Program Evaluation

Week 11 Synthesis

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Evaluations Can..

  • give insight into the effectiveness of our library program

  • be used to advocate for the library, showing administration how the program has positively affected students

  • show us areas of our program that can be improved

  • help us determine student and staff needs
  • allow us to see our program from a different perspective

But what evaluation method or model do we use?

There is no standardized evaluation for teacher librarians; instead, existing teacher evaluation models are adapted in hopes of fitting the TL. We looked at a few different evaluation models this week, and it seems that the best TL evaluation model would be a combination of many different assessments.

Some of our FE librarians are being evaluated based on goals and objectives they’ve set for themselves, while others are evaluated with the same frameworks used for teachers- frameworks that don't differentiate between classroom teachers and special area teachers.

The following are some of the evaluation methods and models we've discussed this week:

  • Observations: Class observations are a very popular form of teacher assessment. These can be either announced or unannounced, with multiple observations throughout the school year. But how does the observer evaluate the TL? A few of our classmates have been assessed, or have seen FE librarians be assessed, this semester and it seems as though TLs are evaluated as though they are classroom teachers. Laura, who was observed this week, said it well: "the media specialists role encompasses so many roles (teacher, collection manager, budget manager, professional development advisor, etc.) that I wonder if a purely "teacher" evaluation is the proper assessment method. It is very difficult to accurately measure the impact the school media specialist has on a student population. In my assessment, there was no discussion of an overall review of the media center, its processes, its methods or collection."
  • The Danielson Framework: Many of our classmates are familiar with the Danielson Framework, especially those who are and have been working in schools and have experience with teacher evaluations. We liked the Danielson Librarian Rubric (Chicago) and the other TL adaptations that step outside of the classroom evaluation and include library-specific criteria.
  • Stronge Model: Jennifer Babbit and Jennifer Bauman's school districts both use the Stronge Model, which includes standards such as Professional Knowledge, Instructional Planning, Instructional Delivery, Assessment After Learning, Learning Environment, Professionalism, and Student Progress. Both Jennifers agree that the model tries to force the TL into a model intended for classroom teachers.
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Data and Evidence

It is obvious that data and evidence are important for assessing our library programs, but we have to go deeper than just showing numbers. As Alice said, “Presenting circulation data is not enough to prove anything beyond the fact that a certain amount of books were checked out and checked in. However, if you know a group of ELL students or reluctant readers who have started checking out books because of new materials or new display efforts then circulation data can be insightful.” Prove that you know your students and that you can show how what you’re doing or what you offer is making a difference. Use infographics, smores, or other eye-catching reports. Create portfolios of student work. Be prepared and willing to share evidence and data with the school community and beyond.

We had a very interesting discussion when evaluating our FE libraries using standards from the School Library Standards Documents Safari. It cemented the idea that there is no standardized way of assessing and evaluating school library programs, yet it also gave us ideas for what to look for and pay attention to when developing our school library programs, and what evidence to focus on gathering. We were all able to think of positive and negative aspects of our current FE library programs, and ways to improve.

Annual Reports

Through our School Library Reports Safari, we saw an array of annual reports. Although the reports offered a range of ideas, they all shared similar characteristics. They were visually appealing. Whether they were full of infographics, pictures of student work, pictures of happy students, or all of the above, these reports were eye catching and easy to read. The reports were also succinct. Some were longer than others, but most kept only the important and relevant data and evidence that would appeal to the administration and school community. A shorter report is more likely to be read, as most people want to be able to scan through and easily pick up pertinent information.

Use your annual report to:
  • tell your library's story (with pictures, videos, and student work)
  • show evidence of library successes throughout the year (infographics, pictures, student work)
  • target weak areas and how they will be improved (state goals and objectives)
  • advocate for your library and prove your effectiveness!