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School Libraries and Evidence-Based Practice: Dynamics, Strategies and Outcomes. Dr Ross Todd Department of Library and Information science Rutgers University [email protected] WA SCHOOL LIBRARY CONFERENCE, 2003. Too much else to do We don’t have the time

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School Libraries and Evidence-Based Practice: Dynamics, Strategiesand Outcomes

Dr Ross Todd

Department of Library and

Information science

Rutgers University

[email protected]



Reluctance to change l.jpg

Too much else to do Strategies

We don’t have the time

Staff will never accept it

We like change if it does not involve alterations

Why change, it’s working ok

You’re right, BUT …

Let’s get back to reality

Let’s sleep on it

You cannot teach an old dog new tricks

I’m retiring next year

It will not work here

We did all right without it

We’re all too busy to do it

Think of the disruption!

Not THAT again

We’ve always done it this way

Reluctance to change

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Your School Library? Strategies

How can your school library show that it:

  • Is a knowledge space?

  • Is a center for learning activism?

  • Actively contributes to the school as a thinking community?

  • Shows that it makes a difference to student learning?

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Evidence-Based StrategiesPractice (EBP)

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Evidence-Based Practice StrategiesTwo Key aspects

  • Conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best research findings in making decisions about the performance of your role and learning needs of your students

    2. Ensuring that your daily efforts put some focus on learning outcomes evaluation that gathers meaningful and systematic evidence on dimensions of teaching and learning that matter to the school and its support community

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School Libraries Empowering Learning: The Evidence Strategies

  • Making concrete the links between library and learning

  • Making concrete the links between information access and provision and growth of knowledge

  • Practices that demonstrate tangible power of our contribution to school’s learning goals

  • Local, immediate evidence: local successes, local improvements

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Evidence-Based Practice Strategies

Gathering evidence in YOUR local school

You are able to provide convincing evidence that answers these questions:

“What differences do my school library and its learning initiatives make to

student learning outcomes?

“What are the differences, the tangible learning outcomes and learning benefits of my school library”?

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Evidence-Based Practice is … Strategies

  • Examining and identifying specific student learning goals and needs (IL Standards)

  • Selecting appropriate learning outcomes

  • Identifying indicators of these outcomes

  • Establishing systematic approaches to locating and gathering evidence of achieving learning outcomes

  • Analyzing and synthesizing the evidence

  • Presenting and celebrating the learning outcomes

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  • Not a cook book approach

  • Will vary from school to school

  • Acknowledges and integrates local processes, ways of doing

  • Formative and summative evidence

  • Not just assessment; it is analyses and syntheses of assessment to create learning outcomes profiles, and articulate differences and impacts

  • Building strategies into collaborative initiatives that enable you to show the impact / outcomes

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EBP Strategies Strategies

  • simple checklist strategies: where students check their perceived levels of skills, knowledge and attitude before and after learning intervention;

  • rubric strategies: where students are scaled according to a set of criteria that clearly defines requirements of performances and products

  • conferencing strategies: group / individual review activities, students reflect on their work, on their constructive process and skills, and on benefits;

  • journaling strategies: writing entries in journal to focus on the research process as well as on the outcomes of their research;

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Checklist & Mapping Strategies Strategies

  • Identify new skills mastered; skills needed to work on

  • New knowledge gained: concept maps of knowledge of topic before and after research project

  • Short questionnaires, check lists, skills checkers Focus on learning, not library use

  • Minute Papers: what I learned, what I was lousy at, what help do I need, what I could help someone else with

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RUBRIC Strategies


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Conferencing Strategies Strategies

  • Focused discussion: things I have learned, skills I have learned, changes in skills and knowledge

  • Partner conferencing: PQP: Praise – what are strengths of project? Questions - What problems do you see with the project? Polish – What suggestions do you have to have to solve problems or improve the project. Record on advice sheet

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Journaling Strategies Strategies

  • Date each entry

  • Include written narrative, photos, sketches, timelines, notes, checklists of things to do and any other evidence of organization and progress

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EBP Strategies Strategies

  • portfolio strategies: where students construct a cumulative process of samples of their work collected over a period of time, matched to curriculum goals and information literacy requirements, as well as work progress reports, products, and self-assessments.

  • Indicators of learning: as shown in final products, performances, presentations, projects

  • Library surveys (not of library use, but of library learning) of how students have helped them learn

  • Analysis of standardized test score datato see if there are matches between scores and high-use library groups

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A great resource Strategies

  • Information Literacy in Action

  • Carol Gordon

  • Published by John Catt Educational

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EBP – Issues and Concerns Strategies

  • Accountability: Threat to professional authority and autonomy; immunity from accountability calls; “proving our worth”

  • I have to be a researcher:intellectual skills required to undertake evidence-based practice are not research methodologies and complex statistical analyses, but information literacy competencies

  • Our goal is lifelong learning, so how can we identify outcomes? Providing learners with explicit feedback on how they are learning in their formative years is fundamental to effective teaching and learning

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EBP – Issues and Concerns Strategies

  • EBP detracts from the job! What then is your job?

  • Time: I do not have time to do this.

  • Professional Development: we need examples, models, templates

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Benefits of EBP Strategies

  • Provides evidence at local school level that library program makes a difference to learning outcomes

  • Models information process to teaching colleagues

  • Basis for targeting time, energies and scarce resources

  • Helps you not to do things that do not work or that do not matter

  • Reflective, iterative process of informing instructional process: it informs, not misleads or detracts from day-to-day practice

  • Job satisfaction and confidence in the central role that library plays in the school

  • Moves beyond anecdotal, guess work, hunches,advocacy, touting research findings not connected to local actions

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What is the finger print of your library on learning? Strategies

Identify one evidence-based practice strategy that you could easily implement