Linking Libraries and Academic Achievement

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1 American Association of School Librarians 12th National Conference and Exhibition October 6-9, 2005 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Linking Libraries and Academic Achievement Charlie B. Makela Audrey Church Marilyn Walls Elaine Marrion Lizette Hannegan Kathy Lehman Saturday, October 8, :30-9:45 A.M. David L. Lawrence Convention Center Room 329

2 Linking Libraries and Academic Achievement Virginia Department of Education Resources for School Library Media Programs Date: Fall 2005

3 Introduction Studies conducted in twelve states by Keith Lance, Ross Todd, and others have shown the positive impact that a strong library media program has on student academic achievement. When the library media specialist is actively involved in the instructional program of the school, collaborating with teachers and teaching information literacy skills, academic achievement is higher. For example, Keith Lance reports in the 2000 Colorado study, How School Librarians Help Kids Achieve Standards: Schools with well-developed library media programs average 10% to 15% higher on fourth grade reading scores and 18% higher on seventh grade reading scores than schools where libraries are less developed. Where library media staff collaborates with classroom teachers, reading scores average increases of 8% at the fourth grade level and 18% to 21% at the seventh grade level. Findings from the 1999 Pennsylvania study, Measuring Up to Standards, show that when all library media predictors were maximized, reading scores tended to run 10 to 15 points higher. Yet this state-level evidence is no longer enough. As Ross Todd notes, Principals, teachers, and parents want to hear of local successes; they want to know how their students not other schools are benefiting. Local outcomes matter (2003b, 14). We must produce the evidence, locally, that what we do with children makes a difference. The documents that follow will help you, the Virginia library media specialist, make the connection between library and academic achievement at your school! In an article in the March 2004 issue of Library Media Connection, It s All About Learning: Ensuring that Students are Effective Users of Information on Standardized Tests, Mike Eisenberg points out the necessary connection between library, information literacy skills instruction, and state curriculum standards. He makes a strong case that library media specialists should be very aware of state standards, know which ones are tested, collaborate with teachers to teach information literacy skills related to those state standards, and then collect data on the impact of the library instruction. The Linking Libraries and Academic Achievement documents will help you to do just that! Page 2

4 Virginia Department of Education Authors and Contributors A project of this magnitude would not be possible without the contributions of many dedicated librarians across the state of Virginia and the support of the Virginia Educational Media Association. The following individuals contributed to the success of this project: Virginia Department of Education Lan Neugent, Assistant Superintendent for Technology Gloria Barber, Director, Charlie Makela, School Library Media and Research Services Specialist Virginia Educational Media Association Besty Davis, Norfolk City Public Schools, President Kathy Lehman, Chesterfield County Public Schools, President-elect Contributors Longwood University Audrey Church, Coordinator School Library Media Program Graduate Students, Summer 2003, EDSL 660: Collaborative Instructional Partnerships K-2 Group Leader Marilyn Walls, Hanover County Public Schools 3-5 Group Leader Elaine Marrion, Norfolk City Public Schools 6-8 Group Leader Lizette Hannegan, Arlington Public Schools 9-12 Group Leader Kathy Lehman, Chesterfield County Public Schools Special Thanks The many, many dedicated librarians across the state of Virginia who offered suggestions and gave their generous support to make this project possible. Page 3

5 Project Overview Powerful Partnership Through a collaborative effort, the Virginia Department of Education and the Virginia Educational Media Association developed a resource that provides a framework for aligning school library media programs with both national and state standards. Over thirty Virginia library media specialists and other educators representing twenty-two school divisions and Longwood University, working as an online community, created the main document and supporting materials. The resource is structured for grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and Administrators and all instructional staff benefit from an understanding of how school library media center instructional programs result in increased academic achievement. The online documents include strategies for collaboration, suggested information retrieval skills, and ideas for technology integration that can be replicated in any school library program. The Linking Libraries and Academic Achievement (LLAA) project is built upon the premises outlined in Information Power. The project addresses teaching and learning by identifying the skills that students need in order to be successful in meeting both state and national standards. It goes beyond just matching a state/national standard with an objective. It identifies the specific skills that students need to move from answering questions on the standards assessment tool to usage and application in the real world. Special Features The lessons are based on the academic standards for the core content areas of History/ Social Sciences, Science, English, and Mathematics. A unique feature of this document is the section on information retrieval skills. Students need specific information literacy skills as well as the content standards in order to be successful. For example, it is not sufficient for a student to simply know that the online catalog is a database of the materials in the library media center, if a student cannot go from the computer to the shelves and locate the materials. Needed skills were identified and strategies and activities were developed. Collaboration between library media specialists, classroom teachers, and technology integration specialists is essential for academic achievement. Sample activities for skill development and ideas for technology integration are also provided. Page 4

6 Virginia Department of Education Project Overview Virginia Standards of Learning In Virginia, scores on the Standards of Learning tests measure academic achievement. One component of a school division s accreditation is determined by the percentage of students who successfully pass the SOL tests. Much emphasis in classroom instruction is given to teaching the materials that are included in the testing process. Tests are given yearly in English, Math, Science, and History/Social Sciences. These standards are reviewed on a regular basis. Resource materials and curriculum frameworks are adopted to accompany the objectives to be taught. The library media specialists have endeavored to incorporate the standards of all content areas into the teaching and learning component of the library media center program. Collection development has revolved around the providing the resources required to teach the content. As technology has increased in the school environment, library media specialists have been on the forefront to embrace it as another educational tool to increase student academic achievement. Technology Connections Virginia s state technology plan encourages school divisions to adopt an information literacy model. While each division may choose to adopt one of the national models, they are also able to develop their own. Linking Libraries shows that the nine standards as outlined in Information Power can easily be incorporated into the existing standards of learning. The project is designed so that teachers and library media specialists see a direct connection between national information literacy skills, core content skills, and the technology skills that will be outlined in the revised computer standards of learning. Page 5

7 Lesson Plan Template Content Strand Grade Standard of Learning Selected from previously released test items and benchmarked objectives Computer Technology Standard Aligned with the National Educational Technology Plan and NCLB National Information Literacy Standard Selected from Information Power Standard Essential Knowledge for Information Literacy Updated from the 1986 Library Media Standards of Learning Information Retrieval Skills Task analysis of the skills will students need in order to be successful at meeting the above listed standards Library Media Strategies Collaboration between the librarian and the classroom teacher is essential for student academic achievement. Strategies that the librarian will employ to make sure that students have the necessary skills. Local Strategy Space for customization of the template to reflect the local building level librarian strategies. Sample Project/Activity In grades K-8, these activities can be completed within a minute block of library time or can be extended at the discretion of the librarian. While the involvement of the classroom teacher is the best practice, the activities can be completed independent of the classroom teacher. Activities suggested for grades 9-12 may require additional time and require the direct involvement of the classroom teacher. Essential Questions What questions can be asked to raise the level of critical thinking skills for this assignment? Technology Connections (from state plan) The Educational Technology Plan for Virginia Technology Connection (division plan) List any particular software, equipment, or activities that are a directly related to the school or division technology plan. Page 6

8 Virginia Department of Education Additional Resources Scope and Sequence A spreadsheet was created showing all of the SOL, the national information literacy standards, and the connections to the state technology plan was created. This provides the librarian with a way of knowing what lessons should be developed in each grade level or subject area. Librarians can search by a number of different variables to determine what skills/objectives can be taught at each grade level A B C D E F G H I Information Literacy Standard Grade SOL # Content Area NILS# C/T # TC(1) TC(2) TC(3) English 7 The student who contributes positively to the learning environment and to society is information literate and recognizes the importance of information to a democratic society. K-2.1 IG2T1 EAG2T English 9 The student who contributes positively to the learning community and to society is information literate and participates effectively in groups to pursue and generate information. K-2.5 literate uses information effectively and creatively Social Studies 3 K-2.2 IG1T9 IG1T11 literate assesses information efficiently and effectively English 1 K-2.10 IG1T9 literate evaluates information critically and competently Social Studies 2 K-2.2 IG1T11 literate evaluates information critically and competently Mathematics 2 K-2.2 IG1T8 IG1T11 literate evaluates information critically and competently Mathematics 2 K-2.10 Page 7

9 The Tracker The Tracker was created to provide a method of gathering data that shows what SOL were taught, what teachers collaborated and documents the method by which the SOL was supported. A formula can easily be inserted to gather totals on library usage and SOL taught A B C D E F Teacher SOL Method Across this spreadsheet are all of the SOL taught at this grade level, enter here the date the lesson was taught. Enter all of the teachers who teach at this grade level I= introduced objective R= reinforced objective S=provided support materials Example Teacher Eng 3.2 Method Math 3.5 Method Name 9/8/05 R 10/10/05 I Walls 9/15/05 I 10/30/2005 S Hannegan 9/30/2005 R 11/10/2005 R Marrion 9/15/2005 I Lehman 10/1/2005 I Other Initiatives Powerful Partners: Your School Librarian and YOU! A guide for classroom teachers to better understand the ways in which the library can support the Virginia Standards of Learning Academic Library: A Guide for Principals Designed for school administrators this brochure provides an overview of the essential elements Virginia Department of Education Charlie Makela, School Library Media and Research Services P O Box 2120 Richmond VA Phone: Fax:

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