TRAILS: Tool for Real-time Assessment of Information Literacy Skills


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TRAILS is an online knowledge assessment tool for information literacy skills created by Kent State University Libraries.  The multiple-choice questionnaire targets 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th graders.  The assessment is based on the Ohio Academic Content Standards and the AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner.

Teachers and librarians can help students identify their strengths and weaknesses in information-seeking skills.  Sections include: developing a topic; identifying potential sources; using and revising search strategies; evaluating sources; and recognizing how to use information ethically.

TRAILS is an eight year old program that is consistently expanding.  The project creators are credible, and overall the idea is a good example of successful academic and school library collaborations.  Some librarians might think that a formal assessment tool with a standardized test feel is unnecessary.  This is certainly not an engaging way to assess students, but perhaps the most efficient way.  There are other ways to informally assess student skills during the research process, if the librarian sees fit.

For more information on how TRAILS might be used in a K-12 library setting, check out the following article:

Yutzey, Susan D.  “Five Years Later: A Look at Building and Triangulating Evidence in a School Library.” Library Media Connection.  Aug/Sept. 2010: 14-16.


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