Haves, Halves, and Have-Nots: School Libraries and Student Achievement in California Page: 5
library programs. Similar groups outside California may draw on the results in support or
refutation of several previous studies using a similar methodology.
Assumptions and Limitations
This study uses publically available data from the criterion-referenced California
Standards Tests (CST), school and community information from the state Academic
Performance Index, and responses to the California Department of Education School Library
Survey. Although schools are required to submit this survey, there are no consequences for
noncompliance. According to Ed-Data (2008), there are 8,215 comprehensive public schools in
California. It was anticipated that over 60% of these will have had data available that could be
used in this study, which constitutes a sample size large enough-and diverse enough-- to
counteract sample bias created by the self-selection of participants. Additionally, respondents to
the survey do not identify themselves or their job titles. This study acknowledges that there may
be some discrepancy in answers according to the positions of the people actually responding to
the survey and the data available to them in providing their answers.
This study is conducted with the assumption, too, that the standardized tests to be used
do, in fact, constitute some valid measure of student achievement. The criterion-referenced tests
used in this study-English Language Arts and social studies-- assess mastery of specific
standards in content areas that are commonly associated with library use at each grade level. It is
also acknowledged, nevertheless, that such assessments describe a very narrow band of student
achievement and so provide a similarly narrow view of the relationship between student
achievement and school library media programs. It is hoped that the results of this study will
provide promising avenues of research to pursue using other metrics for student achievement.
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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/m1/19/ocr/: accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .