October Update: TATIL’s Versatility

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We’ve finished usability testing of the Module 4: The Value of Information items with a diverse group of undergraduates at a variety of institutions.  Soon we’ll have a version of the module ready for field testing.  At that point, all four of the modules will be available for you to try out with your students.

We’re also preparing for our lunch-time presentation at the ARL Library Assessment Conference on Tuesday, November 1.  So I’ve been thinking a lot about how TATIL can be used to support many different kinds of assessment needs.  Because of accreditation, we all need assessments that can compare students at different institutions, compare students over time, and compare students’ performance to selected standards or locally defined outcomes.  We also know that in order for assessment results to improve teaching and learning, they need to be specific, immediate, and actionable.  It can be hard to find assessments that can be used in these multiple ways and we’ve paid a lot of attention to making sure that TATIL is versatile, just like SAILS.

Because of the versatility made possible by a combination of cross-institutional comparisons, longitudinal results, disaggregation by student demographics, and detailed results reports for instructors and students, here are some of the ways I’ve heard librarians consider using IL test results to achieve their goals:

  • Gathering data for accreditation to show how students are achieving information literacy at the institutional level.
  • Supporting librarians’ liaison relationships by offering insight into how students’ IL test results differ from department to department and specifically which outcomes are weak for students in the targeted department.  This information makes it possible for liaison librarians to lay out a data-driven plan for their departments and strategically collaborate with faculty to infuse IL at key points throughout the curriculum.
  • If a library director’s goal is to raise campus-wide awareness of the good work being done in the library’s instruction program, the tests can arm her with the data she needs to show how students struggle with IL concepts as freshmen and new transfers, how much their IL improves following strategic interventions by librarians, and to argue how much students need ongoing support from the librarians’ dedicated instruction.
  • Assessment librarians looking for a tool that facilitates conversations among their colleagues in the library can use the test results to focus on student learning and the new IL outcomes suggested by the Framework.
  • And professors may use the tests in IL credit courses where students aren’t sure what IL is and probably aren’t easily convinced that they need it.  By giving students one of the modules of the Threshold Achievement Test of Information Literacy early in the course, students will get results that describe their strengths, weaknesses, and the strategies they could use to improve.  With that personalized feedback, students can be guided to set their own learning goals for the course, a process that’s been shown to improve student engagement and persistence.

You may already be thinking of other ways to use TATIL, too.  If you haven’t already, get started with the field testing now to find out more about how the modules will work for you.

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