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Nancy Jones, Retired Administrator of Support Services at Encinitas Union School District in Encinitas, California, USA


Dr. Nancy Jones is a founding member of the Advisory Board of the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy. In this interview, conducted by email, she tells us about her work as a school district administrator in Southern California with a focus on working with teachers to make the most of assessment data. 

Nancy has been on the TATIL Advisory Board since the beginning. Her experience with schools and assessment has been invaluable.


Question: Please tell us a bit about your work with the Encinitas Union School District.

Nancy: During my 40+ years with the Encinitas Union School District I served in the positions of teacher, principal, and administrator/director of support services. My work at the district office level focused on data & assessment, state and federal special programs and resource development. I assisted teachers in transitioning to the new California digital assessments; trained them on utilizing data to inform their goal setting, instruction, and progress analysis; and provided instruction on assessment development. California adopted the Smarter Balanced Assessment System, which includes computer adaptive summative assessments, practice tests and interim assessments requiring teacher training for successful implementation. My role also involved assisting teachers to understand the power of using assessment data to address group and individual student growth and adapt their instruction to increase student progress. As data-driven decision-making has become a critical component to teacher effectiveness, I focused additional teacher training on assessment development using a high quality item bank selected by the district.  Assessment data were also used to establish need in the grant proposals I wrote for the district.

Q: What are you currently working on?

Nancy: As a retired educator, I have found that my education and experiences have been very useful in my new focus on community involvement. I am currently a member of the Community Advisory Board for the Altman Clinical and Transitional Research Institute (ACTRI) at the University of California, San Diego. The ACTRI is part of a national consortium created to accelerate laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients. Responsibilities of the Board include advocating on behalf of the general public on issues related to clinical research; recommending changes to clinical trials research strategies; and assisting with access to specific communities that are not adequately represented in outreach, UCSD research, or other CTRI resources. To increase my value to the Board I have volunteered with senior organizations and school enrichment programs. In addition, I am participating in higher education workshops and presentations to remain current on policy, research and national/global issues.

Q: What are your thoughts about the role and effectiveness of schools in preparing students for college? ...continue reading "Meet the TATIL Advisory Board: Nancy Jones"

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It can be a challenge to decide which SAILS or TATIL test is the best one for your needs. Here I will take a few minutes to explain why we offer so many test options and how to determine which one is right for you.

The construct of information literacy is very broad. If you think about it as a light spectrum, it includes everything from infrared to ultraviolet. Many important concepts such as authority, intellectual property, search strategies, scholarship, and research are included. There is a lot to cover if you are going to assess your students’ information literacy capabilities. In order to make testing of these concepts manageable, we have grouped them in various ways.

Project SAILS has eight skill sets that we developed using the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education as a source for our
learning objectives. There are 162 test questions across the eight skill sets. The skill sets allow for in-depth scoring.

Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy (TATIL) has four modules. Using the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy as a guide, our advisory board created performance indicators for the entire IL construct that we then combined into modules. There are a total of 101 test questions across the four modules. These modules allow for in-depth scoring.

We think it's important to make tests that can be administered in a standard class hour. This means we cannot ask a student to answer every SAILS question or every TATIL question. Instead students answer a subset of the full test question bank.

We would also like to be able to give each student an individual score when possible. For many institutions receiving individual student scores is necessary in order to achieve their goals. Having individual scores also means we can generate a custom report for each student highlighting their strengths and making recommendations.

I have covered the three aspects of information literacy testing. We call these Breadth, Depth, and Individualization. Breadth indicates how much of the IL construct is covered, from partial to complete. Depth indicates how granular the reporting is, from shallow to deep. And Individualization indicates whether an individual student receives a score.

When having someone do a job for you, the old saying goes: Good, cheap, fast -- pick two. When deciding on a testing option you have a similar choice: Breadth, Depth, Individualization -- pick two. Here’s why:

...continue reading "SAILS and TATIL: Why Are There So Many Test Options?"

Cynthia Kane, Emporia State University
Cynthia Kane, Emporia State University

Cynthia Kane joined the Advisory Board of the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy in 2017. Here she answers questions about her work and her passion for assessment.

Question: Please tell us about your current job. 

Cynthia: I am currently the Director of Assessment at the Emporia State University Libraries and Archives. I oversee all aspects of assessment initiatives in our program, including information literacy assessments. I also represent the Libraries and Archives on two university-wide committees:  the Student Learning Assessment Council and the Higher Learning Commission Leadership Team. I really enjoy these last two opportunities because it’s given me a wider audience to highlight the impact of the academic library in student learning and success throughout their undergraduate and graduate careers.

Q: Do you teach? How has your approach to teaching changed since you started?

Cynthia: I have taught library instruction sessions in undergraduate and graduate courses for over 25 years. In addition, I served for years as an adjunct faculty member for ESU’s School of Library and Information Management. I presently coordinate the scheduling and teach sections of UL100, Research Skills, Information and Technology. This course counts for the “Information Technology” General Education requirement at ESU. My approach to teaching hasn’t really changed over the years – mainly, just being aware that technology tools will change, but the need to know how to find and use information effectively will never change!

Q: How has your library approached the Framework?

Cynthia: We’re working through that right now!  Our UL100 course will be 3 credit hours in Fall 2018 and we are reworking our course curriculum not only to accommodate ...continue reading "Meet the TATIL Advisory Board: Cynthia Kane"

This semester I provided two workshops for the part-time librarians I work with who do most of the teaching in our one-shot library/research instruction program.  Although I see them every day, it’s rare that we carve out time to meet as a group and getting together even depends on some librarians coming in on their time off.  But we get so much out of sharing our experiences with each other that we’re all willing to give a little extra to make it work.  At these meetings I had a chance to facilitate discussion about the Framework, which might seem a little late since it was first adopted nearly three years ago, but it was good timing for us because we recently got support from our college administrators to purchase the Credo InfoLit Modules and it’s helping us to think about the scope of our instruction in new ways.

In particular, we’ve been thinking about how to reach beyond our one-shots in new ways.  The information literacy lessons from Credo are one way to reach students before or after we see them in the library.  With a little coordination between the librarian and the professor who’s requesting instruction, students can be introduced to concepts like the value of information or the role of iteration in planning a search strategy before coming to the library.  Or they can get step-by-step, self-paced practice with MLA citations to follow up on our in-class discussions about how they should expect to use various types of sources in their analysis or argument.

...continue reading "Resources for One-Shots"

Suppose that you think students should be knowledgeable about the rights and responsibilities of information creation. Furthermore, they should be able to recognize social, legal, and economic factors affecting access to information. These two statements form the basis of the Module 4 – The Value of Information – of the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy (TATIL). In this post, I will describe the development of TATIL test knowledge questions. How do we go from a concept to a set of fully formed, sound test questions?

It begins with outcomes and performance indicators written by members of the TATIL advisory board and inspired by the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy. An iterative process of review and revision guided by the TATIL project leader Dr. April Cunningham results in the foundation for writing test questions.

...continue reading "Genesis of a Test Question"