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College of San Mateo Library

Information Competency at CSM

General Information

College of San Mateo defines Information Competency based on the standards from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

Community college students must be information literate learners who can:

  • Determine the extent of information needed
  • Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically
  • Incorporate selected information into one's knowledge base
  • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
  • Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally

How to Satisfy the Information Competency Graduation Requirement

Students with catalog rights beginning Fall 2010 must satisfy the Information Competency requirement prior to graduation.

The information competency requirement can be satisfied by one of the following options:

  1. CSM Coursework or Exams
    • Earning a minimum grade of C or P in one of the following CSM courses: BUSW 530, CIS 110, CRER 129, DGME 100, DGME 102, LIBR 100, LIBR 105, MATH 145 or NURS 242.
    • Earning a minimum grade of C or P in ENGL 100 OR ENGL 105 (classes completed Fall 2015 or after).
    • Earning a score of 70% or higher on the CSM Information Competency Proficiency Exam. The exam can only be attempted once.
  2. Completing Approved Courses at Skyline College or Cañada College
    • Earning a minimum grade of C or P in LIBR 100 at Cañada College.
    • Earning a minimum grade of C or P in LSCI 100 (completed prior to Fall 2011) or ENGL 100 (only classes completed Fall 2011 or after) at Skyline College.
  3. Completing Coursework from Outside of San Mateo Community College District
    • Earning a minimum grade of C or P in an equivalent course taken outside of the SMCCCD that meets the College of San Mateo Standard for Information Competency. Students who desire to satisfy the requirement using this option must submit an Information Competency Equivalency Petition.

Make an Appointment to take the Information Competency Proficiency Exam

Appointments for exams are made through the Welcome Center/Assessment Services.

Welcome Center
College Center Building 10, Room 370
(650) 574-6175

How to Prepare

Several resources are available on the CSM Library website to help students prepare for the CSM Information Competency Proficiency Exam. See the online research guide titled Information Competency Requirement for more information.

One of the most popular ways to prepare is to view the CSM Library’s Information Competency Video Tutorials. The videos are a helpful review of what information competency is and how that relates to research.

You can contact a CSM Librarian for more information.

What to Bring to the Exam

  • Photo identification (CSM school ID; high school ID; driver's license or state issued ID; passport)
  • Your student identification number (G Number)

Exam Results

In most cases your results will be available within 10 business days after taking the exam. Results are posted on WebSmart under the Student Services menu. Click on Student Records and then on Placement Test Results