Skip to content
Printer-friendly version

California's School Libraries Make a Difference

This information shows the correlation between a strong school library program and student achievement scores on the state's STAR tests.

California public schools with strong school library programs outperform those without such programs on the state’s STAR tests. This is true regardless of the school community’s parent education and poverty levels, ethnicity, and percentage of English language learners.  Increases in the following library program elements correspond to increased STAR test scores at the elementary, middle school and high school levels:

A strong school library program is one that provides
Greater Staffing = Stronger Impact

Our research shows that the strongest relationship between school libraries and STAR test scores occurs at the high school level, which has, as a percentage, over 3 ½ times more fully-staffed libraries (a full-time teacher librarian and a full time clerk) than the middle schools, and over 25 times more fully staffed libraries than the elementary schools. 

The school library program is a better predictor of scores on the high school English Language Arts STAR test than other school variables such as teacher experience and teacher salary. On the U.S. History test, the library program is a better predictor of scores than both school variables and community variables, including parent education, poverty, ethnicity, and percentage of English language learners.

Nearly every element of a high school library program positively correlates with STAR test scores, including all of the elements listed above, as well as

In elementary, middle school and high school libraries, teacher librarian staffing and total staffing are strongly related to the level of services provided. What’s more, increases in library services are related to higher  STAR test scores. Staffing is key in creating strong school libraries.

The bottom line?  It’s about equity. Strong school libraries help give our students the best chance to succeed.

See Ph.D. dissertation by Doug Achterman: Haves, Halves and Have-Nots: School Libraries and Student Achievement External link opens in new window or tab. University of North Texas, December, 2008.

Questions:   Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division | CFIRD@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0881
Download Free Readers