Research studies on the value of the media specialist
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Research Studies On the Value of The Media Specialist. Elisabeth McDowell MEDT 6466 Spring 2012. Is a School Library Media Specialist Really Important to Our School?. Yes, school library media specialists help students increase their academic achievement.

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Research Studies On the Value of The Media Specialist

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Research Studies On the Value of The Media Specialist

Elisabeth McDowell

MEDT 6466

Spring 2012

Is a School Library Media Specialist Really Important to Our School?

Yes, school library media specialists help students increase their academic achievement.

There are research studies available that support these findings.

Dr. Keith Lance and others have done studies on the importance of school media centers in 1993, 2000 and most recently in 2010.

In Dr. Lance’s studies he found that significant advances in achievement can be made due to positive effects from a school media center.

For Dr. Lance’s 2010 third study , the Colorado and the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) was used again. This is assessment tool has been used in Colorado for fourteen years.

The 3rd study focuses on several areas within the media center that can effect student achievement.

The study was done using 2007-2008 CSAP scores.

The areas that were focused on were:1. library staffing2. Library expenditures3. Library visits 4. library collection

Library Staffing

The 2010 study found that more students earned proficient or advanced reading scores when their schools had at least one full-time media specialist.

Schools with less than one media specialist had lower proficient and advanced reading scores for their students.

Library Expenditures

Schools that spent more money in their media centers averaged higher reading scores on the state standardized test.

Schools that spent less money in their media centers showed lower reading scores.

Library Visits

Schools that had more individual student visits per week to the media center showed that the students scored higher in reading.

These same schools had less students showing unsatisfactory reading scores.

School Library Collection

Schools that had at least 9 periodical subscriptions and at least 150 videos or dvd’s showed students achieving high reading scores.

More students achieved proficient or advance reading scores and less unsatisfactory scores based on the amount of periodicals and videos iin the school media collection.

Study Conclusion

The findings from Dr. Lance’s 2010 study are consistent with the results that he found in his previous two studies.

Students have consistently shown higher reading scores and lower unsatisfactory scores when the media center is an integral part of a student’s school day.

Between 2000 and 2009 there have been seventeen other states that have done similar research.

The findings from these research studies shows that the role of the school media specialist and the media center are important in students making academic achievement gains.

Another research study titled: How Students, Teachers and Principals Benefit From Strong School Libraries: The indiana study was done in 2007.

The results showed that when elementary schools with stronger school libraries (more weekly staff hours, larger collections, more visits, larger budgets) were compared to those with weaker libraries, stronger libraries showed increases in third-grade test results of seven to eleven percent.

The results from this study showed that principals can play an active role in helping media specialists achieve positive results.

The study also took into account the differences between races and socioeconomic status.

What Are Some Things That Principals Can Do?

The Indiana study found some key findings that can serve as a guide for school media specialists and principals.

Ways That Principals Can Help:Encourage collaboration between the slms and classroom teachersFlexible schedulingRegular meetings between the principal and slmsHaving the media specialist serve on key committees

Other Ways To Achieve Higher Academic Achievement:The slms believes that the principals and teachers understand the importance of their roleCollaboration between the slms and the teacher when planning to incorporate information literacy standardsFamiliarity of the information literary standards by both the classroom teacher and the slms

Conclusion:Research studies show that increased support for the slms and the media center help to improve student academic achievement. This cannot be done without support from teachers and especially from principals.

ReferencesColorado Department of Education. Assessment Csap/Tsap. Retrieved from:, B. Lance, K. Leitzau, Z. (2010). chool librarians continue to help students achieve standards: the third colorado study (2010) Retrieved from:, Keith. Rodney, Marcia. Russell. Becky. (2007) How students, teachers, and principals benefit from strong school libraries: the indiana study—2007. Retrieved from:

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