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The rest of the AASL standards


(For a larger jpg of this diagram click here for top half, and here for bottom half. Click here for Inspiration file of complete diagram.)

As I indicated in yesterday's post, I compared the ISTE Standards only to the Skills section of the AASL Standards. To be fair, I thought I should diagram the other three parts of the AASL Standards: Dispositions in Action; Responsibilities; and Self-Assessment Strategies.

These sections are both the most visionary and the most problematic of the new standards.  A quick glance at the diagram above shows that these three sections deal with HOTs, ethics, and especially attitudes toward learning. The visionary part is that if we listen to Daniel Pink and Tom Friedman and Richard Florida and the enGauge people, these are just the sorts of attributes globally competitive workers need. The question is: Are these attributes actually teachable and assessable?

I guess we will find out. Sara Kelly Johns, AASL President, assures us there will be more material to support these standards:

... the Learning Assessment and Indicators piece, the Implementation project (that task force is chaired by Susan Ballard) and, coordinated with the standards, Program Guidelines (that task force is chaired by Bonnie Grimble).  Some people have asked why the standards came out on their own without the other pieces but in my mind, it does give the profession an opportunity to study and reflect and develop ideas for teaching and curriculum. Your comments will be  carefully considered as were the comments from the field as the standards were developed.

Here are just a few interesting snippets, pulled from LM_Net postings, that indicate the range of reactions to the AASL standards after Sharon actually got us reading the damn things. (A few of these messages can be read in full as responses to Sharon Grimes original LM_Net posting on the AASL Blog.)

I didn't really know why I was uncomfortable [with these standards], since I do hold dear the principled but vague picture of idealized learning described and illustrated in the new report. Now I realize that there is a disturbing disconnect between the role I have in my building to support student achievement, which is valued, and the role described in the report ... Susan P

Documents like this should never be placed in mailboxes or dropped off on desks, they need to be shared in a carefully constructed social context that includes your professional and expert thoughts on how this broad national document will be applied in the local environment.  ... Don't give standards to your principals, give them solutions. Chris H

I expected to LOVE them, because of their emphasis on twenty-first century learning.  Instead - they feel very "slippery" to me.  I have assumed the problem was because I have not yet studied them as thoroughly as I should - but perhaps there really IS little to grab onto. Jacquie H

AASL, ALA, and other organizations can publish all the standards they want. The only ones that count, though, are those published by our own Boards of Education, our own States, and the Federal government, since they are the only ones with the force of law. ... Use what actually works best for you. David L

I'm very excited about the new standards and looking forward to sharing them with faculty and administration over the next semester. For me, the standards seem visionary, not vague. ... Listening to education/tech gurus like David Warlick or Ian Jukes and witnessing what happens every day with my students has convinced me that education needs to/will change, and I think the new standards are the start (just the start) of a new road map for school libraries. Anita B

Like Sharon Grimes, I believe that teaching reading comprehension strategies is a large part of what we do in school libraries - at all levels. To that end, I created a matrix that aligns the new AASL standards with seven reading comprehension strategies. Judi M

With all due respect -- visionary is wonderful -- however - reality is – they have to be concrete -- for the majority of end users and there has to be a reason to use them -- and normally that means tied to testing and/or funding or you won't get most supt., administrators, principals or teachers to use them. Paula Y

I have thought about this and feel VERY strongly that we do ourselves a disservice by emphasizing our role too broadly in terms of inquiry based, problem-based, critical thinking, lifelong learning, etc.  Yes - teacher-librarians and library media programs contribute to the effectiveness of these, but our CORE, unique curriculum contribution is information literacy - defined as information problem-solving and involving the learning of information skills and understandings.  It's the INFORMATION side that is uniquely ours - among all educators, we are the ones uniquely responsible for ensuring that information skills are learned by students. Mike Eisenberg

I've been struggling with [with standards] at the school level.  Here's what I'm juggling:
1) New state standards for Georgia (Georgia Performance Standards)
2) New AASL standards
3) New ISTE standards
4) A state information-literacy check-list (that has been waiting for AASL's and ISTE's updates for revision) ...
The AASL standards are an overview of best practices.  What will they mean K-12?  How do we make sure the rigor and the quality is there?  More importantly, how do we convince our faculty, admin, and politicians that we are driving these standards and pushing American education to a higher level? Lindy P

So, everyone confused at a higher level? Good.

Just what should be the skill focus of our programs and teaching efforts - reading, information literacy, tech skills, none-of-the-above? Are national standard of value and if so how? Are these new standards visionary or vague? Far-sighted or flakey? Will anyone but ISTE and AASL members actually buy into them? Who really did kill JFK? Is Roland Smith actually Bigfoot? Does she or doesn't she? Where's the beef? How can I get rid of that embarrassing wax build up on my floors?

Don't worry, we'll solve all these problems - and more - right here on the Blue Skunk. 


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Reader Comments (2)

I don't usually respond to blogs -- in fact I am generally a lurker, but I do want to compliment Doug for trying to do an analysis and comparison of the new standards documents. Since receiving them at AASL, I have struggled a lot with them. On the one hand they seem the next logical step in preparing children and youth for the world THEY will live in, but on the other, the research-based information literacy standards are easily integrated into the curricula of subject areas. How can we justify our roles in the schools with "soft standards"? NCLB has permeated so many schools with its "rote and rigor" that I cannot imagine how a lot of principals will buy into "soft."

The DuPage Library System and the North Suburban Library System in Illinois received an LSTA grant to train school librarians how to assess student learning that occurs after a school librarian's intervention. We are basing our work on Vi Harada's work and have made connections with her and her librarians. Our goal is to provide evidence to stakeholders that school librarians make a difference in learning -- and we are not anywhere close to being able to measure dispositions. I hope that AASL produces an implementation document that will help us, because I am hearing a lot of folks saying that they will continue to use the standards from Information Power.

Perhaps AASL did not issue implementation documents on purpose -- that is for us "older librarians and consultants" to have to learn 21st information skills and problem solving skills in the 21st world!

See you Illinois at the end of February Doug.

January 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPam Kramer

Hi Pam,

I hear through the grapevine that Vi Harada is on the team writing the benchmarks and assessments for these standards. I am really anxious to see what they turn out. I still think most of us need more work on practicing authentic and formative assessments for our current research models!

I look forward to coming back to Illinois. It's always a genuine pleasure to work with you and your Chicago-land librarians!

All the very best,


January 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

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