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Photo illustration of creativity and ideasThis spring I had the opportunity to attend the California Academic and Research Libraries (CARL) Conference in April, the LOEX Conference in May, and the California Conference on Information Literacy (CCLI) in June.  These were excellent learning opportunities, as always, and I’m happy to share a few highlights from each.

CARL: It was wonderful to see the excellent work being done by librarians throughout California.  Elizabeth Horan and Brian Green, two of my colleagues in the community college system, reflected on the results of their recent survey of students about their study habits and preferences.  Take-aways included the high number of students at both of their colleges who report studying in their cars.  This highlighted the importance of mobile interfaces for library websites and article databases, since many of these students also reported accessing information on their phones or tablets.  It also suggests the importance of creating spaces for individual studying, not just group studying, when libraries are redesigned and shows the value of permitting food in study spaces, when possible, in order to ensure that the library is as comfortable for studying as a car.  I also got inspired by Del Williams’ presentation about hosting hip hop and spoken word performances by a student art collective in the Cal State University, Northridge library over the past year.  ...continue reading "April’s Spring Conference Round-up"

At Carrick Enterprises, we talk with librarians about their information literacy goals and their need for assessments that provide specific, immediate, and actionable results. Our customers have questions like these:

  • What information literacy data can we contribute to our institution's accreditation self study?
  • How can we demonstrate the value of the library to our campus administrators?
  • What role do dispositions have in information literacy? How can I understand my students' information literacy dispositions and encourage them?
  • At what point are students capable of critically assessing the information they encounter?
  • How does student information literacy differ at lower and upper division levels?
  • I want a tool that helps us know are we meeting our institutional learning outcome goals for information literacy.
  • I would like to guide my students in gaining a deeper understanding of their IL strengths and weaknesses. At the beginning of our IL course, I want them to explore what information literacy is and why they need it, as well as get feedback about where they can improve.
  • What can I tell my faculty colleagues about information literacy outcomes on our campus? I want to have focused conversations with them that lead to common priorities and collaborations.

...continue reading "Get Ready for Fall 2018: Planning for Information Literacy Assessment"

Sign reading Good Cheap Fast
Credit: cea+ www.flickr.com/photos/centralasian/4534292595 CCBY2.0

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?"

Cynthia Kane, Emporia State University
Cynthia Kane, Emporia State University, Kansas, USA

Cynthia Kane joined the Advisory Board of the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy in 2017. Here she answers questions about her work and her passion for assessment.

Question: Please tell us about your current job. 

Cynthia: I am currently the Director of Assessment at the Emporia State University Libraries and Archives. I oversee all aspects of assessment initiatives in our program, including information literacy assessments. I also represent the Libraries and Archives on two university-wide committees:  the Student Learning Assessment Council and the Higher Learning Commission Leadership Team. I really enjoy these last two opportunities because it’s given me a wider audience to highlight the impact of the academic library in student learning and success throughout their undergraduate and graduate careers.

Q: Do you teach? How has your approach to teaching changed since you started? ...continue reading "Meet the TATIL Advisory Board: Cynthia Kane"

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"