Frequently Asked Questions

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I set up my account but am unable to log in. What am I doing wrong?

After you request an account, you receive an e-mail confirmation. You must click on the link in the e-mail in order to activate your account. If you do not see the confirmation e-mail, check your spam filter. If the problem is not resolved, use the Contact Us form on the website.

What is the cost of using TRAILS?

Because of generous support from grants and Kent State University, there is no cost for school librarians and teachers to use TRAILS.

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 TRAILS. Please ask the system administrator in your school for help.

Can I make changes to my account?

Yes, under MY ACCOUNT OPTIONS there is a link to EDIT MY ACCOUNT INFORMATION. This provides a means to update your email address as well as any other account details.


What assessments are available?

Two general assessments are available for grades 3, 6, 9, and 12. Additionally, each grade has a 10-item assessment for each of the TRAILS categories. After logging in to TRAILS, these can be reviewed using VIEW AVAILABLE ASSESSMENTS.

For what grades is TRAILS suitable?

Although the items are based on specific grade content standards and guidelines, the assessments are frequently used for assessing students both in lower and higher grades.

Can I see all the items in the different assessments?


Are there any differences between General Assessments #1 and #2?

No, both General Assessment #1 and #2 cover the same basic information literacy concepts.

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 answer options. The Expanded View shows all of the following: the TRAILS Category, the AASL Standard for the 21st Century Learner, the Common Core Standard, the TRAILS Objective, the question and answer options, and the correct answer in red.

How are items presented to students?

The default mode is for items to be delivered to students randomly, so that students sitting near each other will not be able to easily copy from others. However, there is an option available when creating a session under ITEM DELIVERY ORDER to choose ORDERED. All students will then take the assessment with the items presented in the same order.

What style manual is used for assessment items?

The presentation of items follows MLA style guidelines.

Are the items modified during the school year?

No, the items remain constant during the school year. Revisions only take place in the summer. Assessment item content may change from year to year.


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 on CREATE A NEW SESSION.

What do I need to do so that I will get information on individual student performance?

You will need to use TRAILS student codes. When creating your session, 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. Individual student results will then be accessible using the STUDENT REPORT or the DETAILED STUDENT REPORT.

How can I use the same student codes across multiple sessions so I can track individual student progress?

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?

Click on the session name in the LIST OF SESSIONS and then 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.

Why would I want to create a trial session?

The TRIAL SESSION feature is a good way to explore how TRAILS works and how it might serve your needs. You might also create a TRIAL SESSION to administer in a non-class setting to share with others. Importantly, data from trial sessions is not contributed to the results database.

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.

Can I make changes to my session?

Yes, on the MANAGE THIS SESSION page, click on the EDIT SESSION button. You will then be able 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.


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. In the center of the page, you will see the session URL that students will use to connect to the assessment. You will also see a link for ADMINISTRATION DETAILS/INSTRUCTIONS that will provide the student codes if you have elected to use them.

If a student begins an assessment but does not have time to finish it or the session is otherwise interrupted, will he/she be able to complete the assessment at a later time?

If the student has been assigned a TRAILS code, then the student may re-enter the assessment to finish it. TRAILS will have saved answers only for those pages where the student clicked on NEXT (or PREVIOUS) at the bottom of the screen of questions. 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.

Do you have a recommendation regarding pre- and post-testing?

We recommend that you use the same assessment for both pre- and post-testing to insure the results are 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.


How do I view assessment reports?

From CREATE AND MANAGE SESSIONS, click on the name of the session for which you want a report. Click on the type of report that you wish to view CLASS, STUDENT, DETAILED STUDENT, or ONLINE REVIEW. To use ONLINE REVIEW, you must close the session.

What is the difference between the four types of assessment reports?

The CLASS REPORT (PDF) provides detailed information on class performance for each item. The STUDENT REPORT (PDF) is available if you chose to use student codes. It presents the raw score, the percentage of correct answers, and a graphical presentation of the percentage of items the student answered correctly. The DETAILED STUDENT REPORT provides the most information on individual student performance. For general assessments, in addition to total percent correct by student code, it gives percent correct by category. This report is a .csv file that can be downloaded and then imported into an application such as Excel. ONLINE REVIEW also requires that student codes were used. This report option allows students to see how they performed on each item. To access students must type the test URL and input their individual TRAILS code The items will appear in the same order for all students participating in the 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. Go to CREATE AND MANAGE SESSIONS to change the session’s status from OPEN to CLOSED using the drop-down menu. You will see the available reports to the right of the word REPORTS. Click on ONLINE REVIEW, and you will be taken to a page entitled REVIEWING A SESSION. It will give you the URL for students to use to sign in using their original TRAILS code. Items will be presented in the same order to each student. Student original responses will show in their individual views, and the correct responses will show in red.

Can I view a sample report?

After signing in, from MY ACCOUNT OPTIONS, click on VIEW SAMPLE REPORTS.

Are there any benchmarks that I can compare my students to?

Yes, each fall we post the benchmarks for the previous school year. Benchmarks are only provided for General Assessment #1 for which there were at least 500 U.S. students at grade level who took the assessment.


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 available for administering to students. A closed session is one in which the students have completed the assessment. A session must 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. There is an option available to remove archived sessions from view on your LIST OF SESSIONS.

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 STATUS box to the right allows you to choose which sessions you want to be viewable on this LIST OF SESSIONS. You may, for example, only want to view your open sessions. However, at any time you can elect to bring other status sessions into view. At this time, you cannot delete a session. Archiving is the closest option TRAILS offers to deletion.


How can I get help with information literacy lesson plans?

Go to the RELATED RESOURCES link. The Wiki for TRAILS link will take you to lesson plans, tips for using TRAILS, and further Web resources for information literacy.

Do you have any recommendation to help prepare students for college?

RELATED RESOURCES also provides a link to the Transitioning to College (T2C) site. T2C provides resources for both students and librarians about the college experience and the role of libraries. This is a brand-neutral site and another service of Kent State University Libraries.