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Assessing Information Literacy Skills with TRAILS and ResearchReady

Traditionally, educators have assessed their students’ information literacy skills through reading their papers and grading their research projects. But as more educators are seeing the benefits of formative assessment and there is less time to assign research projects, many educators are turning to other means of evaluating the research skills students need to succeed.

Many educators have found that TRAILS is a great way to assess student understanding of important research skills. TRAILS is a freely available assessment platform created by Kent State University Libraries. These assessments are aligned with both Common Core State Standards and American Association of School Librarians’ Standards for the 21st-Century Learner. The assessment content covers research skills for students in grades 3, 6, 9 and 12.

The TRAILS style of research assessment allows educators to get a good understanding of student research skills BEFORE they start working on their papers. This helps ensure that students are get the right kind of research practice (they aren’t wasting their time using poor research techniques) and that they can create a solid product at the end of their research process. The questions are thorough, well-thought out, and address all important information literacy concepts. They also are scaffolded out for 3rd grade, 6th grade, 9th grade and 12th grade students, so that teacher can select the questions appropriate to their students.

If your students have taken the TRAILS assessment and you’ve found that they are struggling with research basics, you may find that your students would benefit from the instructional content in ResearchReady’s online platform. ResearchReady is also aligned with Common Core and AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner. We currently have 3 different levels of course content (middle school, high school, and college) available to teach your students important information literacy skills. Our assessment questions provide immediate feedback for your students, and help teachers see where exactly students are struggling.

TRAILS assessment and ResearchReady’s content are a great compliment to each other. So if you are interested in preparing your students for college-level research, check us out!

Caity Selleck is the in-house librarian for EasyBib and ResearchReady. You can find her on Twitter, @Caity_EasyBib, or posting news you can use at the EasyBib Librarians Facebook page.