Evidence based practice (EBP) is a method that involves the teacher librarian (TL) gathering evidence to demonstrate how the TL supports student learning outcomes (Lamb & Johnson, 2004-2010b, para. 1). In practice the TL can proactively engage in a variety methods of gathering information. It is essential for the TL to present the evidence to senior administrators, teachers and parents, creating a clear and factual picture of how the TL supports student achievement.
Essentially EBP is about the TL taking action by gathering information that measures student learning outcomes. There are a variety of different methods for gathering this information. Todd (2003) suggests that the most important factor is that the evidence gathered clearly documents how the role of the TL has enhanced student achievement, with concrete examples (para. 15). The TL needs to research, analyse, evaluate, synthesise and present the evidence. Todd (2007) discussed the fundamental idea, that EBP is best practice and it benefits both the students and the TL. The students benefit from the TL continuously assessing ways to best support learning needs. The TL benefits by gaining recognition and support from senior administrators, teachers and parents, for the vital role they play in the learning community (p. 76). How the TL implements EBP will be discussed next.
In practice there are number of different methods the TL may use to gather information. According to Todd (2003) the TL needs to gather information that illustrates concrete learning outcomes and the influence of the TL in achieving these outcomes (para. 4 – 5). In practice the TL will need to gather information on a regular basis. Todd (2003) describes a number of useful methods such as checking and documenting student’s skills, before and after instructional lessons. Using rubrics to evaluate the students based on the effectiveness of the library lessons. Providing students with opportunities for reflective writing and conversation about how library instructional lessons support literacy and information literacy skills. The TL can collect lesson plans and document the outcomes achieved from the students. Importantly, the TL can gather samples of student’s work regularly and use these to demonstrate specific curriculum goals and information literacy learning outcomes (para. 11). Todd (2003) also suggests that collaboration with teachers is another way for TLs to gather information about their contribution to curriculum development in the areas of literacy and information literacy. The teachers can be the TLs greatest advocates for how vital the role of the TL is in supporting students learning outcomes (para. 10). Presenting this evidence will be discussed next.
The TL will want to promote the strong collection of evidence that they have gathered (Lamb & Johnson, 2004-2010a, para. 12). According to Haycock (as cited in Oberg, 2002, p. 10) the evidence that the TL has gathered needs to be presented in a way that is comprehendible to senior administrators, teachers and parents, for it to be effective. Producing reports or presentations is a practical way to illustrate how the TL supports student learning outcomes.
EBP requires the TL to proactively gather information to demonstrate how the TL’s role is vital to the learning community. A number of methods can be used to gather relevant information to document the TLs positive contributions. It is essential that the TL communicates this information to the school community to gain support and recognition for school library programs.
Lamb, A., & Johnson, L. (2004-2010a). Library media program: Evaluation. In The school library media specialist. Retrieved April 22, 2013 from http://eduscapes.com/sms/program/evaluation.html
Lamb, A., & Johnson, L. (2004-2010b). Library media program: Evidence-based decision-making. In The school library media specialist. Retrieved April 22, 2013 from http://eduscapes.com/sms/program/evidence.html
Oberg, D. (2002). Looking for the evidence: Do school libraries improve student achievement?, School Libraries in Canada, 22(2), 10-14. Retrieved from http://www.clatoolbox.ca/casl/slic/
Todd, R. J. (2007). Evidence-based practice and school libraries. In S. Hughes-Hassell & V. H. Harada (Eds.), School reform and the school library media specialist (pp. 57-78). Westport, CY: Libraries Unlimited.
Todd, R. J. (2003). Irrefutable evidence: How to prove you boost student achievement. School Library Journal. Retrieved from http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA287119.html