Diane Dalrymple–librarian: testing the test

ALA Prof Photo 1Diane Dalrymple, Librarian, east campus, is using this year’s Freeda Foreman Chair in Collaborative and Creative Problem Solving to solve a problem of an unusual sort: to explore the question of whether a standardized test, Project SAILS (Standardized Assessment of Information Literacy Skills), will work to gauge the literacy skills of Valencia students.

The test is planned for spring, 2016, and at that time, she will administer the test in collaboration with the East Campus English faculty.

The goal is to find a test that will analyze critical thinking information literacy skills by testing eight skills sets based on standards created by the Association of College and Research Libraries.

 “My personal learning outcome is to evaluate the potential application of Project SAILS (a summative information literacy assessment tool designed to analyze students’ abilities to locate, evaluate, and effectively use information from diverse sources) to measure Valencia student’s information literacy skills,” says Ms. Dalrymple.

 The goal of this project is to find and implement an effective method of testing students for their oDalrymple Portrait (1)perational information literacy (IL) skills as required by general education outcomes. Project SAILS tests for eight information literacy (IL) skill sets developed from the Association of College and Research Libraries Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. SAILS will provide Valencia’s cohort group IL knowledge level results on skill set scores, score by majors and class standing. SAILS will also compare Valencia’s average cohort scores to scores of similar types of institutions to Valencia. Scores from all institutions that tested in the same time period are used to create a benchmark file. Valencia’s average cohort scores will finally be compared to the benchmark scores.

 “For the past four years, as an Assessment Planning Team Leader for the library, my primary focus has b
een on developing appropriate tools for IL program level assessment. Students must learn how to analyze information with respect to its legitimacy and applicability. They need to become adept at discovering appropriate information sources, evaluating the information, and crediting its source.” All very important skills as more information is available, and with the increasing accessibility of online sources, many of which may or may not be, of useful provenance.

“The ability to choose and use information correctly is more than just a crucial academic skill. It is part of Valencia’s vision to inspire individuals to excellence and to instill an innate expertise for problem solving.”


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