iSkills™ Assessment Content

The iSkills™ assessment measures students' ability to navigate, critically evaluate and make sense of the wealth of information available through digital technology — so you can make the necessary changes to narrow skill gaps.

Aligned with the nationally recognized Association of Colleges and Research Libraries (ACRL) standards, the iSkills assessment measures information literacy through seven task types — Define, Access, Evaluate, Manage, Integrate, Create and Communicate — representing a range of ways that students handle information through digital technology.

To review a copy of the iSkills assessment, complete the Confidential Review Copy Request Form and fax it to 1-973-735-1903 or 1-973-735-1904. You will receive an email with a link to the test, which can be accessed for 30 days. Like the actual test your students will take, the review copy of the test is a timed experience. Please request as many review copies as necessary — one for each member of your review committee. If your test expires before you have completed the review, you can contact an ETS Advisor at 1-800-745-0269 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. ET.

Task Types

Definitions of the seven task types follow along with some example questions:

  • Define — Understand and articulate the scope of an information problem in order to facilitate the electronic search for information by:
    • Distinguishing a clear, concise and topical research question from poorly framed questions, such as ones that are overly broad or do not otherwise fulfill the information need
    • Asking questions of a "professor" that help disambiguate a vague research assignment
    • Conducting effective preliminary information searches to help frame a research statement
  • Access — Collect and/or retrieve information in digital environments. Information sources might be web pages, databases, discussion groups, emails or online descriptions of print media. Tasks include:
    • Generating and combining search terms (keywords) to satisfy the requirements of a particular research task
    • Efficiently browsing one or more resources to locate pertinent information
    • Deciding what types of resources might yield the most useful information for a particular need
    View examples of Access task types: Example 1 (Flash) Example 2 (Flash)
  • Evaluate — Judge whether information satisfies an information problem by determining authority, bias, timeliness, relevance and other aspects of materials. Tasks include:
    • Judging the relative usefulness of provided web pages and online journal articles
    • Evaluating whether a database contains appropriately current and pertinent information
    • Deciding the extent to which a collection of resources sufficiently covers a research area
  • Manage — Organize information to help you or others find it later by:
    • Categorizing emails into appropriate folders based on a critical view of the emails’ contents
    • Arranging personnel information into an organizational chart
    • Sorting files, emails or database returns to clarify clusters of related information
    View an example of a Manage task type (Flash).
  • Integrate — Interpret and represent information using digital tools to synthesize, summarize, compare and contrast information from multiple sources. Tasks include:
    • Comparing advertisements, emails or websites from competing vendors by summarizing information into a table
    • Incorporating information from different sources to conduct a scientific experiment and report the results
    • Placing results from an academic or sports tournament into a spreadsheet to clarify standings and decide the need for playoffs
    View an example of an Integrate task type (Flash).
  • Create — Adapt, apply, design or construct information in digital environments by:
    • Editing and formatting a document according to a set of editorial specifications
    • Creating a presentation slide to support a position on a controversial topic
    • Creating a data display to clarify the relationship between academic and economic variables
    View an example of a Create task type (Flash).
  • Communicate — Disseminate information tailored to a particular audience in an effective digital format by:
    • Formatting a document to make it more useful to a particular group
    • Transforming an email into a succinct presentation to meet an audience's needs
    • Selecting and organizing slides for distinct presentations to different audiences
    • Designing a flyer to advertise to a distinct group of users
    View an example of a Communicate task type (Flash).

Content Areas

The content areas measured are:

Content Topics:

  • Humanities
  • Social Sciences
  • Practical Affairs
  • Popular Culture
  • Natural Sciences

Technology Topics:

  • Web Use — Email, instant messaging, bulletin board postings, browser use, search engines
  • Database Management — Data searches, file management
  • Software — Word processing, spreadsheet, presentations, graphics