Tips for Administering

TRAILS is a self-guided, self-administered assessment tool designed for use by library media specialists and teachers to determine the information literacy competencies of their high school students. Librarians and teachers at other grade levels may find it of use as well. Once an assessment is selected, the library media specialist or teacher can choose how to use it to serve local needs. These tips may provide helpful information to create an assessment experience most conducive to obtaining useful results.

Recruiting Classes to Use TRAILS

  • present the TRAILS site and project to faculty in a faculty meeting or teacher in-service.
  • work with an administrator to identify classes to target for TRAILS.
  • work with an established collaborative partner in administering TRAILS and then share the experience with faculty.
  • share information about TRAILS at a parent event.
  • administer TRAILS to a class then meet with the teacher after identifying areas of strength and weakness.

Assessment Environment

  • administer in a classroom/lab setting with the entire class taking TRAILS together.
  • have students take TRAILS at different times in a lab or in the library media center within the set parameters of the assessment period.
  • use TRAILS as a classroom group exercise.
  • divide students into small groups to work through TRAILS questions collaboratively.

Assessment Population

  • population taking TRAILS can be as small as one participant or as large as several grade levels.

Timing of TRAILS Administration

  • plan to administer to a group in the fall with retesting in the spring to see if there was an improvement following targeted instruction.
  • administer to a class of students in their freshman year and then repeat when they are in subsequent grades.
  • administer preceding a curriculum design meeting to identify strengths and weaknesses that could be incorporated into instruction.

Other Ideas

  • One-on-One: Work with a student or a small group of students to go through TRAILS questions with an instructor. This would allow for individualized instruction and opportunity for discussion.
  • Game Show: Create a fun learning opportunity with the instructor or one student serving as a “master of ceremonies” with students in the class answering TRAILS questions. Instructor could project the assessment on a large screen with a computer and projector. Instructor should have the answers available so feedback and discussion can occur during the assessment administration.
  • Information Literacy Curriculum Mapping: Following a TRAILS assessment, use results to map information literacy needs and opportunities across curricular areas. Meet with faculty in those identified areas to create an instructional strategy.