Frequently Asked Questions

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ADMINISTERING AN ASSESSMENT
 
I created a session, but where do students go to take the assessment?
  Once you create a session, you are automatically taken to the MANAGE THIS SESSION page. At the bottom you will see the session URL. Students will type in the session URL to take the assessment.
 
If a student begins an assessment but does not have time to finish it, will he/she be able to complete the assessment at a later time?
  If the student has been assigned a student ID code, then the student may re-enter the assessment to finish it. When a student clicks on NEXT (or PREVIOUS) at the bottom of the screen of questions, TRAILS saves those answers. If the student continues with the assessment and gets only two more items answered before he/she runs out of class time, those last two answers will not be recorded. If the student clicks the FINISHED button, his/her assessment will be closed. No further questions can be answered and the assessment cannot be re-entered. If trouble occurs due to network failure or Internet traffic, the session can be restarted using the same process and student ID code. All of the student's previous responses will be present and the student can resume the assessment from the point he or she last attempted to respond.
 
How do I set up an assessment session for my students?
  After logging in, you will be taken to the MY ACCOUNT OPTIONS page. Click on CREATE AND MANAGE SESSIONS, then CREATE A NEW SESSION.
 
Are there any differences between General Assessment #1 and #2?
  General assessment #1 is focused more on students’ basic understanding of information literacy concepts. If your students have been performing well on general assessment #1 in the fall and you have been teaching information literacy concepts throughout the first term, please consider using general assessment #2 in the spring. General assessment #2 is focused more on students’ application of information literacy concepts.
 
Do you have a recommendation regarding pre- and post-testing?
  We recommend that you use the same assessment for both pre- and post-testing so the results will be more comparable. Usually there will be enough time between assessments that students won’t remember most of the questions. Also, the questions are delivered randomly each time, which will make it appear to be a different test to the students.
 
REPORTS
 
How do I view assessment reports?
  From CREATE AND MANAGE SESSIONS, click on the name of the session for which you want a report. The session must be closed in order to view a report. If the session is still open, change the status from OPEN to CLOSED using the drop-down menu. Once you close the session, you will see the available reports to the right of the word REPORTS. Click on the type of report that you wish to view—CLASS, STUDENT, or ONLINE REVIEW.
 
Can students view their own results so that they can see where they made mistakes?
  Yes, they can if you opted to use student codes. First, you must close the session, even if some of the students (perhaps they were absent) have not taken the assessment. To do this, go to CREATE AND MANAGE SESSIONS and click on the name of the session for which you want a report. Change the session’s status from OPEN to CLOSED using the drop-down menu. Once you close the session, you will see the available reports to the right of the word REPORTS. Click on ONLINE REVIEW. You will be taken to a page entitled REVIEWING A SESSION, and the directions at the top look similar to this:

Reviewing a Session

To review the session with students, have them go to
www.trails-9.org/session/nnnnn
(where nnnnn is the session ID) and sign in using their original student codes. Students will see the assessment items in the same order as you see them below. Their original responses will show in their individual views, and the correct responses will show in red.

NOTE: The session status must be set to "CLOSED" for this to function for the students.

Each student can see how he/she performed by comparing the correct response in red to where he/she placed the dot. If students only want to see a raw number score, print the STUDENT REPORT page, make a copy for yourself, then cut up the paper into strips so that each student will receive the score associated with his/her student ID code.
 
What is the difference between the three types of assessment reports?
  A class report gives the teacher a snapshot of how the class performed, including the range of student scores, the mean score, the percent correct in each category, and the percent of students who selected each answer (correct and incorrect). A student report is available if you chose to use student codes. The student report provides the raw score, the percentage of correct answers, and a graphical presentation of the percentage of items the student answered correctly. Scores are identified by student ID code only, not student name. Therefore, keep a list of the ID code each student was assigned. If you used student codes, the online review report option allows students to see how they performed on each item. Students must type the test URL and the individual student ID code to access this report option.
 
Can I view a sample report?
  After signing in, from MY ACCOUNT OPTIONS, click on VIEW SAMPLE REPORTS.
 
STUDENT CODES
 
How can I see scores for individual students?
  From MY ACCOUNT OPTIONS, click on CREATE AND MANAGE SESSIONS. After you click on the CREATE A NEW SESSION button, click on YES for STUDENT CODES and enter the number of codes you will need. You will get a PDF list of 4-digit student IDs, which you can then assign to individual students. You must enter student names on the list in order to match the IDs with specific students. The TRAILS system does not keep identifying information for any students. When all students have completed the assessment, you may view the STUDENT REPORT to see total scores for each student.
 
How can I use the same student IDs across multiple sessions so I can track individual student progress?
  From MY ACCOUNT OPTIONS, click on CREATE AND MANAGE SESSIONS, then CREATE A NEW SESSION. When setting up your new session, in the STUDENT CODES section, click on YES, COPY FROM A CLOSED SESSION and select the session name from the drop-down menu.
 
How do I change the number of students taking an assessment?
  From MY ACCOUNT OPTIONS, click on CREATE AND MANAGE SESSIONS. Find the assessment name in your List of Sessions and click on it. At the top of the page under the name of the session, click on the EDIT SESSION button. Type the number of student codes that you want to add in the box to the right of STUDENT CODES. Then, click on ADD. You will see the number of student codes change. Click on the SAVE EDITS button. At the present time you may not decrease the number of students taking the assessment. Unused student ID codes are completely ignored during report generation, so extra codes will not negatively affect your class report.
 
TRIAL SESSION
 
How do I set up a trial assessment session?
  After signing in, from MY ACCOUNT OPTIONS, click on CREATE AND MANAGE SESSIONS, then CREATE A NEW SESSION. When you set up a new session, check the box next to TRIAL SESSION.
 
I changed my mind and want to make the assessment a trial so that the data is not stored. Can I do that?
  You may do this at any time. After signing in, click on the CREATE AND MANAGE SESSIONS button. Find the assessment name in your List of Sessions and click on it. At the top of the page under the name of the session, click on the "Edit Session" button. Click in the box labeled TRIAL SESSION, and a check mark will appear. Click on the SAVE EDITS button. The "Edit Session" button also allows you to change the session name, the grade level tested, the assessment to be delivered (if no student has yet been tested), and increase the number of student ID codes.
 
ASSESSMENT INFORMATION
 
Are the two versions (# 1 and #2) of the general assessments and category assessments parallel?
  The content of the two assessment versions is parallel. However, with the general assessments, the first assessment is more basic, with more emphasis on definitions. The second assessment is more focused on application of the concepts.
 
I used assessment #1 as a pretest and assessment #2 as a posttest, then targeted instruction to address the weak areas. When students took assessment #2 at the end of the year, I did not see as much growth as I had expected. Why is that?
  If you use assessment #1 as a pretest and assessment#2 as a posttest, you may not see as much growth as you had anticipated. Assessment # 1 primarily assesses basic understanding of terminology, while assessment #2 assesses how well students apply their understanding of information literacy. A way to more clearly measure growth is to use the same assessment.
 
Why are some of the assessments #1 and #2 worth a different number of points?
  While assessments #1 and #2 have the same number of questions, they may not be worth the same number of points. Items with a single correct answer are worth one point. Items with several correct answers are worth multiple points—one point for each answer. If an answer is incorrect and the student does not check it because it is incorrect, then he/she earns one point for that. If a student checks an answer as correct when the answer is really incorrect, the student does not earn a point for that answer. Thus, a multiple response question with five answers (two incorrect and three correct) would be worth 5 points.
 
Are the items modified during the school year?
  No, the items remain stagnant during the school year. It is only during the summer that items are revised. Occasionally, an item may be completely eliminated during the summer.
 
What assessments are available?
  For ninth grade, there are two general assessments, as well as two assessments in each of the five categories (Develop Topic; Identify Potential Sources; Develop, Use, and Revise Search Strategies; Evaluate Sources and Information; Recognize How to Use Information Responsibly, Ethically, and Legally). For sixth grade there are two general assessments from the same five categories listed above.
 
For what grades is TRAILS suitable?
  Although the items are based on sixth- and ninth-grade content standards and guidelines, the assessment has been used for testing students from grade six through post-secondary.
 
Can I see sample questions?
  From HOME, click on HOW TRAILS WORKS and then SAMPLE ITEMS.
 
Can I see all the items in the different assessments?
  After signing in, from MY ACCOUNT OPTIONS, click on VIEW AVAILABLE ASSESSMENTS.
 
Under VIEW AVAILABLE ASSESSMENTS, what is the difference between the Student View and the Expanded View?
  The Student View shows you only what your students will see—the questions and the answer options. The Expanded View shows all of the following: the TRAILS Category, the AASL Information Power Standard/Indicator, the TRAILS Objective, the question, the answer options, and the correct answer in red.
 
How can I access the Expanded View?
  First, you must sign in and go to VIEW AVAILABLE ASSESSMENTS. Next, determine which assessment you want to view. Then, decide whether you want to examine version #1 or version #2 of that assessment. Click on the link that says Expanded View for the desired assessment.
 
How are items presented to students?
  Students will receive all items within a particular assessment randomly so that students sitting near each other will not be able to easily copy from others.
 
What style manual is used for assessment items?
  The presentation of items follows MLA style guidelines.
 
MANAGING SESSIONS
 
What is the difference between an open session, a closed session, and an archived session?
  An open session is one that has been created and is waiting for students to take the assessment. A closed session is one in which the students have completed the assessment and the report can be generated. A session must also be closed for students to review their answers using the Online Review feature. An archived session is one that you do not wish to access at the present time.
 
How do I close a session?
  From CREATE AND MANAGE SESSIONS, you will see your List of Sessions. Make sure that you are displaying the OPEN sessions. To do this, locate the colored STATUS box on the right. Click inside the box labeled OPEN and then click on VIEW. Click on the name of the session that you wish to close. To the right of CHANGE STATUS TO is a drop-down menu. Select CLOSED.
 
How do I reopen a session?
  From CREATE AND MANAGE SESSIONS, you will see your List of Sessions. Make sure that you are displaying the CLOSED sessions. To do this, locate the colored STATUS box on the right. Click inside the box labeled CLOSED and then click on VIEW. Click on the name of the session that you wish to reopen. To the right of CHANGE STATUS TO is a drop-down menu. Select OPEN.
 
How can I clean up my List of Sessions?
  From CREATE AND MANAGE SESSIONS, you will see your List of Sessions. The sessions that appear in the list are the ones that have the same status (open, closed, or archived) as the box/boxes checked under STATUS. If you only want to view your open sessions, then click in the OPEN status box on the right and then click the VIEW button. If you only want to view your closed sessions, then click in the CLOSED status box on the right and then click the VIEW button. If you only want to view your ARCHIVED sessions, then click in the ARCHIVED status box on the right and then click the VIEW button. See the directions above to learn how to change a session’s status.
 
ACCESSING TRAILS
 
I set up my account but am unable to log in. What am I doing wrong?
  After you request an account you should have received an e-mail confirmation. You must click on the link in the e-mail in order to activate your account.
 
I can log in from home but not from school. Is there something blocking my access?
  Cookies must be enabled in order for you to access the TRAILS system. Please ask the system administrator in your school for help.
 
GENERAL
 
How can I get help with information literacy lesson plans?
  Go to RELATED RESOURCES on the left. Both the Wiki for TRAILS and the ILILE links will take you to lesson plans and further Web resources for information literacy.
 
How can I use TRAILS to assess change in my students’ information literacy learning?
  If you need to show your administration or other teachers that information literacy instruction does make a difference, you may elect to share the scores from a pre/posttest. If you want to assess whether students have mastered the basic concepts and are able to apply them, then administer assessment #2 after you teach information literacy lessons based on weaknesses identified in assessment #1.
 
What is the cost of using TRAILS?
  Because of generous support from ILILE, IMLS, and Kent State University, there is no cost for library media specialists and teachers to use TRAILS.