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

Relationship between Library Expenditures and Student Achievement
Correlations between library expenditures and student achievement on state norm- and
criterion-referenced tests abound. Greve's (1977) study found positive correlations between
achievement on the Iowa Tests of Educational Development and library services, which included
size of collection and per capita spending on the local public library, as well as size of the school
library collection and per pupil expenditures for school library materials. A study of 79 south
Texas study schools showed that student achievement on criterion-referenced tests tended to
come from schools that spent more money on their school library media programs. (Hall-Ellis &
Berry, 1995). In a study of 100 Ohio schools, half with the highest per pupil expenditures and
half with the lowest, Bruning (1994) investigated the relationship among three variables: per
pupil expenditure, library collection expenditures, and passing rates from each of the four parts
of the state's ninth grade proficiency test. Bruning found weak to moderate significant
relationships between library collection expenditures and three of the four portions of the
proficiency test.
Bivariate correlations in five statewide studies show significant relationships between
library expenditures and test scores. In Minnesota (Baxter & Smalley, 2003), significant
correlations were found only at the elementary level; conversely, in New Mexico (Lance et al.,
2002), significant correlations were only found at the high school level. In Michigan (Rodney et
al., 2003), North Carolina (Burgin et al., 2003) and Wisconsin (Smith, 2006), those correlations
were significant across the grade levels examined at elementary, middle school and high school.
See Table 13 for specific data. Partial correlations from the Wisconsin (Smith, 2006) study are
significant at all three levels with a variety of school and community variables as controls, as
indicated in Table 14.


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 July 1, 2015.