Impact of school librarians on elementary student achievement in reading and mathematics: A propensity score analysis

Lois D. Wine, Shana Pribesh, Sue C. Kimme, Gail Dickinson, Audrey P. Church

The number of school librarians has been shrinking in the past few years in part due to the lack of evidence linking them to student achievement. Building on a foundation of correlational studies linking school librarians with student achievement, this study uses a quasi-experimental design that mimics random assignment to treatment and comparison groups through application of a matching technique. Restricted data from North Carolina and propensity score matching was used to compare students who attended school with a full-time certified school librarian to similar students who did not attend schools with a full-time certified school librarian. In addition, this relationship for both reading and math over a four-year time span was examined. Findings include that students who attend schools with a full-time certified librarian score significantly higher on math and reading tests than do matched students who attend schools without a full-time school librarian.

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