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Suppose that you think students should be knowledgeable about the rights and responsibilities of information creation. Furthermore, they should be able to recognize social, legal, and economic factors affecting access to information. These two statements form the basis of the Module 4 – The Value of Information – of the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy (TATIL). In this post, I will describe the development of TATIL test knowledge questions. How do we go from a concept to a set of fully formed, sound test questions?

It begins with outcomes and performance indicators written by members of the TATIL advisory board and inspired by the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy. An iterative process of review and revision guided by the TATIL project leader Dr. April Cunningham results in the foundation for writing test questions.

...continue reading "Genesis of a Test Question"

Sometime around 1996 I attended a conference on communication studies. I was working on a master’s degree in Comm Studies and this was my first conference in an area outside of librarianship. I was happy to discover a presentation on research related to libraries, specifically nonverbal behaviors of reference librarians. As the researcher described her findings and quoted from student statements about their interactions with librarians, I experienced a range emotions. Interest and pride soon gave way to embarrassment and frustration. The way I remember it now, there were a host of examples of poor interactions. “The librarian looked at me like I was from Mars,” that sort of thing. Most memorable to me was one of the comment/questions from an audience member. “Librarians need to fix this. What are they going to do about it?,” as though this study had uncovered a heretofore invisible problem that we should urgently address. (Did I mention feeling defensive, too?) I didn’t dispute the findings. What I struggled with was the sense that the people in the room thought that we librarians didn’t already know about the importance of effective communication and that we weren’t working on it. Was there room for improvement? For sure! But it wasn’t news to us.

I thought about that presentation again recently after viewing a webinar by Lisa Hinchliffe about her research project, Predictable Misunderstandings in Information Literacy: Anticipating Student Misconceptions To Improve Instruction. Using data from a survey of librarians who provide information literacy instruction to first year students, Lisa and her team provisionally identified nine misconceptions that lead to errors in information literacy practice. For example, first year students “believe research is a linear (uni-directional) process (and therefore do not see it as an iterative process and integrated into their work).” The project is a partnership with Credo. See the press release or view the webinar slides. ...continue reading "We’re Working On It: Taking Pride in Continuous Instructional Improvement"

The cornerstone of the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy are the outcomes and performance indicators we wrote that were inspired by the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.

Working with members of our Advisory Board, we first defined the information literacy skills, knowledge, dispositions, and misconceptions that students commonly demonstrate at key points in their education: entering college, completing their lower division or general education requirements, and preparing for graduation. These definitions laid the groundwork for analyzing the knowledge practices and dispositions in the Framework in order to define the core components that would become the focus of the test. Once we determined to combine frames into four test modules, the performance indicators were then used to guide item writing for each of the four modules. Further investigation of the Framework dispositions through a structural analysis led to identifying and defining information literacy dispositions for each module.

...continue reading "From Framework to Outcomes to Performance Indicators, Plus Dispositions!"

After three years of development, two years of field testing, and countless hours of creative innovation and hard work, Carrick Enterprises is proud to announce the availability of the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy!

We are fortunate to work with many librarians, professors, measurement and evaluation experts, and other professionals on the development of this test. We are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with these creative people and to benefit from their insights and wisdom.


Test Item Developers
Jennifer Fabbi – Cal State San Marcos
Hal Hannon – Palomar and Saddleback Colleges
Angela Henshilwood – University of Toronto
Lettycia Terrones – Los Angeles Public Library
Dominique Turnbow – UC San Diego
Silvia Vong – University of Toronto
Kelley Wantuch – Los Angeles Public Library

Test Item Reviewers
Joseph Aubele – CSU Long Beach
Liz Berilla – Misericordia University
Michelle Dunaway – Wayne State University
Nancy Jones – Encinitas Unified School District

Cognitive Interviewers
Joseph Aubele – CSU Long Beach
Sophie Bury – York University, Toronto
Carolyn Gardner – CSU Dominguez Hills
Jamie Johnson – CSU Northridge
Pearl Ly – Skyline College
Isabelle Ramos – CSU Northridge
Silvia Vong – University of Toronto

Field Test Participants
Andrew Asher – Indiana University
Joseph Aubele – California State University, Long Beach
Sofia Birden – University of Maine Fort Kent
Rebecca Brothers – Oakwood University
Sarah Burns Feyl – Pace University
Kathy Clarke – James Madison University
Jolene Cole – Georgia College
Gloria Creed-Dikeogu – Ottawa University
David Cruse – Adrian College
April Cunningham – Palomar College
Diane Dalrymple – Valencia College
Christopher Garcia – University of Guam
Rumi Graham – University of Lethbridge
Adrienne Harmer – Georgia Gwinnett College
Rosita Hopper – Johnson & Wales University
Suzanne Julian – Brigham Young University
Cynthia Kane – Emporia State University
Martha Kruy – Central Connecticut State University
Jane Liu – Pomona College
Talitha Matlin – California State University at San Marcos
Courtney Moore – Valencia College
Colleen Mullally – Pepperdine University
Dena Pastor – James Madison University
Benjamin Peck – Pace University
Carolyn Radcliff – Chapman University
Michelle Reed – University of Kansas
Stephanie Rosenblatt – Cerritos College
Heidi Senior – University of Portland
Chelsea Stripling – Florida Institute of Technology
Kathryn Sullivan – University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Rosalind Tedford – Wake Forest University
Sherry Tinerella – Arkansas Tech
Kim Whalen – Valparaiso University

Standard Setters
Joseph Aubele – California State University, Long Beach
Stephanie Brasley – California State University Dominguez Hills
Jennifer Fabbi – California State University San Marcos
Hal Hannon – Palomar and Saddleback Colleges
Elizabeth Horan – Coastline Community College
Monica Lopez – Cerritos College
Natalie Lopez – Palomar College
Talitha Matlin – California State University San Marcos
Cynthia Orozco – East Los Angeles College
Stephanie Rosenblatt – Cerritos College

The Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy (TATIL) measures student knowledge and dispositions regarding information literacy. The test is inspired by the Association of College and Research Libraries' Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education and by expectations set by the nation's accrediting
agencies. TATIL offers librarians and other educators a better understanding of the information literacy capabilities of their students. These insights inform instructors of improvement areas, guide course instruction, affirm growth following instruction, and prepare students to be successful in learning and life. Each test is made up of a combination of knowledge items and disposition items.
...continue reading "It’s Here! Announcing the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy!"

Investigating Information Literacy Among Occupational Therapy Students at Misericordia University Using SAILS Build-Your-Own-Test

BY: Elaina DaLomba, PhD, OTR/L, MSW
Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy Department
Misericordia University

Information literacy (IL) skills, as a component of evidence-based practice (EBP), are critical for healthcare practitioners. Most Occupational Therapy programs and the American Occupational Therapy Association require that curricula address IL/EBP skills development. However, evidence shows that occupational therapists don’t utilize IL/EBP once they graduate. Therapists don’t feel they possess the resources or skills to find current and applicable evidence in the literature. At Misericordia University’s Occupational Therapy program we decided to look at our student’s IL/EBP skills and trial a different method to enhance students’ skills. Measuring these constructs in a way that has clinical meaning is difficult. Misericordia uses SAILS for pre and post testing of all students’ IL skills development (during freshman and senior year) so it seemed a natural fit to use this within a research project. We didn’t want to collect unnecessary data due to time constraints so we chose the Build Your Own Test (BYOT), with three questions from each of the first six skill sets of SAILS. These 18 questions could be answered quickly and the data would be analyzed for us. This freed us up to focus on the qualitative portions of our research. Although the SAILS BYOTs don’t have reliability and validity measures particular to them (because they are individually constructed), the overall metrics of the SAILS are very good.

We designed an intensive embedded librarian model to explore what impact this would have on students' skill development in IL standards one, two, and three as per the objectives of our Conceptual Foundations of Occupational Therapy course. The librarian handled all of the pre and post-testing having the students simply enter their SAILS unique identifier codes (UIC) on computers in the library’s lab. Students then used their SAILS UIC for all study related protocols. The intervention started with an interactive lecture in the computer lab with simple, but thorough instructional sheets for the students to use throughout the semester. For each clinical topic introduced the instructor used the librarian’s model to create and complete searches in vivo, allowing the students to add, modify, or eliminate words, Boolean operators, MESH terms etc. The librarian was an active presence on our Blackboard site and maintained office hours within the College of Health Sciences and Education. Students were also instructed to bring their database search strategies and results for approval from the librarian prior to writing their research papers, exposing them to her knowledge, even if they had chosen not to access her assistance initially. The data will be analyzed in spring 2017, but data collection was a breeze!

The SAILS BYOT gave us meaningful, quantitative data in a quickly delivered format. While we might not conduct this same study again, we will continue to use SAILS BYOT for program development and course assessment due its ease of use and practical data.