Middle School library

Seventh grade reading scores rise with school library variables

For Michigan middle schools, seventh grade reading test scores usually rise as school libraries report:high numbers and weekly hours of librarian and total library staff;offering more weekly hours for flexible access/scheduling;librarians spending more time planning and teaching cooperatively with classroom teachers, and providing in-service training to teachers;larger collections of print volumes and video materials;access to more library and school computers that connect to Access Michigan, library catalogs and licensed databases, and the Internet and the World Wide Web;more frequent individual and group visits to the library; 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.

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.)

More library visits result in higher writing averages

Typically, responding middle school libraries report 18 group visits per week, eight of which are for information literacy instruction… For middle schools that have more group visits, and especially more group visits for information literacy instruction, eighth-grade ISAT [ Illinois Standard Achievement Test] writing performance averages more than 10 and almost nine percent, respectively, better than for schools with libraries visited less often.

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.

Middle Schools With Librarian-Teacher Collaboration Obtained Higher Reading Scores

At the middle school level, the percentage of students with advanced reading scores was 12.6% higher for schools with administrators who considered librarian-teacher collaboration (in design and delivery of instruction) essential (vs. less than essential).

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