Madison Research Essentials:  Information Literacy Competency @ JMU

James Madison University believes that the fundamental knowledge and skills you need to navigate the landscape of scholarly information are necessary for successful completion of your university classes.  Information literacy skills are foundational to your university coursework and as such are included in Cluster One of General Education.  All students completing General Education at JMU are required to pass the MREST within the first academic year at JMU. 

Information Literacy Competencies

The MREST is designed to help you demonstrate your achievement of the following learning objectives. 

  • Recognize that information is available in a variety of forms including, but not limited to, text, images, and visual media.
    • Skills Required:  extracting information regardless of format, recognizing the difference between information and inference, and creatively thinking about how information is displayed and created
  • Determine when information is needed and find it efficiently using a variety of reference sources.
    • Skills Required:  recognizing gaps in my own knowledge, choose appropriate research tools, and employ efficient searching techniques
  • Evaluate the quality of the information.
    • Skills Required:  critically think about bias, relevance, accuracy and appropriateness of information
  • Use information effectively for a purpose.
    • Skills Required:  understand the function that research plays in scholarly work, choose sources appropriate to audience, purpose, and occasion, effectively incorporate the words of others into your own work. 
  • Employ appropriate technologies to create an information-based product.
    • Skills Required:  choose appropriate format for audience, purpose, and occasion, judicious use of technology’s features to enhance message,
  • Use information ethically and legally.
    • Skills Required:  understand that information has value to its creator, able to distinguish between attributed and original ideas, properly cite utilized resources

JMU offers you three opportunities to acquire these skills. 

  1. Course-related assignments that require students to find information.
  2. Madison Research Essential Skills Toolkit, is available on the library webpage and is useful throughout your university career
  3. Madison Research Essential Skills Tutorial.  This tutorial is completed by students enrolled in GCOM.

Taking the MREST

Once you have acquired the information literacy skills listed above you are ready to take the JMU’s graduation requirement, Madison Research Essential Skills Test (MREST).  Because information literacy is critical to the mission of the university you must complete this test during your first academic year.  MREST is a proctored, secured competency test given only in the Assessment and Testing Center during lab hours. For Questions regarding the Assessment and Testing Center contact Jack Garmer at (540)568-6855 or You must successfully pass the MREST prior to Spring Break of your first academic year.

Successful passing of the MREST will be noted on your transcript. Students who score high will earn an advanced status.  Students who fail may review the Madison Research Toolkit.  Students who do not pass by the deadline will have a registration hold placed on their academic record.  This registration hold will prevent you from dropping, adding or swapping courses.  Within two weeks of successful completion of this graduation milestone you will be able view your passing scores via myMadison.  There are several places within MyMadison where your MREST scores are visible (use the drop down menu labeled “Other Academic” and chose one of the following; academic requirements, view test scores, or transcript: view unofficial). 

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