SJSU SLIS Professor to Study New Ways to Measure the Impact of Teacher Librarians on Student Learning


Thanks to a grant from the American Library Association, Dr. David Loertscher will explore new tools to measure student learning outcomes when teacher librarians and classroom teachers collaborate to deliver instruction.

Loertscher, a faculty member with the School of Library and Information Science at San José State University (SJSU), has focused his career on educating teacher librarians and studying the impact of school libraries on teaching and learning. In the courses he teaches at the SJSU information school, as well as workshops for K-12 educators, Loertscher discusses how to develop effective co-teaching experiences.

In Loertscher’s newest study, he will develop and test tools designed to measure the impact of co-taught learning experiences. “There are many benefits that accrue when teacher librarians and classroom teachers collaborate,” said Loertscher. “Through this latest research, I want to find new ways to measure the benefits of this type of collaboration, which I believe enriches the learning environment for students.”

According to Loertscher, professionals who attend his workshops tell him that when they co-teach, student learning improves. However, they are not measuring the impact of their co-teaching, making it challenging to demonstrate its impact.

During the grant-funded study, Loertscher’s goal is to measure student learning outcomes at the teaching unit level. Using the new tool, he will compare student learning outcomes for co-taught units with units where the classroom teacher works in isolation.

According to Mary Pagliero Popp, chair of the group that selected Loertscher as the recipient of the 2014 ALA Baber Research Grant, Loertscher’s study ties school libraries to educational outcomes “at a time when school libraries and librarians are being eliminated in almost every state throughout the U.S.”

The study “has the potential to demonstrate the real value of teacher librarians and teachers working together on curriculum activities to affect, positively, learning outcomes, and will provide impact data to librarians, educators and boards,” said Popp, in ALA’s award announcement.

Related Content: