Project SAILS

During spring 2012, UALR will participate in Project SAILS (Standard Assessment of Information Literacy Skills). The goal of this participation is to collect data on the research and information literacy skills of UALR undergraduates.

SAILS is a knowledge test with multiple-choice questions targeting a variety of information literacy skills. The test items are based on the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. According to the ACRL Standards, students should be able to

• Determine the nature and extent of the information needed
• Access needed information effectively and efficiently
• Evaluate information and its sources critically and incorporate selected information
• Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and access and use information ethically and legally.

SAILS is intended to measure the information literacy knowledge of groups (cohorts) of students and not serve as an assessment of the individual test takers. The resulting reports will compare UALR students’ performance with that of peer institutions with divisions by class standing and by major. This information will be shared with the University Core Curriculum Task Force which is investigating Information Technology as a general education outcome.

Participating students are directed to the SAILS website to take the web-based test. Each student may take the test once. Responses are sent to a central database where data are analyzed and reports are generated. The test includes 45 multiple-choice questions. Most students complete the test within 35 minutes.

SAILS questions cover the following 8 research skills:
• Developing a Research Strategy
• Selecting Finding Tools (e.g. search engines, databases)
• Searching
• Using Finding Tool Features
• Retrieving Sources
• Evaluating Sources
• Documenting Sources
• Understanding Economic, Legal, and Social Issues of information.

For additional information on SAILS, see the SAILS website and articles from the Library’s databases.  Faculty interested in having their classes participate in SAILS should contact John Siegel at