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It can be a challenge to decide which SAILS or TATIL test is the best one for your needs. Here I will take a few minutes to explain why we offer so many test options and how to determine which one is right for you.

The construct of information literacy is very broad. If you think about it as a light spectrum, it includes everything from infrared to ultraviolet. Many important concepts such as authority, intellectual property, search strategies, scholarship, and research are included. There is a lot to cover if you are going to assess your students’ information literacy capabilities. In order to make testing of these concepts manageable, we have grouped them in various ways.

Project SAILS has eight skill sets that we developed using the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education as a source for our
learning objectives. There are 162 test questions across the eight skill sets. The skill sets allow for in-depth scoring.

Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy (TATIL) has four modules. Using the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy as a guide, our advisory board created performance indicators for the entire IL construct that we then combined into modules. There are a total of 101 test questions across the four modules. These modules allow for in-depth scoring.

We think it's important to make tests that can be administered in a standard class hour. This means we cannot ask a student to answer every SAILS question or every TATIL question. Instead students answer a subset of the full test question bank.

We would also like to be able to give each student an individual score when possible. For many institutions receiving individual student scores is necessary in order to achieve their goals. Having individual scores also means we can generate a custom report for each student highlighting their strengths and making recommendations.

I have covered the three aspects of information literacy testing. We call these Breadth, Depth, and Individualization. Breadth indicates how much of the IL construct is covered, from partial to complete. Depth indicates how granular the reporting is, from shallow to deep. And Individualization indicates whether an individual student receives a score.

When having someone do a job for you, the old saying goes: Good, cheap, fast -- pick two. When deciding on a testing option you have a similar choice: Breadth, Depth, Individualization -- pick two. Here’s why:

...continue reading "SAILS and TATIL: Why Are There So Many Test Options?"

Carrick Enterprises has begun to modernize the Project SAILS web site, administrator tools, and reports. This work will continue through the 2017-2018 academic year and will be put into production June 15, 2018. There will be no disruption of service during this work and all existing information will be migrated to the new system.

What’s new:

Peer institution scoring

You will select the tests from your peer institutions to include as a cross-institutional score. This will be reported with all score reporting except your Custom Demographic Questions. You will continue to see cross-institutional scores by institution type, however, you will now be able to include multiple institution types in these scores.

On-demand Cohort report creation

Cohort reports will no longer be restricted to being created at the end of December and the beginning of June. Once you have stopped testing, you will be able to configure your report for production. As long as all of the tests you have included in your peer institution list are completed, your report will be generated overnight and available to you the following day. Your payment will still be required to have been received by us before you can download your report.

Student reports for Individual Scores

You will have the option to display an individualized analysis of your students’ performance when they complete the test. They will have the option to download this report as a PDF document. If you choose to not display this report to your students, you will still receive the reports in your report download.

Detailed narrative report for Individual Scores

In addition to student data, you will receive a narrative report analyzing your students’ performance on the test. This report is something that can be shared with your faculty collaborators and your library administration.

Student activity monitoring

You will be able to monitor in real-time how far along your students are as they take the test. You will see the Student Identifier (which will be called the Student Key), start time, and page number that they are currently answering. You will still be able to download a list of Student Keys that have completed the test. This will continue to include the start time, end time, and number of seconds elapsed for each student.

What’s changing:

...continue reading "Project SAILS Enhancements in the Works"

As you may be aware, Project SAILS has been operated by Carrick Enterprises, Inc. since 2012.  Two of the original SAILS team members formed the company in order to continue providing the SAILS tests to institutions throughout the United States and, starting this year, around the world.

Project SAILS is based on the 2000 ACRL Competency Standards for Information Literacy in Higher Education.  With the upcoming move to the new ACRL Framework, Carrick Enterprises will be developing an entirely new assessment instrument. This is a big job and we plan to provide more information about the instrument at the ACRL conference in March in Portland.

We are extremely happy to be able to announce that Dr. April Cunningham has taken on the job of coordinating the design of this new instrument. April is the Instruction/Information Literacy Librarian at Palomar College, a comprehensive community college in northern San Diego County. She is active on the Learning Outcomes Council, which coodinates institutional student learning outcomes assessments (including assessment of Palomar's general education information literacy outcome).  She is also one of the curriculum developers/facilitators for ACRL's Assessment in Action project. We could not have found a more qualified person to lead this effort. Please help us welcome April to the project!

We have been working hard to improve the SAILS tests and the results of all of that work will become available beginning in June. Here are the changes you can look forward to for the next academic year.

Informed Consent

Because of the requirements of Kent State University, your students had to be given the choice to opt-out of allowing their responses to be used.  That requirement ends this June. We've updated the SAILS tools to allow you to include the informed consent agreement if your institution requires it. If you turn on the informed consent option, your students will be presented with the following question before beginning the test:

May we use your responses for our research project?

Only students who agree to allow their response to be used will be included in your report. This option is available for both the Cohort and Individual Scores versions of the SAILS tests.

Custom Demographics

Currently you have only been able to include up to nine responses for each of your custom demographic questions. Beginning in June you will be able to include up to 50 responses per question. This will allow you to ask more complex questions and report out in more detail. This change is available for both the Cohort and Individual Scores versions of the SAILS tests.

Benchmarks for Individual Scores

Beginning in June, when you complete an administration of the Individual Scores version of the SAILS tests, you will be able to download an additional spreadsheet with benchmark data. The benchmark will include data for the previous three years. The spreadsheet will include benchmarks for similar-type institutions, institutions in the same country, all institutions, and, optionally, your pre-defined consortium. There will be an overall table for these benchmarks by demographic variable as well as a table with details for each item in the version of the test you administered.

SPSS Instructions for Individual Scores Results

When you complete the administration of an Individual Scores test, your report of student performance comes in the form of a spreadsheet. We realize that conducting extensive analyses of the data is not an easy task so we have created a guide for this purpose. The guide offers advice and step-by-step instructions for working with the data in SPSS to answer questions about how performance varies across various factors, such as majors and class standing. The guide will be available in June.

Price Change

With these enhancements comes a price change, although we will continue to keep our pricing affordable and easy to understand. The new price for the Cohort version of the SAILS test will be $5.00 per student up to 1,000 students and then $5,000 up to 5,000 students. There is still a minimum of 50 students required.

The Individual Scores version of the SAILS test will be $6.00 per student up to 1,000 students and then $6,000 up to 5,000 students with no minimum number of students required.

The price changes will go into effect on June 15, 2014. The SAILS tests remain the most economical way to assess your students' information literacy skills.

By request of the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Task Force we are posting their announcement:

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) invites you to attend one of their free online open forums to learn more about the work of their task force appointed to oversee substantial revisions to the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education that will be completed by June 2014. The Information Literacy Standards for Higher Education, first adopted in 2000, have defined information literacy for librarians, educators, and assessment agencies. The task force is working on a new approach that underscores the critical need for faculty members and librarians to collaborate to effectively address information literacy education that aligns with disciplinary content. While the exact approach is still under discussion, two new elements will be incorporated: threshold concepts and metaliteracy. These two foundational elements should provide the basis for more sustained collaborations with disciplinary faculty and create more aligned teaching and learning communities at the institutional level.

During the online open forum you will learn about the direction the task force is taking with the revisions, the composition of the group, and opportunities for you to provide feedback or ask questions about the process. Due to limited space we ask you to attend as a group under one registration. We encourage you to include stakeholders from across campus including but not limited to librarians, faculty, provosts, academic support services, general education curriculum committees, and members of accrediting agencies.

There is no charge to participate in an online open forum and each lasts one hour. Online open forums will be held:

• Thursday, October 17, 10am Pacific/11am Mountain/noon Central/1pm Eastern

• Tuesday, October 29, 8am Pacific/9am Mountain/10am Central/11am Eastern

• Monday, November 4, 10am Pacific/11am Mountain/noon Central/1pm Eastern

Sign up is limited to 300 logins for each event, first-come first-served. Register now! Links to the recorded online open forums will be posted afterwards on the website.