About the Test

The Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy (TATIL) was created by a team of experts that includes librarians, professors, and other educators. The test is organized in four modules designed to be administered separately according to the outcomes you want to assess. The content for each module is inspired by one or more of the frames of the ACRL IL Framework.

TATIL Module ACRL IL Frame(s)
Evaluating Process & Authority “Information Creation as a Process” and “Authority is Constructed and Contextual”
Strategic Searching “Searching as Strategic Exploration”
Research & Scholarship “Research as Inquiry” and “Scholarship as a Conversation”
The Value of Information “Information Has Value”

For descriptions of each module, including the outcomes, performance indicators, and dispositions, click on the module title above. You may also download a PDF document with descriptions for all four modules.

The information about each module will help you determine which of the modules are most appropriate for your assessment goals for any class or program in a given year. To support programs and institutions meeting accreditation requirements, we also provide options for test managers to compare their results to those of peer institutions that have administered the test.

The development team used the knowledge practices and dispositions that are outlined in the ACRL Framework as a starting point for the creation of TATIL outcomes and performance indicators. The performance indicators were then used to guide item writing for each of the four modules. The item writers employed a variety of structured response formats to assess students’ IL knowledge, skills, abilities, and dispositions.

Scores are criterion-referenced. Reports of testing results include information to guide interpretation of scores (for example, test scores categorized into performance levels ranging from conditionally ready to  college ready to research ready). Reports also include results from situational disposition items that gauge students’ propensity to engage in productive persistence, responsibility to community, toleration for ambiguity, and mindful self-reflection when faced with information challenges.

Each module can be completed in 50 minutes or less. The test is web-based and administered on Internet-connected computers.

In addition to the test items, students will also complete a demographic survey. Test managers can choose to track the identities of their participants on this survey or make the test results anonymous. The survey will collect information about students’ backgrounds including their majors and class standing. The survey data can be used by librarians and other test managers to identify correlations between learners’ IL experiences and their IL results as well as relationships to other relevant educational experiences that may influence learners’ IL outcomes. A standard set of demographic questions permits colleges and universities who wish to collaborate to compare their results at a finer level of granularity. Librarians and other test managers can also add up to 10 custom demographic questions to address local interests.


Threshold Achievement Test reports provide test managers with detailed and robust analyses of student performance. The institutional reports offer summary and detailed results, performance level indicators, disposition descriptions, subgroup breakouts and more.

Institutional reports include:

  • Summary results for knowledge and disposition dimensions
  • Detailed results for each knowledge outcome
  • Performance indicator rankings that identify students’ relative strengths and weaknesses
  • Performance levels indicators ranging from conditionally ready to college ready to research ready
  • Disposition results with descriptions that align with students’ scores
  • Breakouts for subgroups such as first year students or transfer students
  • Cross-institutional comparisons with peer institutions and other institutional groupings
  • Suggestions for targeted readings that can assist in following up on the results
  • View a sample

Test managers also receive a set of supporting files:

  • Test Item document. A PDF document with a description of each test item.
  • Report data file. Contains all of the scores presented in the report.
  • Student data file. Contains scores for every student.
  • Student data codebook. Describes the demographic options that were configured for the test.
  • Student Report zip file. Contains a directory of PDF documents with an analysis of each student’s performance. View a sample.

Test managers have the option to present students with personalized reports upon completing the test. As soon as the student finishes the test a dynamically generated reports is displayed describing the student’s performance and offering recommendations for improvement. The report content is connected directly with the knowledge outcomes, performance indicators, and dispositions of the module being tested.

Next up: Learn more about Test Administration.