More About the Assessment

Assessments: What’s available?

General Assessments cover each of the five information 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). These assessments are available for each grade level, with number of items varying by grade.

Category Assessments have items limited to that specific category and are only 10 items in length. These assessments are available for each grade level also.

For each assessment choice there are two versions. The assessment versions are parallel in terms of concepts addressed.

  • 3rd grade: two general assessments (15 items each), 5 category assessments (10 items each)
  • 6th grade: two general assessments (20 items each), 5 category assessments (10 items each)
  • 9th grade: two general assessments (25 items each), 5 category assessments (10 items each)
  • 12th grade: two general assessments (30 items each), 5 category assessments (10 items each)

Reports: What feedback is provided?

  • Class report: The class report provides detailed information on class performance for each item. Results are reported for each item by number and percentage of students choosing each possible response, with correct responses highlighted.
  • Student report: The student report gives the total score for each individual student code. If you selected YES for STUDENT CODES when setting up your assessment session and recorded student names with the IDs before students took the assessment, you will be able to determine how individual students performed overall, as well as see their individual percentage scores by category.
  • Online review: This feature allows students to view their responses to the assessment as well as the correct responses, so they can receive immediate feedback. Student codes are required to use this feature.

Scores: What do they mean?

The student score provided by TRAILS is not meaningful in and of itself. We cannot say that the numeric score is a definitive measure of a student’s information literacy knowledge. What the score does provide is a measure of attainment relative to other students who have taken the same assessment.

Using Results

The individual student score may be used to determine students’ performance relative to each other. The class report may be used to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses in students’ understanding of specific concepts related to information literacy, which will assist in targeting your instructional efforts. The online review may be done individually or as part of a class exercise, and provides students with individualized feedback.

The Development Process

TRAILS consultants review information literacy standards in both the Ohio Academic Content Standards (ACS) and the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) documents and place them within the appropriate TRAILS categories. Objectives are then written to address these competencies, followed by the writing of items based on the objectives. These draft items are then field-tested by volunteer school librarians working with students at the designated grade level.

Data from the field tests are analyzed along with comments from the participating school librarians. Items are revised as needed and placed into assessments for the upcoming school year. Response data are analyzed annually to determine if revisions to items are needed.