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Page Last Updated March 6, 2003

Council Grove High School

Good Library = Good Education

The size of a school library's staff and collection is the best single predictor of student academic achievement, outweighing school spending in general, the income and education of the parents, and the teacher-pupil ratio.

-The Impact of School Library Media Centers on Academic Achievement

"Teaching students how to find information rather than memorize information" was ranked highest in importance in this year's Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Issues Survey. Eighty-four percent of the more than 4,400 ASCD members participating in the survey rated the statement 5 or 6 on a six-point scale (with 6 meaning "extremely important"). The survey results will guide ASCD's Issues Committee as it develops proposed positions to be considered for adoption by the ASCD Board of Directors.



DENVER, COLORADO -- Educators and parents agree children need good skills to succeed in school. But how do they gain these skills? A new study shows that strong library media programs are an important component.

"How School Librarians Help Kids Achieve Standards-the Second Colorado Study," just released by the Library Research Service of the Colorado State Library, Colorado Department of Education, demonstrates that student scores on standardized tests are ten to eighteen percent higher at schools with outstanding library media programs and staff.

Deputy Commission of Education Dick Elmer said, "We are beginning to isolate data which enables us to determine the factors that contribute to higher student achievement on the CSAP (Colorado Student Assessment Program) test. I've always believed school libraries play a critical role in successful teaching. I'm not surprised they contribute to higher CSAP scores."

The study found that CSAP reading scores are higher in schools whose library media programs are better staffed, stocked, and funded, and where library media specialists play a leadership role in their schools, collaborate with classroom teachers in the design and delivery of instruction, and utilize computer networks to extend the reach of the library media center throughout the school.

* School library media specialists who are leaders meet regularly with their principals, serve with teachers on standards and curriculum committees, and meet regularly with their own staff.

* Collaborative library media specialists provide in-service training and planning assistance to teachers as well as deliver information literacy instruction to students.

* "Hi-tech" library media programs utilize local or wide-area networks to make information resources available to students and teachers in classrooms, labs, offices-wherever learning is taking place.

The research took into consideration school differences such as district expenditures per pupil, teacher/pupil ratio, and community differences such as racial/ethnic and income demographics. The relationship between library media factors and test scores is not explained away by other school or community conditions.

The study was a follow-up to a 1993 study. In 1993, the Colorado State Library published "The Impact of School Library Media Centers on Academic Achievement." This first study demonstrated that quality library media programs led to higher student test scores. The replication and expansion of the study in 1999 also looked at Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) scores.

It corroborates the original findings as well as evaluating the role of the school librarian media specialist and the relationship between better school library services and better student performance. Similar recent studies for Alaska and Pennsylvania also support these findings. The study was conducted by the Colorado State Library and the University of Denver Library & Information Services Department.

For a variety of documents related to the study, visit the Internet at The University of Denver Library & Information Services Department will publish the complete study shortly through Hi Willow Publishing,
P O Box 720400, San Jose, CA 95172-0400, 1.800.873.3043;