This work is based on data from 120 juniors who cross the spectrum of learning abilities from Advanced Placement Language to identified students with IEPs. Over the course of the 2017-2018 school year, each student was assessed by an English teacher (1st semester English Research Paper), a social studies teacher (2nd semester social studies research paper), and me, the librarian (both research paper bibliographies). Here is what I learned.
I interpret the number of earned badges as a measure of motivation. There were fourteen videos to watch and an equivalent number of mini-quizzes, plus the final assessment (also a quiz, but a longer one).
I eliminated Advanced Placement (AP) students from this calculation, because the AP teachers were less invested in giving learners class time to participate in this activity, AP students are, by default more motivated, and AP students’ performance on the research benchmark (average score 4.04) was 40% higher than the regular section students (average score of 2.88).
I eliminated the students from this calculation whose teacher did not have them participate in the badging activity.
The non-Advanced Placement students who were asked to participate in the badging activity and earned 10 or less out of 15 badges averaged an English research score of 2.76 (below the goal of 3) whereas those earning 11 or more badges averaged an English research score of 3.08, an increase of 12%.
Students earning 74% or below on bibliography quiz earned an average score of 74% on their bibliographies. Students who earned a 75% or above on their bibliography quiz earned an average score of 84% on their bibliography, an increase of 10%.
Of the 45 students for whom I have graded bibliographies for both 1st and 2nd semester, 65% improved their score in the second semester. Of that cohort, 55% improved their 2nd semester research paper score as well.
Using a first semester exit ticket I administered to Juniors after the English research paper, I was able to measure students’ perception of librarian helpfulness. The response choices included “Extremely helpful”, “Very helpful”, “Helpful”, “Not helpful”, and some variation of N/A, depending on the question. I tallied the positive responses to look for correlation between students’ perception of helpfulness and the teacher’s collaboration score. Teachers of the students who gave the library a “Helpfulness” rating of 70% or higher were 10% more collaborative than the teachers whose students rated library “Helpfulness” at 69% or below.
I calculated an overall “contact with the librarian” score by averaging the following numbers:
Then I classified students into those who passed the second semester research paper and those who did not and compared the two groups using two criteria:
2nd semester scores
Contact with librarian
Research score change from 1st semester to 2nd
1 & 2
3, 4 & 5
The students who passed their 2nd semester research paper had 6% more contact with the librarian during the 2017-2018 school year. Their research paper score improved by an average of 17% more than the students who did not pass their social studies research paper.
This is as close as I have come to establishing that working with the school librarian positively impacts student learning outcomes. The analyses listed below establish correlation between working with the librarian and improved student achievement. Individually, they do not prove that working with a librarian is the cause of that improvement, yet the pattern that emerges from this data suggest that causation is possible. Give all the variables at play in measuring student achievement in 20 different classes with 15 different teachers (including me), I think this is about as close to causation as I will ever get. I am pleased. Finally.