Haves, Halves, and Have-Nots: School Libraries and Student Achievement in California Page: 194
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At the high school level, implications for policy makers are clear. At a time when
achievement on standardized tests is so strongly weighted in assessing the overall success of
schools, investment in a robust school library program should be a primary goal. Certificated
staffing levels, total staffing levels, total budgets, collection sizes, and total technology available
in the library all correlated with test scores with r values between .32 and .60, p <.001 when
controlling for school and community variables, and the library factor was a better predictor of
test scores than other school variables. Any school or district that decides not to invest in school
library programs must account for that decision in terms of the public charge of equitable access
to a quality education for all public school students.
Strong correlations between test scores and the instructional roles regularly provided by
library media specialists at the high school level also offer some indicators for certificated staff
and their administrative supervisors about how to allocate library work time. Providing reference
assistance; instructing students in research strategies, use of resources and information literacy;
and communicating proactively with the principal were among those activities that were most
strongly related to student achievement. Library media specialists who develop methods to
describe and measure these activities and share them with school leadership can help the larger
school community build understanding about the library program's critical instructional role.
At the middle school level, the implications are less clear, but results of this study suggest
that investment in a school library program may lead to increased student achievement. School
and district officials, as well as library media specialists, may seek to investigate best practice at
schools with successful school library media programs; implementation of such programs holds
great potential for higher student achievement. While correlations were weakest at the
elementary level, a similar investigation of best practice among successful school library
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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/m1/208/: accessed November 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .