Digital School Libraries and Student Performance

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<ul><li><p>8/9/2019 Digital School Libraries and Student Performance</p><p> 1/7</p><p>Digital School Libraries and Student Performance 2010 </p><p>1 | P a g e </p><p>Digital School Libraries andStudent Performance: An</p><p>Evaluation of the DigitalCollections at High Schools inPennsylvania and New JerseyJune 7, 2010</p><p>Gina Cacace, Graduate Student at DrexelUniversitys i School, School Library Media program</p><p></p><p>Paper produced for course INFO 653, DigitalLibraries with Professor Xia Lin.</p><p>Keywords: digital libraries, education, school library </p><p>media, school library, digital collection, student </p><p> performance, digital literacy </p><p> Abstract This quantitative study extends the breadth of research that shows a strong relationshipbetween traditional school library quality andstudent performance (Michie &amp; Chaney, 2005;Lance et al., 2000). Since the way that studentslearn is changing, the ways that libraries canimprove that learning is also subject to change(Roes, 2001). I will try to determine whether inan age of digital learners, schools with higherquality digital collections will have betterperforming students.</p><p>Thirty digital collections of high schools inPennsylvania and New Jersey were evaluatedfor their collection size, quality, currency, scope,</p><p>content organization, navigation, browsing andsearching capabilities. A Spearman rankcorrelation of -.6273 was calculated whichshows within a .01 probability ( n=30, p=.01,critical value .478) that schools with betterdigital collections have better performingstudents.</p><p>IntroductionThe new generation of students are digital</p><p>learners (Brown, 2002), with more than 78% of children between the ages of 12 and 17 goingonline everyday (Arafeh et al., 2002). It is wellestablished that most high school studentsutilize the Internet to do school work (Lorenzen,2001; Arafeh et al., 2002).</p><p>The Pew Internet &amp; American Life Project Pollfound that 71% of high school studentsreported to have used only Internet resourcesfor their last school report. In contrast, only24% said that they used books or magazinesfrom the library. It is clear that school librariesneed to adapt in order to remain relevant in adigital world.</p><p>What is most interesting about the workcoming from the Pew Internet &amp; American LifeProject is that through interviews with highschool students they found that the mainmetaphor used by students to explain their use</p><p>of the Internet for school work is that theInternet is a reference library:</p><p> Much like a school -issued textbook or atraditional library, students think of the Internet as the place to find primary and secondary source materials for their reports, presentations</p><p>and projects (Arafeh et al., 2002:5).</p><p>In fact, John Seely Brown predicts:</p><p> the real literacy of tomorrow entails the ability to be your own personal reference librarian-toknow how to navigate through confusing,complex information spaces and feel comfortable doing so (Brown , 2002: 14).</p></li><li><p>8/9/2019 Digital School Libraries and Student Performance</p><p> 2/7</p><p>Digital School Libraries and Student Performance 2010 </p><p>2 | P a g e </p><p>In the coming era where the Internet is the newlibrary and students are the new referencelibrarians, where do traditional school librariesand librarians fit? Many predict that school</p><p>libraries and librarians will provide access todigital collections that organize information inways that will help students find crediblesources (Dresang, 2005).</p><p>Prior research has only evaluated the circulationstatistics and print collection quality of schoollibraries to assess their value. This study positsthat school libraries with high quality digitalcollections will provide their students with theresources necessary to navigate the digitalworld. By providing access and credibility toresources, the digital collections of schoollibraries can help improve student learning asmeasured by test performance and overallschool ranking.</p><p>MethodsSchool ranking data was obtained from the2008 report by Philadelphia Magazine (Sweeney, 2008). The rankings of 105 schooldistricts in Pennsylvania and New Jersey (8 totalcounties) were based on the following criteria:</p><p>Standardized test scores (grade leveltesting under the No Child Left BehindAct and SAT scores)Graduation ratesStudent-faculty ratioPercentage of graduates intending toenroll at two- and four-year colleges</p><p>The results were weighted by the number of students enrolled (Sweeney, 2008).</p><p>In order to control for the effect of budget onlibrary quality, I took the cost per student of thetop high school ($14,222 annual cost perstudent for Tredyffrin-Easttown School District)</p><p>and evaluated all school districts that spent +/-$1,000 per student. There were 26 schooldistricts that fell into this category, with overallrankings ranging from 1 - 103 with a mean rank</p><p>of 41. Because some school districts have morethan one high school, I evaluated a total of 30high school library digital collections.</p><p>Philadelphias school district (with its 45different public high schools and numerouscharter schools) was excluded from the sample.The district ranked 104/105 and would haveskewed the results since it contained more highschools than the rest of the districts combined.</p><p>The school districts and corresponding highschools evaluated are listed in Table 1.</p><p>School District High SchoolTredyffrin-Easttown</p><p>School DistrictConestoga High School</p><p>Unionville-Chadds Ford Unionville High School</p><p>Methacton School District Methacton High School</p><p>Hatboro-Horsham SchoolDistrict</p><p>Hatboro-Horsham High School</p><p>Council Rock SchoolDistrict</p><p>Council Rock High School North</p><p>Council Rock School</p><p>District</p><p>Council Rock High School South</p><p>Wallingford-Swarthmore Strath Haven High School</p><p>Upper Dublin SchoolDistrict</p><p>Upper Dublin High School</p><p>Lower Moreland Township Lower Moreland High School</p><p>Garnet Valley SchoolDistrict</p><p>Garnet Valley High School</p><p>Downington Area SchoolDistrict</p><p>Dowington High School East</p><p>Downington Area SchoolDistrict</p><p>Dowington High School West</p><p>North Penn School District North Penn High School</p><p>West Chester Area SchoolDistrict</p><p>West Chester Henderson HighSchool</p><p>West Chester Area SchoolDistrict West Chester East High School</p><p>West Chester Area SchoolDistrict</p><p>West Chester Rustin High School</p><p>Abington School District Abington Senior High School</p><p>Kennett ConsolidatedSchool District</p><p>Kennett High School</p><p>Quakertown CommunitySchool District</p><p>Quakertown High School</p><p>Pennsbury School District Pennsbury High School</p></li><li><p>8/9/2019 Digital School Libraries and Student Performance</p><p> 3/7</p><p>Digital School Libraries and Student Performance 2010 </p><p>3 | P a g e </p><p>Springfield School District Springfield High School</p><p>Spring-Ford Area SchoolDistrict</p><p>Senior High School</p><p>Pennridge School District Pennridge High School</p><p>Octorara Area SchoolDistrict</p><p>Octorara Area High School</p><p>Upper Moreland SchoolDistrict</p><p>Upper Moreland High School</p><p>Pottsgrove School District Pottsgrove High School</p><p>Chichester School District Chichester High School</p><p>Bristol Borough SchoolDistrict</p><p>Bristol High School</p><p>Gloucester City Gloucester City High School</p><p>William Penn SchoolDistrict</p><p>Penn Wood High School</p><p>Table 1. Study Sample</p><p>The official high school websites were found byaccessing the Wikipedia page for each schooldistrict. Library website URLs were located bybrowsing the main high school website. Twentynine of the thirty high schools had dedicatedlibrary websites with digital collections(characterized by electronic resources such assubscription databases, external links withannotations organized by subject, andpathfinders). Any school without a digitalcollection was given a rating of 0.</p><p>Digital collections were evaluated using amodified version of the digital repository reviewdeveloped by Professor Xia Lin at DrexelUniversity. The collections were evaluated fortheir size, quality, currency, scope, contentorganization, navigation, browsing andsearching capabilities and ranked on scales of 0</p><p> 3 and 0 4. Where features were unavailableor inaccessible because of a secure log in ascore of 0 was given because studies show thathitting a wall (or requiring a log in for access)is a deterrent against using a service, especiallyfor students (Dresang, 2005).</p><p>Collection size was determined by the numberof resources, the quality was determined bywhether they were well known academic sites</p><p>or links to sites with questionable credibility.Currency was determined a few ways deadlinks hinted that the digital collection was notmaintained. The copyright at the bottom of the</p><p>digital collection s site also indicated whether itwas updated recently. News feeds of newresources (Twitterfeeds, scrollingannouncements, new book lists, etc.) receivedhigh currency scores. Scope was scored onwhether or not the collections expandedoutside of the general history/social studiesrealm. Some schools only had resources forparticular classes while others had resources ona wide range of topics. Dresang s (2005) meta-</p><p>analysis of the information seeking behavior of students found that students prefer browsingover planned searches. It is also well knownthat children (K-12) read in a non-linearmanner. Because of this, digital collections hadto be well organized in order to allow fordiscovery through clicking. The use of imagesand other visual organizational methods wereconsidered good. Lists of links were notconsidered user friendly and received lower</p><p>scores. Pathfinders organized by subject thatcontained annotated links, on the other hand,received high scores. Many collections did nothave formal search engines. If they did, a simplekeyword test was performed to evaluate itseffectiveness.</p><p>The total number of points possible from theevaluation was 29. See Table 2 for theevaluation criteria and scoring system used.</p><p>All efforts were made to ensure that theevaluations of the digital collection were doneindependently of the schools rank. The rankdata provided by Philadelphia Magazine waskept separate from the evaluation and URLinformation.</p></li><li><p>8/9/2019 Digital School Libraries and Student Performance</p><p> 4/7</p><p>Digital School Libraries and Student Performance 2010 </p><p>4 | P a g e </p><p>Category Possible values for the ratingCollection Size 0 Unknown</p><p>1 Small2 Medium3 Large4 Very large</p><p>Quality 0 Unknown1 Poor2 Mixed3 Good4 Excellent</p><p>Currency 0 Unknown1 Not-up-to-date2 Up-to-date3 Update-frequently</p><p>Scope 0 Unknown1 Various coverage2 Focused coverage3 Comprehensive coverage</p><p>Content Organization 0 Unknown1 Lack of organization2 Good organization</p><p>3 Excellent organizationNavigation 0 Unable to access1 Difficult-to-use2 Ok3 Easy-to-use4 Excellent</p><p>Browsing 0 Unable to access1 Difficult-to-use2 Ok3 Easy-to-use4 Excellent</p><p>Searching 0 Unable to access1 Difficult-to-use2 Ok3 Easy-to-use4 Excellent</p><p>Table 2. Evaluation Criteria for Digital Collections</p><p>ResultsFigure 1 graphs the two sets of data: theschools ranking on a scale of 1-103 (1 beinggood, 103 being poor) and the evaluation (0being bad and 29 being excellent). Figure 1shows that the data followed a general negativetrend, where schools with better studentperformance (lower ranks) tended to have</p><p>higher quality digital collections.</p><p>In order to better test the relationship betweenthe data points, a Spearmans rank correlationwas calculated (see Table 3). This compares therelative rank of each data set ( x = school rank,y = digital collection evaluation score) to</p><p>determine whether the place each coordinateholds in its respective data set is related.</p><p>SchoolRanking Rank </p><p>DigitalCollectionEvaluation</p><p>Score Rank </p><p>Difference(d) d 2 </p><p>1 1 24 26 -25 625</p><p>3 3 22 23.5 -20.5 420.25</p><p>20 9 29 30 -21 44134 17 18 19 -2 4</p><p>8 5.5 18 19 -13.5 182.25</p><p>8 5.5 15 15 -9.5 90.25</p><p>7 4 23 25 -21 441</p><p>2 2 26 27 -25 625</p><p>13 8 27 28.5 -20.5 420.2512 7 18 19 -12 144</p><p>21 10.5 9 7 3.5 12.25</p><p>21 10.5 10 8.5 2 4</p><p>36 18 19 21.5 -3.5 12.25</p><p>27 14 22 23.5 -9.5 90.25</p><p>27 14 19 21.5 -7.5 56.25</p><p>27 14 0 1 13 169</p><p>24 12 27 28.5 -16.5 272.25</p><p>49 21 17 17 4 16</p><p>66 24 7 4 20 400</p><p>28 16 14 13 3 9</p><p>46 19 7 4 15 225</p><p>47 20 12 12 8 64</p><p>54 22 7 4 18 324</p><p>77 27 10 8.5 18.5 342.25</p><p>59 23 11 10.5 12.5 156.25</p><p>74 26 15 15 11 121</p><p>99 29 5 2 27 729</p><p>102 30 15 15 15 225</p><p>67 25 11 10.5 14.5 210.25</p><p>91 28 8 6 22 484</p><p>d2 7315</p><p>Table 3. Spearmans Rank Correlation Data</p></li><li><p>8/9/2019 Digital School Libraries and Student Performance</p><p> 5/7</p><p>Digital School Libraries and Student Performance 2010 </p><p>5 | P a g e </p><p>Figure 1. School Rank versus School Library Digital Collection Quality </p><p>The calculation for rho ( ) shown in Table 4yields a Spearman rank correlation of -.6273. Anegative correlation means that the data acts in</p><p>opposition. Such that y (the digital collectionquality) decreases when x (the school s rank)increases. This occurs because the school rankdata is set so that a higher number is a lowerrank, or lower student performance.</p><p>Table 4. Spearmans Rank Calculations </p><p>Based on an adjusted critical value of .478(n=30, p=.01) 1, the Spearman rank correlationfound in this study is within the .01 level of significance.</p><p>DiscussionThis study found a significant correlationbetween the quality of a school library s digital</p><p>1 This website was used to determine the criticalvalues for a small sample:</p><p>collection and student performance. The resultsshow that as the quality of the school library sdigital collection increased, so did the student sperformance and the school s overall ranking.Since we controlled for the expenditures perstudent, we know these results are not due tobudgetary discrepancies. Instead, it seems thatthe schools that invest in digital resources fortheir students are rewarded with betterperforming students and a higher overall schoolrank. This confirms our suspicions that students</p><p>0</p><p>5</p><p>10</p><p>15</p><p>20</p><p>25</p><p>30</p><p>35</p><p>0 20 40 60 80 100 120 D i g i t a</p><p> l C o</p><p> l l e c t i o n Q u a</p><p> l i t y</p><p> ( o u t o</p><p> f 2 9</p><p> )</p><p>School Rank as measured by Philadelphia Magazine (out of 103)</p><p>School Rank and School Library DigitalCollection Quality for 30 High Schools in</p><p>Pennsylvania and New Jersey</p></li><li><p>8/9/2019 Digital School Libraries and Student Performance</p><p> 6/7</p><p>Digital School Libraries and Student Performance 2010 </p><p>6 | P a g e </p><p>growing up in the digital age require differentresources than earlier cohorts of students.</p><p>The results of this study speak volumes for theDigital Library community. We now know thatstudent performance is linked to the quality of digital libraries. Educators should take this veryseriously and ensure that adequate funding isprovided to its school library media centers todevelop a digital counterpart to their traditionalbrick and mortar collections.</p><p>Study LimitationsThe design of this study is not without itslimitations. First, the use of the PhiladelphiaMagazine rankings to capture studentperformance was not the best data set, as theraw data used to compile the rankings was notmade available. According to Sweeney (2008),the rankings of schools were accurate within +/-10 places.</p><p>In addition, the evaluation system used to scorethe digital collections has not been standard...</p></li></ul>