PHILADELPHIA — Having access to a full-time, certified school librarian means better outcomes for Pennsylvania's public school students, according to new research from the Colorado-based RSL Research Group.
The researchers examined the 2010-11 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) tests in Reading and Writing for students in grades three through 11, and tracked outcomes for students based on five school library factors: staffing, collections, digital resources and technology infrastructure, library access, and funding.
Overall, the greatest impact on student test scores was seen from having a full-time, certified librarian.
• Students who have access to a full-time, certified librarian scored higher on the PSSA Reading Test than those students who do not have such access. This finding is true for all students, regardless of their socio-economic, racial/ethnic, and/or disability status.
• For several student groups that tend to experience achievement gaps—economically disadvantaged, Hispanic, Black, and those with IEPs (Individualized Education Programs)—Reading and Writing results are markedly better when those students attend a school with a librarian and library support staff, according to the research. In fact, they benefit more proportionally than the general student population.
"This research shows us how crucial a well-resourced school library and a full-time, certified school librarian are to achievement for the most vulnerable students," said Sandra Zelno, Education Law Center School Reform Associate.