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LIB 620 Library ManagementFall 2009 Evaluate! Evaluating School Media Services
Based in part on: Preemptive Action: The busy librarian’s guide to program evaluation A workshop developed by thePennsylvania School Librarians Association Professional Development Committee(No longer available online) indicates the slide was originally from the above presentation
What is evaluation? As defined by the American Evaluation Association: evaluation involves assessing the strengths and weaknesses of programs, policies, personnel, products, and organizations to improve their effectiveness. Evaluation is the systematic collection and analysis of data needed to make decisions Evaluation Definition: What is Evaluation?
What about school library media center evaluation? Evaluation of school library media centers: When you examine something or someone, you examine the subject and make a judgment about the quality, significance, or condition of whatever is to be evaluated. Emanuel T. Prostano and Joyce S. Prostano, The School Library Media Center5th ed. (Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, 1999), 44.
Purposes of evaluation To find out what is right To find out what is wrong Summary of definition in Blanche Woolls, The School Library Media Manager 2nd ed. (Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 1999).
What can you evaluate? Everything! Collection Personnel Library Layout Programs Curriculum collaboration Reference service/collection: Interview skills Quality of the answers provided Satisfaction of your patrons Students or teachers—or other school staff
What should you evaluate? That depends . . . On your priorities On your economic needs and situation On the policies and procedures established by your school, school district and/or state On how much time you have left over from your other duties to devote to planning and executing an evaluation project
Why evaluate? Because you have to Continuous assessment of services can be an ongoing requirement for accreditation/funding, etc. Because you want to You want to find out how well you’re doing You want to find out how well others think you’re doing You want to find ways to improve your service
Why Evaluate? Schools are being evaluated by student academic achievement in reading, writing and math. Recent studies show student achievement correlates positively with effective school library programs.
Why Evaluate? Studies show the positive correlation with student achievement occurs when there is an effective school library program [and]: School librarians are full time and Librarians collaborate with teachers on instructional planning.
Why Evaluate? Studies also show an effective school library program includes the following attributes: Quality collections; Increased hours of access beyond school day; Professional development for teachers and librarians; Student access to technology; and Collaboration with other types of libraries.
Why Evaluate? Because. . . To improve, the librarian must have baseline data about the program. To be relevant, the librarian must know if the library services and resources are aligned with the school’s goals for student achievement. To build a case for better support, the librarian needs data that demonstrates the value of the program.
What Can an Evaluation Do? An evaluation enables you to: Determine success in attaining program goals. Determine students’ and teachers’ needs so they can be incorporated into the program. Provide a basis for resource allocation. Recognize strengths and accomplishments. Examine the impact of the program on student learning.
Nancy Everhart,Evaluating the School Library Media Center, 1998)
It makes sense—
Focus data collecting and evaluation on those components of a school library program that the research shows correlate with student achievement.
Evaluation requires standards How do you know if the media center is “good”/ “not good” or even “good enough”? “Good enough” for what? For whom? Guidelines or rubrics or objectives for collections, performance can be found in: Beyond Proficiency: Achieving a Distinguished Library Media Program. Kentucky Department of Education. August 2001 Administering the Library Media Program The library media specialist: Evaluates the Library Media Program through regular surveys for the purpose of enhancing services
Types of Data Quantitative Qualitative Students’ success rate in locating appropriate resources in OPAC searches Number of OPAC searches Size of collection Collection supports the curriculum Number of lessons planned with teachers Comprehensive and collaborative planning is in place
Standards require interpretation Qualitative: more difficult Program Evaluation Rubric, “Beyond Proficiency,” pp. 20-26. Standard 2: “The Library Media Program promotes and supports student learning and achievement through its policies, programs and collection.” Distinguished: “Students are empowered to use the media center to access information and reading for pleasure.”
Interpretation means operationalization Operationalize: To define a concept in a way that can be measured. In evaluation research, to translate program inputs, outputs, objectives, and goals into specific measurable variables. Program Evaluation Glossary http://www.epa.gov/evaluate/glossary/o-esd.htm
Interpretation means creating goals and objectives The purpose and study goals should determine the types of methods and measures you use to conduct the evaluation Objectives will define your standard of excellence--the minimum level of appropriate service for your particular clientele Jo Bell Whitlach, Evaluating Reference Services
Methods of Evaluation Obtrusive People are aware of the evaluation Self-evaluation Surveys Observation Unobtrusive People are unaware of the evaluation Unobtrusive measures of physical facilities Use of proxies—“mystery patrons”
Obtrusive reference evaluations in a school library context Questionnaires or interviews of students or teachers Numbers gathering: Reference question counts Numbers/types of reference books used Circulation statistics Observation By external observer Self-observation: Journal
For example. . . Research finding: Students whose school librarian plays an instructional role tend to achieve higher than average test scores. This is also dependent on collaboration between school librarians and teachers and the inclusion of the library materials in the curriculum.
Evaluation Model Define the question. Collect data--determine needed data and method of collection. Analyze the data. Formulate recommendations. Develop an action plan.
Evaluation Model Step 1. Define the Question The Question Research Finding Students whose school librarian plays an instructional role tend to achieve higher than average scores. What data are needed to determine whether or not the school librarian plays an instructional role in the school?
Look at the rubric Beyond Proficiency: 3. The Library Media program supports collaborative planning with the staff for the enhancement of instruction and support of student achievement. Distinguished: The LMS teams with teachers in the formal planning of student-centered authentic learning and project-based teaching and is a teaching partner.
According toInformation Power-- Instructional role is determined by: Collaboration between school librarians and teachers that results in the inclusion of library materials in the curriculum.
According toInformation Power-- Instructional role is defined by: Information literacy standards Collaborative planning Effective teaching Differentiated learning options Inquiry Assessment Student Engagement
According to Empowering Learners Guideline 1: The school library media program promotes collaboration among members of the learning community and encourages learners to be independent, lifelong users and producers of information.
Guideline 3: The school library media program provides instruction that addresses multiple literacies, including information literacy, media literacy, visual literacy, and technology literacy. According to Empowering Learners
Evaluation Model Step 2.Collect data Determine the type needed. Quantitative/Qualitative Determine the method of collection. Existing statistic Survey, questionnaire, focus group, observation
One method to collect data-- Use Information Power’s Teaching and Learning Rubric as a questionnaire. Administer it to School Library staff, Administrative staff, Teaching staff. Summarize each group; determine where perceptions differ and agree.
Data collected from the Teaching and Learning Rubric are qualitative-- Example: Principal puts librarian on weekly faculty meeting agenda to encourage library use and promote curriculum-oriented library materials. Math teacher does not see an easy connect and tunes out. When completing the questionnaire-- School librarian & principal: EXEMPLARY! Math teacher: 0 NOTHING!
Evaluation Model Step 3.Analyze the data How can the data be analyzed to determine whether or not the librarian plays an effective instructional role in the school? Identify areas of agreement and disagreement among groups. Identify areas of strength and areas that need improvement. Identify areas where more data is needed.
Weakness Area Example-- Target Indicator: Students are engaged in reading, writing, speaking, viewing & listening for enjoyment, enrichment, & understanding. Library Staff Response ____Basic 100% Proficient ____ Exemplary Administrative Response 100% Basic ____ Proficient ____ Exemplary Teaching Staff Response 82% Basic 18% Proficient ____ Exemplary
Contradictory Data Example— Target Indicator:Effective teaching modeled & promoted. Library Basic ____ Prof. 100% Exemplary Admin. ____ Basic ____ Prof. 100% Exemplary Teacher Basic 60% Prof. 40% Exemplary Target Indicator: Student achievement is assessed. Library 100% Basic Prof. Exemplary Admin. 100% Basic ____ Prof. Exemplary Teacher 90% Basic 10% Prof. Exemplary
Back to Step 2Collecting More Data – Focus Groups How are student products and performances assessed in units involving use of the library? How do you determine the products and performances to demonstrate mastery of content in units involving use of the library? What is the role of reflection in student work involving use of the library?
Evaluation Model Step 4.Formulate recommendations Role of an Advisory Committee of stakeholders—
Because of the strong correlation between the school librarian’s instructional role and student achievement, the Advisory Committee establishes a three year goal of reaching the Exemplary level in all target indicators in the Teaching and Learning Rubric
Example:Recommendations for First Year Standards for the 21st Century Learner Review the Standards for the 21st Century Learner to ensure they align with content standards and set student expectations for analysis, evaluation and inquiry. Meet with teaching teams to solicit recommended revisions. Convene a workshop for new teachers to review the standards. Adapted from
Example:Recommendations for First Year Collaborative Planning Establish regular common planning time for teachers with the library media staff. Curriculum Development Review school policies to remove any barriers that prevent librarians from participating in building and district curriculum sessions.
Example:Recommendations for First Year Reading, Writing, Speaking, Viewing Provide a series of author workshops and develop plans with teachers for student reading, writing, speaking, and viewing responses to the author workshops. Involve Parents. Effective Teaching Clarify conflicting feedback through focus groups targeting use of assessment, differentiation, & inquiry in instruction. Develop recommendations based on new data.
Evaluation Model Step 5.Develop an action plan Library staff develop an action plan for each recommendation. The Advisory Committee of Stakeholders reviews and approves the action plans.
Action Plan Example:Target Indicator: Curriculum development is modeled and promoted
This example of an evaluation was… Data collection methods: Research Rubric-based questionnaire Focus Group Data type: Quantitative Qualitative Type (which one?) Formal Internal Formative
Unobtrusive evaluation in schools 1 Unobtrusive measures of physical facilities “The basic premise . . . is that you can learn a great deal . . . by looking at how things wear (‘erosion’), how things are left in the building (‘traces’) and how things are rearranged (‘adaptations for use’).” Nancy Everhart, Evaluating the School Library Media Center: Analysis Techniques and Research Practices. Libraries Unlimited, 1998.
Unobtrusive evaluation in schools 2 Use of proxies—“mystery patrons” Technique used more often in academic libraries and government documents reference services Half-right reference: the 55% rule 5-minute rule Peter Hernon and Charles R. McClure, “Unobtrusive Reference Testing: The 55 Percent Rule” Library Journal April 15, 1986, 37-41. “It’s not true, and now we know why . . . the so-called “55% rule” has never been tested against a truly representative field sample.” John V. Richardson, Jr., “Reference Is Better Than We Thought,” Library Journal April 15, 2002, 41-42.
Importance of a sophisticated model Richardson: “The reference service performance model [that led to the 55% rule] was overly simplistic, samples were way too small, and the test questions were not representative of real-world reference questions.” “Students of reference service should learn about the existence of multiple performance outcomes (i.e., accuracy, utility, and satisfaction) and to recognize that each outcome is driven by different factors.” “Reference Is Better Than We Thought.”
Characteristics of good models Measures of reference service must be Valid They “accurately reflect the concept being studied.” Reliable They “are stable and dependable, and provide consistent results with each repeated use.” Practical They “require that data be relatively easy to collect.” Useful They “provide information that can be used to improve reference services.” Whitlach, Evaluating Reference Services.
Problems of Evaluation in School Context Often the school library media specialist is the only one working in the library An evaluation project can be time-consuming to plan and to put into action
Solutions to evaluation problems Depends on your local situation Your resources: Time, money, available warm bodies You and your creativity Make evaluation part of your routine As you plan/prepare your program(s), include an evaluation component Appropriate, affordable, accessible, accountable