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Keith Curry Lance, Ph.D. Library Research Service

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1 How School Librarians Help Kids Achieve Standards The Second Colorado Study
Keith Curry Lance, Ph.D. Library Research Service Colorado State Library Colorado Department of Education Tel.: Fax: Web site:

2 Sample & Data Sample: Library survey Available data: Test scores:
200 elementary & middle schools statewide Library survey staffing, activities, collections, usage, technology Available data: Community: poverty, race/ethnicity, education School: teacher-pupil ratio, teacher characteristics, per pupil spending Test scores: CSAP, grades 4 & 7 The sample was a non-proportional quota sample schools were included at each level and the numbers of schools with different enrollment levels were equalized to the extent possible. The survey has been conducted annually since 1994, but its present design is a result of this study. The questions were formulated with the advice of the Colorado Educational Media Association board and the Front Range Urban Media Professionals. Both groups also endorse the survey. Available data was needed in this study to help make the argument that correlations between school libraries and test scores reflect cause and effect. Conditions for which we had available data might have explained away any apparent impact of school libraries. (As it works out, they did not.) When this study was conducted, CSAP reading scores were available at only elementary and middle school levels—grades 4 and 7 specifically. If someone raises the issue of the validity or reliability of CSAP tests or standards-based tests generally, say that such assessments of the tests themselves were beyond the scope of this study. For purposes of this study, it was assumed that CSAP tests are valid and reliable measures of academic achievement.

3 Library Development Professional & total staffing ratios
Volumes per student, print & electronic subscriptions per 100 students Library expenditures per student Compared top & bottom 25 schools on library development. 4th grade: average CSAP gains, 18% 7th grade: % Professional and total staffing ratios were Weekly library media specialist hours per typical week and Total library media staff hours per typical week Library expenditures include spending on the collection and, usually to at least some extent, daily operating costs not associated with the school building. At the bottom of the slide for each direct predictor, there are statistics comparing the top and bottom 25 schools on that predictor. For each grade level studied, the average gain in CSAP scores for top-scoring schools over bottom-scoring schools is reported. These statistics do not control for other factors. That is a separate analysis reported later.

4 Leadership Weekly hours librarian spends meeting with principal
participating in faculty meetings, on standards & curriculum committees meeting with library staff The distinctive section of the Colorado survey is one that asks for an accounting of how library media staff spend their time during a typical week. For this study, the list of activities was approximately 12. The groupings of these activities reported here are based on statistical analyses, not theories or subjective decisions. In this case, for example, it was found that in most schools, librarians who meet regularly with the principal also tend to participate in faculty meetings and on key committees, and to meet with their own immediate staff and other LM colleagues. No CSAP gains are reported here because the Leadership factor does not predict CSAP scores directly. Its influence is indirect via Collaboration. Thus, Leadership is important, because it helps to set the stage for Collaboration. In this sense, Leadership on the part of school librarians is the prime mover. If school librarians want more collaborative environments in which to work, it is their responsibility to exercise Leadership to help create those environments.

5 Collaboration Weekly hours librarian spends
planning cooperatively with teachers delivering information literacy instruction to students providing in-service training to teachers supporting network linking library & classrooms Compared top & bottom 25 schools on collaboration 4th grade: average CSAP gains, 18-21% 7th grade: 8% Cooperative planning between teachers and librarians often does not occur, because classes are assigned to the librarian to free teachers for planning time. This is a practice we hope this research will discourage. The librarian should be involved in planning time. Information Literacy refers to a student’s ability to determine when information is needed; to locate, obtain, and evaluate it; and to process and utilize information. School librarians are master teachers. They must have teaching credentials and experience as well as additional credentials as librarians. As a result, it is little surprise that they often influence academic achievement of students by providing in-service training to teachers. In some schools, the librarian reports to the technologist, while in others, the technologist reports to the librarian. In still other schools, both of these positions report to someone else. Regardless of the relationship between these positions on the school organization chart, it is important for school librarians to help manage school technology. They are the ones trained to locate, evaluate and select online resources, and to train individuals—students and teachers—in their effective use.

6 Technology Per 100 Students Networked computers
Licensed database computers Internet computers Compared top & bottom 25 schools on technology 4th grade: average CSAP gains, 6-13% 7th grade: % In the original Colorado study, schools were simply asked to report the number of computers in the school library. Inadvertently, this led to library-related computers in computer labs, classrooms, and other locations not being counted. Since 1994, the Colorado survey has asked for two sets of computer counts—one for the LMC and another for the school building. A computer is to be counted if it provides any access to library resources. This may mean as little as access to the library catalog or an online encyclopedia, and as much as a large set of licensed databases. Notably, the realm of licensed databases is where school librarians can still exert some collection development decisions. They decide or at least help to decide databases to which their students and teachers will have access. By contrast, they have no control over the contents of the Internet. Do not bring up filtering unless somebody else does first!

7 Flexible Scheduling Library visits by individual students (vs. group visits) Compared top & bottom 25 schools on individual visits per student 7th grade only: average CSAP gains, 13-22% Flexible scheduling is a concept defined in various ways. We had no direct data on it in this study, but we believe that the fact that individual visits to LMCs predict test scores while group visits do not indicates that it is preferable for student access to LMCs not be limited to a regularly scheduled library period when the whole class goes. Students should be allowed to visit the LMC individually or in small groups as the need arises. Many also believe that class visits should not be limited to a fixed schedule. Teachers and librarians should schedule class visits as the need arises. We did not have any data regarding this issue however.

8 CSAP scores rise with ... Library development Technology
Collaboration (which rises with Leadership) Flexible scheduling In a comparison of highest and lowest scoring schools, library predictors increase 50% while CSAP proficiency doubles This chart simply summarizes the preceding ones. Just as top and bottom 25 schools on each predictor were compared, we also compared statistics for the top and bottom 25 schools on the CSAP reading tests. That is the reference for the statistic at the bottom of the slide.

9 School libraries and librarians affect test scores despite ...
Community differences adult educational attainment poverty race/ethnicity School differences teacher-pupil ratio per pupil school expenditures teachers’ experience & salaries Combined, library factors alone explain 8% of total test score variation This is the point where the other school and community data came in. We wanted to rule out any possibility that other school or community conditions explain away the impact of school libraries. For instance, is it really spending more on a school library that leads to higher test scores, or is it simply that schools that spend more on everything have higher test scores? By using a statistical technique called regression analysis, we were able to pull apart the effects of each of these variables, measuring the size of its effect while ‘controlling’ for all the others. Thus, we can say that the school library development factor alone explains 8% of test score variation. Translating that into plain English, 8 points on a 100 point test can be explained solely by the school library.

10 Post-Script In , high schools scoring above average on CSAP had libraries … With more professional and support staff With more computers providing access to library catalog, databases, and Internet That spent more on licensed databases That participated more in resource sharing Visited more by students, especially for information literacy instruction The 2001 high school CSAP scores were the first. Because we do not yet have 2000 Census data, it is not yet possible to reproduce the CO2 study entirely for the high school level. That will probably be done using data from the 2002 school library survey. This preliminary analysis is reported in FAST FACTS no. 180, Stronger High School Libraries—Especially Those with More Extensive Networks and Licensed Databases—Linked to Higher CSAP Scores. A link to this issue appears on the home page of

11 What You Can Do To Make Your Students Successful
Be S-M-A-R-T about your library. Staff, stock, and fund your library to support your curriculum and CSAP preparation. Meet regularly with your librarian. Acknowledge your librarian as a school leader and master teacher. Reward your librarian and teachers for planning and teaching cooperatively. Take credit for making your library the keystone of your school’s success and for empowering your librarian to do the job she was trained to do.

12 For More Information Visit and click on School Media Studies under Special Projects Contact Keith Curry Lance, Director, Library Research Service, 201 E. Colfax Ave., Suite 309, Denver, CO , , fax ,

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