Elementary School library

Higher reading scores for elementary schools whose school libraries:

Fourth grade reading scores tend to be higher for Michigan elementary schools whose school libraries report:higher numbers and weekly hours of total library staff and librarians in particular;being open more hours per week;library staff spending more time on motivating readers, developing collections, meeting with other librarians, teaching information literacy skills, and planning with teachers;larger collections of print volumes and video materials and, to a lesser extent, audio materials and software packages;more availability of computers—both in the library and throughout the school—that provide links to Access Michigan, library catalogs and licensed databases, and the Internet and the World Wide Web;more group visits, more individual and group visits for information literacy instruction, and higher circulation per week; andspending more on library operations.

These Library Variables Affect MCAS Scores

The findings from our study can be roughly summarized by educational level as follows:At each grade level school library programs improve MCAS [Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System] scores.At each grade level students score higher on MCAS tests when there is a higher per pupil book count.At each grade level student use of the library produces higher mean MCAS score;At each level hours open make a difference in MCAS scores.

Better test results where teachers collaborate with LMSs

Like elementary schools, high schools tended to have better test results where teachers reported that they initiate collaboration with LMSs on the design and delivery of instruction at least weekly or monthly.

Schools perform better on tests where LMSs provided their teachers with resources

Both elementary and middle schools tended to perform better on tests where LMSs took the initiative, on at least a weekly or monthly basis, to provide their teachers with resources needed to design instruction.

Schools Perform Better on Tests Where There Are Better-Funded School Libraries

Across grade levels, schools tended to perform better on the ISTEP+ [Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress-Plus] tests where there were better-staffed, better-stocked, and better-funded school library programs.

Schools with More Library Computers Average Higher Scores

At every grade level, schools with more library and library-connected computers—particularly, in the latter case, Internet computers relative to the school’s enrollment—average higher test scores. The presence of more library computers is associated with percentage increases of:8 percent for fifth-and-eighth grade ISAT reading performancealmost 11 percent for eighth-grade ISAT writing performancejust over 5 percent for eleventh-grade ACT scores.

There is a relationship between library spending and writing performance

Between the elementary and middle school levels, there was a similar increase in the strength of the relationship between library spending and writing performance. Elementary schools that spend more on their libraries average almost 10 percent higher writing performance, and middle schools that invest more in their libraries average almost 13 percent higher writing levels.

School librarians are instructional consultants

School librarians are instructional consultant from whom classroom teachers can learn of more numerous, more authoritative, and more current books, articles, and databases than they would ever find on their own. While elementary and middle school library staff typically spend only two or three hours per week helping to improved instruction in this way, it appears to be making a difference in reading performance at those grade levels (increases of almost eight and seven percent, respectively). The payoff of this type of librarian-teacher cooperation is more students meeting or exceeding ISAT writing standards at those grade levels (almost 10 and 13 percent, respectively.)

Students scored highly on reading and language arts if administrators highly assessed ICT standards

Schools at every grade level tended to have more students scoring at the advanced level on both reading and language arts if their administrators had assessed highly the teaching of ICT [Information and Communications Technology] standards. This is perhaps the most important finding of this study, because those self-assessments also tend to coincide with administrators placing a high value on key library-related practices and desiring that their libraries play certain roles. Those practices include:flexible scheduling of library access,instructional collaboration between teachers and librarianprovision of in-service professional development to faculty by librariansregular meetings between principal and librarian,the librarian serving on school committees, andthe librarian’s instructional role being addressed in teacher hiring interviews.Notably, librarians credentialed as library media specialists (LMSs) were more likely than their non-LMS counterparts to report at least weekly activities associated with these practices. Indeed, LMS librarians were three times as likely as non-LMS librarians to report at least weekly instructional collaboration and provision of in-service professional development.

Scores averaged higher, if principals considered it essential for:

At the elementary school level, the percentage of students with advanced scores averaged higher, if principals and other administrators considered it essential (vs. less than essential) for:the librarian to provide in-service professional development to faculty (20.6% for the language arts, 17.8% for reading);the librarian’s instructional role to be addressed in teacher hiring interviews (22.0% for language arts, 17.4% for reading)the librarian to be appointed to school committees (16.8% for language arts, 13.8% for reading); andthe librarian and the principal to meet regularly (15.6% for reading only).


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