Assessing the assessment: how institutions administered, interpreted, and used SAILS
Article publication date: 16 February 2010
This paper seeks to address the administration of Standardized Assessment of Information Literacy Skills (SAILS), the use of SAILS report data, and respondent perceptions of the utility of SAILS at institutions that comprise the “All Institutions Benchmark” – the institutions which participated in the SAILS testing through the Spring 2007 testing period.
An online survey was used to collect qualitative and quantitative data for the study. Overall response rate for the survey was 63.9 percent. Disregarding unusable responses, the response rate for the data analysis was 57.8 percent.
The large majority of institutions used convenience sampling in administering SAILS. With regard to the SAILS report data, there are indications that those institutions that received support for data analysis were more likely to find the results useful; the utility of the SAILS report data can also be correlated with institutional type.
Results from this study suggest that SAILS can be most effective if there is statistical/institutional research support for data analysis, if the sampling method for selecting test takers is more rigorous, if SAILS is used in conjunction with other instruments, and if the SAILS data is correlated with other institutional data.
There have been few published studies on the large‐scale administration of standardized information literacy assessments. Moreover, there has been no other published research study assessing multiple institutions' experience of administering SAILS and using SAILS results. Institutions interested in the use of SAILS and other well‐known standardized information literacy tests will find this paper especially relevant.
Lym, B., Grossman, H., Yannotta, L. and Talih, M. (2010), "Assessing the assessment: how institutions administered, interpreted, and used SAILS", Reference Services Review, Vol. 38 No. 1, pp. 168-186. https://doi.org/10.1108/00907321011020806
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