Connections: The Correlation between School Libraries and English Language Arts (Monroe 2 Orleans BOCES)

Outcome-Based Evaluation
Best Practices in New York State

(Example illustrating Measurements)

The grant application and report for this project did not list predicted outcomes and indicators in OBE format. Information about the project is included because the data collection activities are excellent candidates for use with OBE projects.

The documents including such items as baseline data, collection analysis, communication log, data collection list, lesson plan template, and student and teacher surveys are available at the organization’s web site. Reflection logs are a great source of data for the qualitative outcomes of a project, and to identify what needs to be changed or enhanced. The effort to capture student achievement is outstanding even though difficult and not necessarily scientific. Student achievement is probably the highest form of outcome for school library programs and continued efforts in that direction are encouraged.

The target population for this project is librarians, teachers, students and administrators. A second population through service improvement would be parents. To date librarians participating in the project have teamed with teachers to work with specific classes. In some instances they may be working with more than one class. The project initially sought to involve third, fourth, seventh and eighth grade teachers. Project participants now include kindergarten through high school…. We are now a core group of 11 school librarians, their collaborating teachers and classes of approximately 30 students each.

The three major goals during the first year were to strengthen the relationship of school librarians to ELA Standards and Tests; to strengthen the collaboration of school librarians with teachers with regard to ELA and to strengthen the ability of school librarians to make data driven decisions. With regard to the first two goals the project has succeeded in raising the level of awareness and understanding for each of the project participants through staff development and group sharing. While the data has been continual, the analysis and interpretation of the data is a major objective during the second year… [Second Year:] The target population…was school librarians, teachers, students and administrators in the participating schools. A second population was school librarians who did not participate bt who would also benefit from our experience. There were four areas addressed…collaboration, data collection, staff development and marketing. The four goals were to strengthen the relationship of school libraries to English Language Arts Standards and ELA Tests; strengthen the collaborative relationship of school librarians with teachers of English Language Arts, Reading and ESL; strengthen data-driven decision-making by school librarians; and strengthen the understanding by a school district of the local library’s role in student academic achievement. …

The accomplishments of the second year of the project were in the two main areas of data analysis and marketing. The data collection piece of the project proved to be a challenge for participants. While we collected data on a list of items from pre and post teacher surveys, collaborations, enriched programs to test results, it was difficult to draw a direct correlation to performance. What resulted was an impression rather than scientific proof. At the first meeting of the school year 2006-2007, the part-time project coordinator presented a PowerPoint about the data collected during year one of the project and discussed the strengths and weaknesses of the data collection process.

However, it was very beneficial for school librarians to look at what students are being tested on, how their school performed and identify elements of their own instruction that align with content areas on the ELA exams. Participants were provided with contact people within their district for ELA data, which helped to take away some of the mystery of how do they find out about how students in their building are performing. … At least two participants were involved in test scoring and the rest of the group was encouraged to take part as a way of being visible in the process and of learning. The purpose of the data analysis workshop was to share test score information and to discuss how to look at test questions and connect them to a standard and the skills that could be taught.

As a result of the reading and data analysis presentations the project participants broke up into an elementary and secondary group to work on aligning the ELA Standards and Information Literacy Standards with Library Practices. What the group wanted to create was a chart that could be used by a new librarian to see what library activities would support both ELA and Information Literacy Standards. A collection of lesson plans was added to the resources that would be made available to other librarians. Both of  these items will be added to the LSTA Grant Project web page. They are evolving works that other librarians can add to…

One hundred percent of the teacher participants believe that the library media program helps support ELA success. In addition, all the teachers suggested areas of ELA weaknesses for thief students. These topics became a starting point for collaborative efforts between teachers and librarians. Librarians logged their collaborations during the grant and tallied 148 collaborations… In addition to the collaborations, librarians kept track of contacts with the class they were working with and the number of enrichment programs that the class participated in.

Librarians and their teacher partners kept track of ELA baseline scores (often a parallel assessment). The results from the actual ELA test were recorded in many cases.

The responses to surveys and reflection logs were insightful as to the outcomes for collaboration, data collection, staff development and marketing.


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Last Updated: June 3, 2009