Archive for the School Category

SLJ Technology Survey finds that technology spending has increased by 75% in schools

The School Library Journal recently published the results of their 2017 Technology Survey and found that school librarians are experiencing increased spending on digital tools for their libraries, allowing school librarians to become technology leaders within their school districts.

The survey found that the average amount spent on technology per school has increased by 75% in the past two years, from an average of $3,633 during the 2014/2015 school year to $6,257 in 2016/2017. School librarians are primarily responsible for tech usage in the library itself, but about half (45%) of the school librarians responding to the survey noted that they also collaborate with teachers to present tech-integrated lessons. More than a quarter (27%) of respondents have created even deeper partnerships with teachers to co-teach technology-rich lessons. Four in ten (41%) school librarians reported leading professional development activities using technologies in the library.

Survey respondents felt that their colleagues were supportive of librarians taking a leadership role in purchasing and implementing technology in their school. They reported that the majority of administrators (60%), teachers (68%), and students (70%) view school librarians as technology leaders. More than two-thirds (68%) of respondents noted that they also feel supported by their school or district’s technology coordinator.  About a third (32%) of survey respondents said that being knowledgeable about the technology used in their schools provided them with added job security.

For more information about how school librarians are incorporating technology into their libraries, you can find the full report here.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The LRS Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

National Education Association study finds substantial differences in student access to school libraries/media centers

The National Education Association published a report containing the findings of a study analyzing school library data collected between 2000 and 2013. The results show considerable differences in student access to school libraries/media center across the country.

At the time this study concluded, 9 in 10 (90%) U.S. public schools reported that they have a library/media center, a percentage that has increased slightly (by 1.4%) since 2003. Inner city schools were the only category to report a loss in the number of school libraries/media centers during the time of the study, while small town, rural, and suburban schools all reported increases in the number of public schools with libraries/media centers.

The total number of public school librarians/media specialists has also grown overall, increasing 8.8% during the time period studied. Currently, there is an average of one full-time, state-certified librarian/media specialist employed for every 2 public schools, or one librarian/media specialist for every 1,129 public school students. The librarian/media specialist to student ratio is substantially lower in charter schools, with one librarian/media specialist for every 4,397 charter school students. There is an average of about 4 school library/media center support staff for every certified librarian/media specialist across the U.S.

The percentage of students who belonged to ethnic minorities in public schools was a strong predictor of whether the school would have a library/media center. Districts with the most ethnic minority students averaged about 1 librarian/media specialist for every 7 schools, regardless of the districts’ poverty levels, while districts with few ethnic minority students averaged about 1 librarian/media specialist for every 3 schools. At the ends of the spectrum, the wealthiest school districts with low ethnic minority numbers had 5 times more librarians/media specialists per school than the poorest schools in districts with many ethnic minority students.

For more information, you can find the full report here.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The LRS Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

Nearly Two-Thirds of Americans Agree Fake News Has Caused “A Great Deal of Confusion”

Fakenews

Image credit: Pew Research

The Pew Research Center recently conducted a survey on Americans’ sentiments about fake news.  Participants were asked to fill in the blank in the following sentence: “Completely made-up news has caused _____ about the basic facts of current events.” Nearly two out of three of U.S. adults surveyed (64%) said that completely made up news has caused a great deal of confusion. The Pew Research Center report highlights that this response was shared across “incomes, education levels, partisan affiliations and most other demographic characteristics.”

Participants were also asked about their confidence in their ability to recognize fake news. About 4 out of 10 (39%) people surveyed said they were “very confident” they could recognize made-up news, and an additional 45% said they were “somewhat confident.” Although people had high confidence in their abilities to recognize fake news, many people had still shared it online. Overall, about a quarter (23%) of respondents had shared made-up news, sometimes because they did not initially realize it was fake and sometimes for other reasons, like entertainment.

Finally, participants were asked whose responsibility it is to stop the spread of fake news. Respondents could select multiple groups with “great responsibility.” About 2 out of 5 people (43%) chose “members of the public,” a little less than half (45%) chose “the government, politicians, and elected officials,” and about 2 out of 5 (42%) chose “social networking sites and search engines.”

While librarians and librarians were not included specifically as a group that has a great responsibility to prevent the spread of fake news, many library publications–including American Libraries, School Library Journal, and Public Libraries Online–have pointed out the important role that strong information literacy skills play in preventing the spread of fake news, and how this vital skill set can be taught by librarians.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The LRS Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

Let’s Get Visual! Harnessing Data Visualization to Demonstrate a Library’s Impact

alacover

Are you interested in getting started with data visualization? Check out our column in the November/December 2016 American Libraries: Let’s Get Visual! In this column, we share four simple steps for visualizing your data.

Coming to CAL 2016? Join us for “Measuring Your True Impact: Getting Started With Outcome-Based Evaluation”

cal2016

Will you be at CAL 2016? If so, we hope you will join LRS on Thursday, October 20, 3:15-4:15 in Golden Glow for Measuring Your True Impact: Getting Started With Outcome-Based Evaluation:

Your library offers a lot of great programs, but how can you determine what effects these have on your users? In this session, you’ll learn practical tips for getting started with outcome-based evaluation. You will gain a deeper understanding of a) what outcomes are and how they work in conjunction with inputs and outputs to provide meaningful information about your library’s impact on your community; b) how to measure them (including an overview of several free or low-cost outcome survey tools; and c) how outcome-based evaluation results can be used for management, strategic planning, and demonstrating the value of your library programs.

Study finds that a large percentage of students are performing above grade level

overachieving-children

Image credit: John Hopkins Institute for Education Policy

A recent study conducted by the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy has shown that a much larger number of students perform above grade level than previously thought. After noticing that “getting students to grade level” was a prevalent goal throughout national education policy, the research team behind this study wanted to figure out how many students already perform one or more years above grade level on their first day of school.

After examining assessment data sets from five states, the researchers found large percentages of overachievers in every state. In Wisconsin, between a quarter (25%) and about a half (45%) of all students could have passed the next grade level in the spring of their current grade. For example, more than a third (38%) of Wisconsin’s third-graders already knew enough math to be able to pass fourth grade. Similar numbers were repeated throughout the states studied: between 11% and 37% of students in California could have passed the next grade level, and between 30% and 44% could have in Florida.

These percentages are significant, and even more so when translated to the number of students who are currently not being challenged in class. Using Wisconsin’s data, somewhere between 278,000 and 330,000 public-school students across grades K-12 are performing more than a year above where they are placed in school. In California, that number sits between 1.4 and 2 million students. Across the U.S., more than one million fourth-grade students would have outscored the same number of eighth-graders in math, which, as the researchers note, means that in a single year the number of students already performing four years above their current grade level outnumbers the entire population of Rhode Island.

As an educational resource outside the classroom, libraries can help stimulate overachieving children in a number of ways. For example, helping children seek out information about topics of interest for independent research and providing activities for children of all ability levels can help deepen their learning outside of school.

The entire report can be found here.

Civic Enterprises study finds that only 25% of homeless youth feel supported by their school

Homeless students

Image credit: Civic Enterprises and Hart Research Associates

A recent report by Civic Enterprises and Hart Research Associates focuses on student homelessness and the effect that it has on the students in school and throughout their lives. This report follows an announcement by the National Center for Homeless Education that the number of homeless students in the United States has doubled in the past decade to 1.3 million in 2013-2014.

The researchers for this report conducted both qualitative and quantitative research, primarily in-depth interviews and surveys, in order to provide a full picture of the impact that homelessness has on children in school.

Dealing with insecure housing had obvious impacts the lives of children, with a large majority (82%) of the formerly homeless youth surveyed saying that this instability had a big impact on their overall lives, including nearly three-quarters (72%) who said that homelessness negatively impacted their ability to feel safe and secure. Among these respondents, 6 in 10 (60%) also said that it was hard to stay in school while they were homeless and nearly 7 in 10 (68%) said that even if they able to get to school, it was hard to succeed. Despite these challenges, two-thirds of homeless youth (67% of respondents) said that they were uncomfortable talking about their housing situation with their peers and teachers at school out of fear of being bullied or being separated from their families.

While there are programs in place to help homeless students, just 1 in 4 (25%) of the youth surveyed thought that their schools did a good job helping students find housing, and over half (58%) thought that their schools should have done more to help. Schools are often a source of stability for homeless youth during an otherwise chaotic time, so school libraries can help these students by providing safe and consistent spaces for studying or doing homework. Librarians can also support these students by making resources readily available that can connect students and their families to organizations that will help them find housing, transportation, and other support that will help students thrive in school.

You can find the full report here.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The LRS Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

 

Number of students in Colorado with severe reading deficiencies drops 2.7% since 2013

reading deficiencies_demographic

Image credit: Colorado Department of Education

According to a recent report by the Colorado Department of Education, the number of students with reading deficiencies has dropped since the Reading to Ensure Academic Development (READ) Act was implemented in 2013. The READ Act was passed in 2012 with the goal of ensuring that every student in Colorado reaches reading proficiency by the end of third grade, a time that researchers have identified as a critical benchmark that often predicts academic success throughout school. Under this act, students identified as having a “severe reading deficiency” (SRD) receive intervention support until their teacher determines that the student is meeting reading expectations for their grade level.

In 2013, about 1 in 5 (16.5%) of K-3 students were identified as having a SRD. That number dropped to 14.4% in 2014, and even further to 13.8% in 2015, resulting in a 2.7% decrease in students having a SRD over the two years since the READ Act was implemented. This may not seem like a high percentage, but it equates to 6,059 students who are now less likely to struggle throughout school and are more likely to graduate high school than students with a SRD.

The numbers are even more impressive among students who remained in the same school district. Following the 2013 cohort of first-graders, those who had consistent support from the same district were more likely to catch up with their peers’ reading level; out of the 10,737 students identified as having a SRD, over half (54%) were reading at grade level by the time they reached third grade.

The full report contains a wealth of related information, including breakdowns of the data by region and demographic group. This information can be useful to school librarians to identify which students may need extra support with reading.

Check out the full report here.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The LRS Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

Join us this Thursday 4/28 for our webinar “Count Your Impact: Getting Started with Outcome-Based Evaluation”

outcome_final

Are you wondering why everyone in the library world is talking about outcomes? Join us this Thursday, April 28, 12:00-1:00 MDT, for our webinar “Count Your Impact: Getting Started with Outcome-Based Evaluation,” and learn what all of the fuss is about. During our time together, you will gain a deeper understanding of what outcomes are, how to measure them (including an overview of several free and/or low-cost outcome survey tools), and how outcome-based evaluation results can be used for strategic decision-making and demonstrating the impact of your library. You can find out more information and access the online classroom via this link: http://cslinsession.cvlsites.org/upcoming/count-your-impact-getting-started-with-outcome-based-evaluation/.

Study finds 7 school library characteristics linked to student achievement

SLJ_SC_ImpactStudy

Image credit: School Library Journal

School Library Journal recently reported on the newest statewide study on the impact of school libraries for student success, commissioned by the South Carolina Association of School Librarians (SCASL). While this now marks more than a dozen states that have conducted studies showing a link between school library programs and student achievement, this study was the first to show school library’s contribution through test results for specific English language arts (ELA) and writing standards.

In South Carolina in 2012-2013, 7 school library characteristics were linked to student achievement, even when controlling for factors such as gender, race/ethnicity, disability, and free or reduced meal eligibility. Those characteristics are: 1) library staffing, 2) total library expenditures, 3) librarian hours spent on teaching activities, 4) circulation of library materials, 5) size of collection, 6) availability of computers, and 7) number of group visits to the library.

While an increase in each of these areas was positively correlated with better test scores and strengths in standards that were available for this study, a few findings stood out above the rest. First, students saw the most benefits when their school librarian spent at least 20 hours a week collaborating with instructors on teaching activities. Second, although ebooks are not yet widespread in South Carolina school libraries (with a median of 40 titles), students at schools with larger print and ebook collections were more likely to show strengths on writing standards. This was especially true for poor students and students eligible for meal subsidy. Third, while all students were positively impacted by access to computers, this was especially true for males, Hispanics, those with limited English and eligibility for meal subsidy.

Based on this study and others like it, the trend is clear – school libraries and the librarians who lead them are making a difference in education.

You can get more information about other school library impact studies conducted in Colorado and across the county here. A more detailed report on the South Carolina study can also be found here.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The Weekly Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

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