Haves, Halves, and Have-Nots: School Libraries and Student Achievement in California Page: 87
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in ranking schools might be debated, the problem with using it as the control variable in the
Sinclair-Tarr and Tarr study (2004) is that, because it is based on the total API score, it cannot
account for the variances in scores on the individual tests-CST Reading, English Language
Arts, and Mathematics-which these researchers used as measures of student achievement.
A fourth limitation is that in examining performance on criterion-referenced tests,
Sinclair-Tarr and Tarr (2004) looked for correlations between the presence of a school library
already a problematic measure-and the percentage of students at a school scoring proficient or
above on a given test. The percentage of schools scoring proficient or above may have limited
value when examining the overall effect of school library programs in California. In 2004-2005,
an average of just 26% of students statewide scored proficient or above on the 11th grade ELA
test, for example (Ed-Data, 2008). Looked at another way, over half of California's high schools
had fewer than 25% of its students score advanced or proficient on this test, and 85% of the
schools had fewer than half its students score advanced or proficient. At the eighth grade in
2004-2005, the school mean for students scoring proficient or advanced on all of the criterion-
referenced tests was just over 27% (Ed-Data, 2008). Given these realities, this may not be the
metric that best measures the effect of a school library program on all of California's students.
The mean scaled score for each school, for each grade and content level test, provides a better
measure of comparison, as results are not grouped into arbitrarily labeled proficiency ratings.
Finally, the limitations mentioned here all represent departures from a methodology that
has been used and refined over the past fifteen years in no fewer than fourteen state studies
(National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, 2006). A new California study
would address the limitations of the Sinclair-Tarr and Tarr study and adopt a methodology
consistent with these other studies, making the results easier to compare with those of other
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Achterman, Douglas L. Haves, Halves, and Have-Nots: School Libraries and Student Achievement in California, dissertation, December 2008; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9800/m1/101/: accessed March 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .