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

Description: This descriptive, non-experimental study examines the strength of the relationship between California school library media programs and student achievement, using data from California criterion-referenced state-wide tests, publically available school and community demographic data, and a state survey of school library programs. Results indicate a substantial discrepancy in library staffing levels from the elementary grades through the high schools. Nevertheless, statistically significant correlations were found between certificated staffing levels and student achievement at each grade. Significant correlations persisted at the elementary and middle school when controlling for five of six school and community variables, and at the high school when controlling for all six of those variables. Bivariate correlations between total staffing and student achievement were significant at both the middle school and high school level when controlling for all school and community variables. Generally, the strength of the correlations between both certificated and total staffing tended to increase with grade level; at the high school level, correlations were among the strongest reported in any statewide study to date. There was a significant positive relationship between a majority of the 21 library services regularly provided and student achievement at all levels. Total library services were significantly related to student achievement at all levels when controlling for all school and community variables. In multiple regression analyses, there was an increasingly stronger relationship between total library programs and student achievement by grade level when controlling for all school and community variables. At every level, certificated and total staffing levels were associated with the strength of library program elements. The findings from this study confirm a host of prior research on the relationship between school libraries and student achievement and point to inequitable access to school library services in California. Results from this study might also provide a baseline of data for qualitative research ...
Date: December 2008
Creator: Achterman, Douglas L.
Partner: UNT Libraries