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How School Librarians Help Kids Achieve Standards: The Second Colorado Study

Authors:
  • RSL Research Group

Abstract

In 1993, the Colorado State Library published "The Impact of School Library Media Centers on Academic Achievement." This follow-up study focuses attention on the library media specialist and the services she or he provides throughout the building, rather than just the library media center as a specific place, and emphasizes the fact that better library media services lead to better student performance on standards-based tests. In addition to confirming and updating the findings of the first Colorado study, this project expands on the original study's results by measuring the impact on academic achievement of specific leadership and collaboration activities of library media specialists; principal and teacher engagement in library media programs; and information technology, particularly networked computers offering licensed databases and the Internet/World Wide Web. On all three counts, this study showed a positive impact. This study is put into perspective with past research as well as the American Association of School Librarians' new standards, "Information Power." It contains reports of the findings in a variety of readily usable formats, including: an executive summary, a brochure, and a brief report that includes similar studies completed recently for Alaska and Pennsylvania. Appendices include a bibliography; list of participants; sample survey form; the brochure; and a section of "Fast Facts" and PowerPoint slides. Includes 40 tables and 2 figures. (AEF)
The full text of this report is available at:
https://www.lrs.org/documents/lmcstudies/CO/execsumm.pdf.
... Seminal studies in Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Texas have examined the relationship between school library programs and student achievement by correlating survey data on factors within the school library program with increases in student achievement as measured by single year norm-referenced assessments (Baumbach, 2003;Baxter & Smalley, 2003;Lance et al., 1999;Lance et al., 2001Lance et al., 2000aLance et al., , 2000bRodney et al., 2002;Smith, 2001). Each study has shown that a statistically significant and positive relationship exists between the presence of school library programs and increased student achievement. ...
... The most consistent correlations have been made at the elementary and high school level with very few generalizable findings at the middle school level. Where some studies identified specific roles in which the library media teacher had a positive influence on student achievement (Lance et al., 2000a;Margolis, 2002), other studies found that the library media teacher can only exert a positive influence if there is a shared vision of their role in the overall instructional program and if their existence does not supplant other educational programs (Brandes, 1986;Lance et al., 2000aLance et al., , 2000b. ...
... The most consistent correlations have been made at the elementary and high school level with very few generalizable findings at the middle school level. Where some studies identified specific roles in which the library media teacher had a positive influence on student achievement (Lance et al., 2000a;Margolis, 2002), other studies found that the library media teacher can only exert a positive influence if there is a shared vision of their role in the overall instructional program and if their existence does not supplant other educational programs (Brandes, 1986;Lance et al., 2000aLance et al., , 2000b. ...
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... Professional librarians are important people to build collaborative relationship with school libraries' communities, and stakeholders (Church, 2007;Hughes, 2013;Lance, Rodney & Hamilton-Pennell, 2000a, 2000b. A lack of qualified librarians occurs in all public primary schools across the country. ...
... Leonard (2002) showed that teachers understood the positive impact of collaboration with teacher-librarians in enhancing student's academic performance, but still lacked collaboration in practice. Lance et al. (2000aLance et al. ( , 2000b noted that important factors contributing to effective collaborations came from mutual respect, and from inclusive communication among principals, teachers and teacher-librarians. Similarly, Haycock (2003) and Lambert (1998) indicated that teacherlibrarians need to increase their communication skills and leadership skills in order to build trust and mutual respect with teachers, benefiting the strong, close relationship in order to develop effective collaborations. ...
... It provides fundamental materials, supports learning services and equips an appropriate learning environment for students and members of school communities (UNESCO/IFLA, 2002). School library activities involve providing information literacy learning, servicing teacher training, managing computer networks, operating with public libraries and integrating information technology into the curriculum Hamilton-Pennell, 2000a &2000c). The role of school libraries is highly associated with student success in broader aspects, such as communication skills, creative thinking and problem solving, effective school library provision therefore has a significant impact on student performance through funding, collections management, services and professional expertise (Hughes, 2013;Lau, 2005;Ranaweera, 2008;Siqueira, 2015). ...
... An early study by Lance (1993) commonly referred to as "the Colorado Study" found indications that higher standardized test results occurred in schools where teachers worked with librarians. These results have also been found in additional studies across the United States leading to efforts to increase teacher and librarian collaboration as a means of improving student academic achievement (Lance, 1994(Lance, , 2001(Lance, , 2002Lance et al., 1993Lance et al., , 1999Lance et al., , 2000Lance et al., , 2001Lance et al., , 2005Lance & Russell, 2004;Rodney et al., 2002Rodney et al., , 2003. Considerable anecdotal evidence of the positive effect of teacher and librarian collaboration on improved student academic achievement also exists. ...
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... Adequate staffing, budget, and administrative support are key to the success of this role. The findings of previous studies performed in this area (Baughman, 2000;Lance, Rodney, & Hamilton-Pennell, 2000a;Rodney et al., 2003) converged on a number of themes such as the importance of adequate credentialed staffing and principal support to facilitate collaboration with teachers and integration of media center services into the curriculum. ...
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