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In October, we wrote a blog post about how we define information literacy at Project SAILS. We wanted to follow-up that post and discuss what we think it means to be information literate.

We agree with the standards and definitions Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) has laid out for information literacy, which is the reason we chose to base our test items off the ACRL information literacy standards. ACRL has also developed a set of performance indicators and outcomes that tie into each of its five standards. These indicators and outcomes give a clear indication of whether a student is defined as being information literate or in need of additional information literacy instruction.

Those institutions testing their students with our cohort assessment of information literacy receive a report with results broken out by ACRL standard and by a unique grouping of eight skill sets. We created the Project SAILS skills sets by regrouping the ACRL standards, performance indicators, outcomes, and objectives. The re-grouped skill sets give institutions a clearer picture of the specific skill(s) students are struggling most with, giving faculty and academic librarians the ability to tailor IL instruction to the specific needs of their students. Our hope is that by forming these skill sets, the data you receive is more practical because you are able to easily identify and target the weakest skill areas, such as developing a research strategy, retrieving sources, evaluating sources, and so on.

To see examples of the test reporting based on ACRL standards and our skill sets, download a sample report.

Our individual assessment of information literacy uses a different measure to determine the information literacy skills of the students tested. Each report contains a list of questions asked, an overall score, and an indicator of which questions each student got right. The overall score is framed within a scale to determine the information literacy for each student. The three levels are as follows:

  • Below Proficiency Level: Lower than 70%
  • Proficiency Level: 70% - 84%
  • Mastery Level:  85% or Higher

These performance measures are provided in order to give test administrators context for the scores of their students and to indicate whether a student is information literate. The skill sets used for the cohort assessment are unavailable for the individual assessment because there are not enough data with a single student or even a single class. Want more information about what the reporting looks like? Click to see a sample report for our individual assessment of information.

Both of our information literacy test formats, individual and cohort, have been designed in order to provide you with a clear indication of the information literacy skills of your students, pinpoint the weak and strong areas, highlight growth following IL sessions with pre/post testing, and provide faculty and academic librarians with insights into the areas to focus your IL instruction around.

Register today to test your students with the Project SAILS information literacy test!

In October, we had the pleasure of attending the 2012 Annual ALAO Conference. It was great talking with fellow attendees at our booth and we enjoyed the empowering perspectives and ideas shared by the conference speakers. 

Company president Rick Wiggins at our booth for the 2012 Annual ALAO Conference
Company president Rick Wiggins at our booth for the 2012 Annual ALAO Conference

When library conference speakers bring in ideas and values from beyond the walls of librarianship, they help us see our world in new ways. At the ALAO conference, keynote speaker Lisa Hinchliffe highlighted a number of fantastic resources:

Lisa’s emphasis was how academic libraries can be indispensible to the higher education mission, as reflected in the title of her keynote, “First Be Valuable and Then Be Valued: Academic Library Impact.” This is an extension of the ACRL initiative on the value of academic libraries.  Explore this topic further with the following key resources

If you missed the conference but want to see some of what was talked about, see tweets from the conference, compiled by Meghan Frazer.  Thanks, Meghan!

Also, be sure to sign up for our monthly email newsletter full of valuable information for academic librarians, including our recent blog posts, helpful tips, and more!

A recent report from a British consulting and training group examines how researchers find published scholarly articles. Scott McLemee wrote a good description of the report in Inside Higher Education.

“One interesting point that the authors extract from the comments of participants is that many scholars remain unclear on the difference between a search engine and, say, a specialized bibliographical database.”

A 28-page summary of the report is available here (PDF, 3.7 MB)

The report provides insights for librarians who often partner with classroom faculty to teach students information literacy skills. Do we need to understand faculty information seeking behavior? What is our obligation to help faculty stay information literate?

 

 

Since the Project SAILS team came together in 2001, we have made it our mission to help academic librarians understand their students’ information literacy knowledge. We have made updates to the SAILS assessment, established both an individual and cohort test, and strived to keep the needs of academic librarians in mind.

Today we are building upon this mission with the launch of our blog!
Our hope is that this blog will become a resource center for academic librarians on all things information literacy. This includes:

  • Links to great resources to use in your course instruction and to share with your students
  • Tutorials and other resources to supplement one-shot information literacy sessions
  • Archiving and sharing great articles, blog posts, and more that we find on the topic of information literacy
  • Important news releases related to Project SAILS
  • Guest posts from experts on information literacy
  • Case studies of how institutions are using Project SAILS
  • Resources to share with non-library faculty to use in classroom instruction
  • Lesson plan/course instruction ideas for each skill set of information literacy

We also want this blog to be a way for academic librarians to have conversations with our team. So if you have any questions, suggestions, ideas for blog posts, or if you have specific needs for your course instruction that you would like us to address – please let us know!
Also, to be sure you don’t miss any of the great resources we will be sharing on our blog, sign-up for our email list!