Monday, February 3, 2014

School Libraries Research Studies

Learning from success stories...the more you know the more you can share.

Here are some key findings taken directly from the School Library Research Summarized: A Graduate Class Project. How can these finding impact your school library setting?

  • studied school library programs that resulted in improved student learning based on available research from statewide school library studies
  • certified, full-time librarians are essential building blocks for 21st century learning
School Library Impact Studies Summarized
  • quality school library programs impact student achievement
  • examined test data, expenditures per pupil, community differences (poverty and racial demographics)
  • Clearly the studies confirm that quality school library programs with full-time, certified librarians and library support staff are indicative of and critical to student achievement.
  • closing the achievement gap and ensuring that all students are prepared with the 21st century

The Pennsylvania Study of 2011-2012
How Pennsylvania School Libraries Pay Off: Investments in Student Achievement and Academic Standards by Keith Curry Lance and Bill Schwarz
  • studied infrastructure (staffing, budgets, collections, technology, and access hours) most contributes to student achievement, costs and benefits associated with them, and what is needed to develop students with 21st century skills

Data sets
1. student reading and writing standardized test data
2. quantitative data from 73% of state’s public and school libraries
3. Qualitative survey data about the roles of school library and librarians teaching AASL Standards used were from the 21st century Learner and Common Core standards based on responses from 950 teachers, 597 school librarian, and 295 school administrators

School Library Impact Studies Chart
School Library Program Components and the States/Province in which they were found
to have a Positive Association with Student Achievement.  Iowa is represented in all eight categories.
  • Staffing/Availability
  • Instruction/Information Literacy Curriculum
  • Professional Development/Training
  • Collaboration/Cooperation
  • Electronic Networking and Technology
  • Collections and Resources
  • Usage
  • Funding/Budget

Citation used to assess Iowa’s practices that contributed to making the categories above

Rodney, Marcia j., Keith Curry lance, and Christine hamilton-Pennell. Make the
Connection: Quality School Library Media Programs Impact Academic Achievement in Iowa. Bettendorf, IA: Iowa Area Education Agencies, 2002. Iowa Area Education Agencies. Web. 10 june 2013.

p. 10 of this document has other recommended resources

School Library Impact Studies: The Major Finding From the Past Ten Years

  • reading scores are better for students who have full-time certified librarians
  • From 2006-2009 if school librarians hours were reduced or eliminated (being assigned to more than one building in a district) in other words the environment is not created to embrace change in library services and robbing students of reaching their potential.
  • We need support staff that support our vision.
  • When have clerical support the librarian could focus on instructional collaboration with teachers
  • Teachers were three times more likely to rate their literacy teaching as excellent when they collaborated with librarians.
  • Key to an exemplary library program is the school librarian’s ability to be an effective teacher who maximizes teaching time, providing educational support and leadership through partnering and collaboration, while integrating cross curricular connections.
  • High rating of teaching information and communication technologies...does it exist in your curriculum do you have an information literacy program? It needs to be the base of the curriculum (blue polka dot notebook about media literacy connection) Is this known, will it fix the problems I see, I think so. Can they be implemented...I think that this is a critical issue impacting the digital divide. I think that this curriculum ultimately supports and fills in the gaps.
  • Flexible scheduling and program planning...the flexibility of an open timetable allowed for collaborative teaching with depth.
  • Common planning time
  • Access=number of hours library open...significant to test scores in all three levels
  • Information technology tools are highly valued...
  • Critical link...p.14 Students with access to well-resourced libraries (newer collections) are two to five times more likely to score higher
  • And certified librarians are more likely to select library resources that represent different points of view and that support the curriculum.
  • A strong positive relationship between budget and test scores.  
Professional Development
  • Schools perform better when principals place a higher value on librarians providing in-service opportunities to classroom teachers.
Achievement Gap
  • Full time librarians and access to around 12,000 books helps....
  • Poverty....still impacted in a positive way regardless if the librarian is certified or not. High poverty having a librarian still improved math scores compared to those without a librarian.

Lingering questions...
How would your students, staff, admin, rate the library based on ratings on the four components including the Standards for the 21st-Century Learning=Inquiry-Based Learning, Informed Decision-Making, Knowledge Sharing, and Pursuing Personal Growth? Are these essential parts of your library? If not what are the barriers to a 21st century school library?

This article motivated me to check out the AASL map of nationally recognized school libraries to see if there is any correlation between these winners and the states mentioned in this study.  Iowa has won 3 times since 1963 and qualified for the school library impact studies chart that lists school library program components and the states in which they were found to have a positive association with student achievement. But what about school libraries left behind from these progressive movements?  

In upcoming posts I would like to change the conversation based on my observations of not so successful school libraries programs and what I have learned from my experiences.  The central theme to future articles is the digital divide in relation to the achievement gap. I have been inspired by President Obama’s recent state of the union speech highlighting income equality in America.  I want to dig deeper exploring the differences between active and inactive school library programs according to our 21st century library standards.