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Awakening Prior Knowledge

In this episode, Dr. Stripling discusses key areas for diagnostic assessments: interests, attitudes, prior knowledge, and mental models. In her article, "Awakening and Building Upon Prior Knowledge," Kristin Fontichiaro offers a number of crowdsourced ideas to help students access their prior knowledge about a subject. Read the article and then complete the reflection activity below.



Taking the lead from Fontichiaro, ask your professional community to share what methods they've used to help students "awaken and build upon" prior knowledge, and record their responses in the workshop packet. Which of these might you try to incorporate into your practice?

About the Author

Barbara K. Stripling, PhD, is Senior Associate Dean and associate professor emerita at the School of Information Studies, Syracuse University. She earned her doctorate in information management from Syracuse University. Stripling is the author of numerous books and articles on school libraries, advocacy, inquiry, assessment, learning, and primary sources.

Stripling was the 2013–2014 president of the American Library Association. Previously, in her 40-year library career, Stripling has been Director of Library Services for the New York City schools, a school library media specialist and school district director of libraries in Arkansas, a library grant program director in Tennessee, and director of library programs at a local education fund in New York City. Stripling is a former president of the American Association of School Librarians.

Select Citation Style:
"Assessing to Empower Learners: Awakening Prior Knowledge." School Library Connection, November 2019,
"Assessing to Empower Learners: Awakening Prior Knowledge." School Library Connection, November 2019.
Assessing to empower learners: Awakening prior knowledge. School Library Connection. Retrieved from

Entry ID: 2228088