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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.

Reinventing Libraries: Reinventing Assessment
Baruch College, New York, New York USA
June 6, 2012
Proposal deadline is March 1, 2014.

California Conference on Library Instruction
CSU East Bay, Oakland, California USA
April 18, 2014.
Poster session proposals due March 4, 2014.

See the full list of information literacy conferences and calls for proposals.

SAILS participants often ask if our information literacy assessments can be customized with additional questions. The answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no.’

The test questions themselves cannot be changed and no test questions can be added. The calibrations, scoring, reliability, and reporting all depend on having one set of validated test questions for all participants.

However, we do offer the option for participants to slightly modify two standard demographic questions and to create two custom questions.

Standard Demographic Questions

All test administrations have two standard demographic questions, class standing and major.

Shown to the right is a screenshot test administrators see when completing these standard Custom labelsdemographic questions. Test administrators can re-name class standings  and major labels to fit their institution. Another option is to delete class standings and majors that are not needed. These changes allow each test administrator to customize class standing and major labels to match the terminology used at their institution.

Creating Custom Questions

You have the option to create two custom questions of your own choosing. Each question can be up to 255 characters long (typically 30 – 40 words) and with up to nine responses of 40 characters each. In June 2014, the number of response options will increase from nine to fifty.

What kind of questions would you want to create? Perhaps you want to compare test performance among students enrolled in certain courses. Or you want to see if students who had prior information literacy instruction score higher than those who did not. We analyzed years’ worth of custom question created by our participants and discovered that most custom questions fall into these categories:


The Value of Custom Questions

Custom questions not only allow test administrators to learn more about the students taking the assessment, but they also make the data received more valuable.

By having additional information about test takers, administrators are able to slice the data in more ways in order to develop additional findings that can lead to positive changes in instruction. For example, by asking if students have received information literacy instruction from a previous course, test administrators are able to understand if these courses are having a positive impact on the information literacy skills of these students versus peers who have not received prior instruction.

Project SAILS is dedicated to providing valuable data to testing institutions and we have seen the addition of custom demographic questions provide additional value to those utilizing them. We hope that whether you are setting up your first test administration or your tenth, you find a way to utilize custom demographic questions to their full potential.

Ready to start? Register for a free account and begin your test administration today!