About the Assessment
TRAILS is a knowledge assessment with multiple-choice questions targeting a variety of information literacy skills based on 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th grade standards. The assessment items are based on the American Association of School Librarians’ Standards for the 21st-Century Learner and those from the Common Core State Standards Initiative that have been adopted by most states.

The Web-based system was developed to provide an easily accessible and flexible tool for school librarians and teachers to identify strengths and weaknesses in the information-seeking skills of their students. It is made available at no cost to users.

More about the assessment

About Your Privacy
Ensuring privacy of participants was a key objective in the design of TRAILS. Privacy assurances for students, school librarians, and schools are in place.

Details about privacy assurances

About the Project
TRAILS is a project of Kent State University Libraries. It was envisioned as a tool that would provide a snapshot of high school students’ understanding of basic information literacy concepts and as a fitting complement to Libraries’ high school outreach program. TRAILS has since expanded its reach to cover grades 3 through 12.

Initial support for TRAILS was provided through the University Libraries’ grant partnership with the Institute for Library and Information Literacy Education (ILILE), which was a Federally funded initiative of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the U.S. Department of Education. ILILE was established to provide local, regional, and national leadership in fostering successful collaboration among K-12 teachers and school librarians who are concerned with advancing library and information literacy in the K-12 school curriculum. Grant partners at Kent State University include the College and Graduate School of Education, Health, and Human Services; the School of Library and Information Science; and University Libraries.

Development on the 9th grade version of TRAILS began in 2004, and it was made publicly available in 2006. This was followed by the creation of a 6th grade tool that went live in 2008. With support from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation and an LSTA grant from the State Library of Ohio, the 3rd and 12th grade tools were developed in 2009-10 and went live in Fall 2010. Since its inception and by Fall 2010, TRAILS has been used by over 8,900 librarians throughout the United States and 30+ countries and administered to more than 288,000 students.

TRAILS Development Timeline

About the Project Team

Kenneth J. Burhanna, M.L.S., TRAILS Project Director; Assistant Dean for Engagement & Outreach, Kent State University Libraries

Vanessa Earp, M.L.S., M.S., Librarian for Education, Kent State University Libraries

Meghan Harper, Ph.D., Associate Professor; Coordinator, School Library Program; School of Library & Information Science, Kent State University

Tammy Eschedor Voelker, M.L.S., Reference & Instruction Librarian, Kent State University Libraries

Barbara F. Schloman, Ph.D., TRAILS Founding Member, Kent State University Libraries (Emeritus)

Jennifer Schwelik, M. Ed., TRAILS Project Manager

David L. Bird, Software Engineer
Joseph A. Salem, Jr., Ph.D., TRAILS Statistical Consultant; Associate Dean for Learning, Undergraduate Services and Commonwealth Campus Libraries, The Pennsylvania State University