Friday, March 30, 2012

Autism studies

New report estimates show that roughly 1 in 88 American children has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, representing an increase of more than 20% over previous estimates. It is unclear why the number of diagnoses are on the rise, though some say the higher numbers are attributable in part to changes in strategies for screening, diagnosing and serving children with the disorder.
Baio, J. (2012). Prevalence of autism spectrum disorders. Atlanta: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The societal cost of autism has risen to $137 billion a year, according to preliminary findings of a new study. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the London School of Economics considered the costs of education, health care and other services, along with newly released prevalence estimates, in completing the analysis. The study found the majority of costs associated with the disorder occurring in the adult years.
Knapp, M., & Mandell, D. (2012). Estimating the economic costs of Autism. New York: Autism Speaks.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Youth and digital media report

>A new report seeks to understand youths’ real experiences of online information quality. Building upon a process- and context-oriented information quality framework, this paper seeks to map and explore what we know about the ways in which young users of age 18 and under search for information online, how they evaluate information, and how their related practices of content creation, levels of new literacies, general digital media usage, and social patterns affect these activities. A review of selected literature at the intersection of digital media, youth, and information quality — primarily works from library and information science, sociology, education, and selected ethnographic studies — reveals patterns in youth’s information-seeking behavior, but also highlights the importance of contextual and demographic factors both for search and evaluation. Looking at the phenomenon from an information-learning and educational perspective, the literature shows that youth develop competencies for personal goals that sometimes do not transfer to school, and are sometimes not appropriate for school. Thus far, educational initiatives to educate youth about search, evaluation, or creation have depended greatly on the local circumstances for their success or failure. The report synthesizes more than three years of research. One key finding: Youth use cues and heuristics to evaluate quality, especially visual and interactive elements.

Berkman Center for Internet and Society Youth and Media project. (2012). >Youth and Digital Media: From Credibility to Information Quality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University.

Teacher librarians and reading scores study

Full-time school librarians linked to higher student reading scores
Research findings indicate that Colorado schools that either kept or acquired a full-time school librarian between 2005 and 2011 tended to have more students scoring higher in reading in 2011 and fewer students scoring unsatisfactory, compared with schools that either lost their librarians or never had one.
Lance, K., & Hofschire, L. (2011). Change in School Librarian Staffing Linked with Change in CSAP Reading Performance, 2005 to 2011. Denver, CO: Library Research Service.

National school library budget survey

The budget status of teacher librarians remains bleak. School librarians, especially those out West, are still struggling to get by on bare-bones budgets. TLs are still battling to keep pace with a slew of additional duties—everything from serving as student advisors to maintaining their buildings’ online networks. This annual report focuses on funding, staffing, and resources.
Farmer, L. (2011, March 15). Brace yourself: SLJ's school library spending survey. School Library Journal.