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Libraries' drawing awards prizes for participants in student survey

  Douglass Library student worker Keisha Griffin DC '08 (center, left) draws one of winning entries with help from Ferdous Miah DC '07 (center, right), while the Rutgers' Project SAILS coordinator, Instruction and Outreach Librarian Eileen Stec (far right), and other library staff look on.

Ten lucky students each won a free flash drive from the Libraries earlier this month in a drawing held at the Douglass Library. They received the prizes for participating in a new measure of student success - Project SAILS.

Project SAILS (Standardized Assessment of Information Literacy Skills) examines students' effectiveness in obtaining, evaluating and integrating information into their studies - a set of skills designated as "information literacy" by national education organizations. Developed by librarians at Kent State University in Ohio, the Rutgers University Libraries are participating in the final validation phase of the test along with universities across the United States and Canada. SAILS will allow educators to substantiate the claim that their students are information literate.

Project SAILS gathers data through an online test, which addresses the following questions: What are students' entry skills upon admission to the university, and is there a significant change in skill levels from the first year to graduation? If there are significant changes in students' information literacy skills, do those skills then have any correlation to student's academic success and retention?

The Rutgers University Libraries conducted the Project SAILS survey during the fall 2005 semester, involving 100 first-year students on the New Brunswick/Piscataway campus. Participants completed the lengthy test, with multiple- choice questions that asked students to design effective search strategies, consider copyright concerns, and make selections from indexes and journals to address a research question. Participants in Project SAILS were entered into a random drawing, in which ten winners would receive a free flash drive.

The Libraries will receive the survey results, comparing Rutgers students' results with the results of students from similar US and Canadian institutions, this summer. The Rutgers University Libraries look forward to applying these results in their design of future information literacy programs for use at Rutgers.

Posted April 13, 2005