As students strive to meet the rigor of education standards, certified school librarians play an essential part in ensuring that 21st-century information literacy skills (PDF), dispositions, responsibilities, and assessments are integrated throughout all curriculum areas.
College and career readiness = Reading rigor
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (PDF) (NAEP) calls for an increasing shift to nonfiction by grade-level in order to help students prepare for the demands of college and career:
- 50% at 4th grade
- 55% at 8th grade
- 70% at 12th grade
However, research shows that students’ ability to independently read complex texts decreases by grade band. The rate of students independently reading at least one book at or above their text complexity grade band drops significantly after elementary school:
- 81–98% in grades 2–5
- 24–32% in grades 6–8
- 7–14% in high school
College and career readiness = Inquiry learning and research
The school librarian leads in building 21st-century skills by collaborating with classroom teachers to design inquiry-based learning environments. In inquiry learning, students identify their own questions and create projects guided by the teacher and school librarian. School librarians develop engaging learning tasks that integrate key critical thinking, technology, and information literacy skills with subject-area content.
The statistics in the section below represent student inquiry and research skills and show good results and responses in the current environment, bad results and responses, and unacceptable (ugly) results and responses. All of these statistics point to the preparedness or unpreparedness of students for college and careers.
- 94% of education professionals report that students demonstrate improved learning, performance, and achievement when technology is used in the curriculum.
- 50% of high school students seek information online to help better understand a topic studied in class.
- Four of the top 10 most cited websites come from user-generated websites (Wikipedia, YouTube, Yahoo! Answers, and Answers.com).
- 54% of students say they would be less likely to cite sources if they didn’t have research management tools.
- 51% of college freshman have a hard time learning to navigate new tools and 43% have trouble making sense of information once sources are found.
- College freshman have the most difficulty conducting research:
- coming up with keywords (75%)
- sorting through irrelevant search results (57%)
- identifying and selecting sources (51%)
- integrating writing styles from different sources (43%)
College and career readiness = Digital literacy and citizenship
Learning is a 24/7 enterprise for students today, with the traditional school day only a small part of the overall time that students spend learning, especially using technology. Embedded in schools is a culture almost entirely based on information, shaped and defined by the student. They consume it, share it, produce it, and publish it. School librarians have an opportunity to provide truly personalized learning experiences.
- 46% of principals say that digital content—such as videos, simulations, and animations—is having the greatest impact on transforming teaching and learning.
- 40% of district administrators note the implementation of blended learning environments as having the greatest impact on transforming teaching and learning.
- 52% of school librarians identify themselves as teachers of digital citizenship within their schools.
- 70% of US job recruiters have rejected candidates based on their online reputations.
- 38% of college admission officers have discovered something online that resulted in a negative impact on their evaluation of a student.
- 39% of teens say they have sent or posted sexually suggestive messages.
- 86% of teens believe it’s permissible to illegally download and share music.
- $400 is the average amount lost to online crimes reported by teens.