Haves, Halves, and Have-Nots: School Libraries and Student Achievement in California

significant negative correlations between the level of services offered by the school library media
program and student achievement (Sinclair-Tarr & Tarr, 2004). In other words, the more services
offered through a school library, the lower that school's scores were likely to be. The authors
concluded that either the factors identified as contributing to successful school library media
programs were inaccurate, or that "there are few if any successful library programs in
California"(p. 156).
There are, however, some important limitations to the Sinclair-Tarr and Tarr (2004)
study. The first limitation is the choice of the key independent variable measured against student
achievement: the presence or absence of certificated library staffing. This dichotomy does not
account for the possibility, as research suggests, that there is a correlation between student
achievement and levels of certificated staffing, that a positive correlation may depend on a
combination of clerical and certificated staffing, or that positive correlations with student
achievement may require threshold levels of both clerical and certificated staffing (Baumbach,
2003; Baxter & Smalley, 2003; Brandes, 1987; Burgin, Bracy & Brown, 2003; Callison, 2004;
Hall-Ellis & Berry, 1995; Jenkins, 2000; Lance et al., 1993; Lance, Hamilton-Pennell &
Rodney,2005; Lance, Hamilton-Pennell, Rodney, Petersen, & Sitter, 1999; Lance, Rodney &
Hamilton-Pennell, 2000a, 2000b, 2001; Loertscher, Ho & Bowie, 1987; Loertscher & Land,
1975; Loertscher, 1973; Martin, 1996; Ontario Library Association, 2006; Rodney, Lance &
Hamilton-Pennell, 2002; Smith, 2001).
A second limitation to the Sinclair-Tarr and Tarr study (2004) is that the control variable
used, an index based upon an aggregate of school-wide indicators, does not adequately account
for variances among the grade level and subject-specific test scores analyzed. This makes it
difficult to draw conclusions about the correlations found when using this control. Finally, the

Achterman, Douglas L. Haves, Halves, and Have-Nots: School Libraries and Student Achievement in California. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9800/. Accessed October 2, 2014.