The Colorado Department of Education recently released 2007 CSAP (Colorado Student Assessment Program) test results for schools throughout the state,[note]CSAP data accessed 8/2/07 from www.cde.state.co.us/cdeassess/documents/csap/csap_summary.html.[/note] and students in schools with staffed libraries performed better on the reading portions of the CSAP than their counterparts in schools without staffed libraries.[note]The term “staffed libraries” refers to schools which reported having Library/Media Consultants or Assistants. Staffing data available at www.lrs.org/school/stats_2006.php.[/note] Schools with staffed libraries saw a higher percentage of their students score Proficient or Advanced on the CSAP reading test (68.5% vs. 57.5%). Conversely, schools without staffed libraries had a higher percentage of students score “unsatisfactory” (15.9% vs. 10.3%), compared to schools with staffed libraries (see chart below).
Undoubtedly, many factors contribute to success or failure on standardized tests. There is an opportunity here for more research to better determine the role that school libraries play in the success of Colorado’s students.
Until that research can be realized, this is anecdotal evidence that supports a series of studies that have been performed over the last decade and a half. These studies detail how well-developed school libraries positively impact academic achievement.[note]Studies relating school libraries to academic achievement can be found at www.lrs.org/impact.php.[/note]