Measuring Impact Using School Data
Columbus Metropolitan Library, Ohio
Young Minds are CML’s number one area of strategic focus. While CML invests heavily in programs and services designed to give students a strong foundation, measuring impact is challenging. Two services, Reading Buddies and Homework Help, are offered at every location and are designed to bolster school success. Because the data collected on these library services are largely outputs CML jumped at the opportunity to partner with LCES, an organization that assimilates and transforms school district student data into actionable early warning indicators, to learn whether these services are helping students read on grade level and do better in school.
To match students in the LCES system, CML provided name, birthdate and gender. The first upload in 2016 resulted in 2,200 matches. Looking at the aggregate data, CML learned much about this group as a whole that was previously unknown including that most are average, “C” students, and a significant number struggle with attendance. This knowledge can be used to adjust CML’s services to better support these students and strengthen content areas where students are not making progress in at school. Longitudinal data will also be collected over time to assess impact.
By gaining access to aggregate student data, CML will better understand the students using Reading Buddy and HHC services and adjust our approach accordingly. The data will be used to track outcomes to answer the question “is the help CML is providing making a difference for students?” The library will also be a part of the connective tissue in the community and will, along with other out of school time providers, align services to have the most benefit for students.