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Assessment Results

2014 Student Information Literacy Assessment and High School Information Literacy Curriculum Survey



During the first week of the fall 2014 semester 209 students enrolled in English 101 (Composition I) at Sauk Valley Community College participated in an online Information Literacy assessment developed by librarians at Kent State University. The Tool for Real-time Assessment of Information Literacy Skills – or TRAILS – is designed to measure students’ knowledge and skills in the following 5 categories:

1. Define the Information Need

2. Identify Sources of Information

3. Access Information Efficiently and Effectively

4. Evaluate Information

5. Use Information Ethically and Responsibly


The 9th grade level assessment was chosen because prior experience with students in a graduate-level course and with library staff had revealed the challenging nature of 12th grade level assessment. One group of 23 students participated in a separate session so that their individual scores could be tracked by their instructor.

Composite results of both groups reflect the following success rates for each category:

1. Define the Information Need - 49%           

2. Identify Sources of Information - 63%

3. Access Information Efficiently and Effectively - 67%

4. Evaluate Information - 58%

5. Use Information Ethically and Responsibly - 55%


Analysis of the success rates with each question reflect the following needs for remediation:



At the same time, surveys were mailed to principals, language arts faculty, and library media specialists in high schools located in the Sauk Valley Community College district, to determine which Information Literacy skills are being incorporated into their curricula. Representatives from 15 of 17 high schools responded to the survey, and their responses reflect an admirable commitment to teaching these vital skills to students. As reflected by survey responses, the following skills or competencies are those which are not being included in the curricula of at least three schools:


Based upon the results of the assessment and the survey, a curriculum for remediation of Information Literacy knowledge and skills should include:

1. Review of the research process

2. Selecting and refining a topic to fit the scope of an assignment

3. Information sources and formats - their characteristics, strengths, and appropriateness for various information needs

4. The organization of information: Library of Congress Classification for finding books

5. The organization of information: understanding how information is stored, for more successful retrieval

6. Advanced online searching, including Boolean searching, truncation, nesting, and guided searching in online research databases

7. Evaluating information: determining the authority of an information source

8. Evaluating information: determining whether a resource effectively covers a topic

9. Evaluating information: determining the credibility of an information source

10. Copyright basics for students