have an effect on the relationship between IL self-efficacy and performance. This effect showed statistical and practical significance when grade level was used as a covariate but only practical significance when used as a moderating variable. Overall, ninth graders showed a dip in performance when compared to sixth and twelfth grades.


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