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CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

This chapter of the thesis describes the background of this study which is on the usage of school resource centres and students academic achievement. It gives an overview of the research which includes; the problem statement, research questions, objectives, scopes and the significances of the study. It ends by defining some terms used in the context of this study and a brief description of the structure of this thesis.

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Defining School Resource Centre

A school resource centre has various names such as school library media centre, school library, media centre, resource centre, information centre, instructional materials centre and learning resource centre. School resource centre is a centre that collects and disseminates a variety of information in a number of individual rooms or buildings managed systematically by trained media personnel to provide various services to improve the quality of teaching and learning (Kassim, 1989). Scott (2004) define school resource centre as a designated place that locates an organised collection of printed, audio-visual and computer resources which is administered as a unit, and makes resources and services available to students, teachers, and administrators.

A school resource centre provides a variety of learning opportunities for both groups and individuals. It is focusing on facilities and improving the learning process, with

emphasis on academic content, information literacy, inquiry and the student (Morris, 2004). According to Woolls (2004), there are four components of school resource centre programmes, namely personnel, materials, equipment and facility.

The resources and services provided by the school resource centre have naturally focused on the needs of students. According to Prostano and Prostano (1999), students' need can be divided into two types. First is relating to formal academic learning, and second is the living need of students. These includes reading, listening, interacting with media, learning and practicing skills, creating and modifying media, obtaining instruction in media utilisation, obtaining guidance in selecting and using media, interacting with peers, teachers, school resource centre staff, and opportunity to function as an individual or a member of a group. However, it is crucial that teacher librarians notice that students may not be able to articulate their needs. This scenario forces the school resource centre to establish essential services.

A school resource centre in Malaysia operates in an organized and efficient procedure for the purposes of fostering reading habits, information literacy and lifelong learning in line with the National Philosophy of Education (NPE). Current curriculum began inserting elements of information literacy as part of the necessary skills applied by teachers to their students. This has brought school resource centre services into the learning process and reaffirms their vital role in the effective delivery of the curriculum (Kinnell, 1992).

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Historical Development of School Resource Centre

The earliest libraries were believed to exist in parallel with the development of civilization of Sumer, Babylon and Assyria, circa 3000 BC to 650 BC (Irma Indayu, 2005). Library facilities are only focused on the needs of adults, until in 1862, when Manchester Public Library became the pioneer on providing services to children (Chowdhury, 2008). According to Chowdhury, Islington Central Library opened the

first reading room for children in 1906. For the first time, there was a place where children can independently choose and read books for themselves without adult guidance.

Growth in the number of school libraries was slow. In the year 1835, DeWitt Clinton as New Yorks Governor began the pioneering work of the school library movement. Under his administration, schools were allowed to use a few of their tax money to establish and maintain a library in their schools. As a result, during the school year of 1841-1842, more than 200,000 books were added in the school district libraries (Morris, 2004). Mary Kingsbury was the first professionally trained school librarian, in 1900. The activities were rapidly outgrowing a single reading room and new facilities were built that included a librarians office or workroom. School libraries continued to develop slowly.

The impetus to expand secondary school libraries accelerated in the mid-1920s, when regional accrediting agencies specified a high school library with a trained librarian as a requirement for all schools seeking to be accredited by their associations. Although elementary school library standards were published in 1925, not many elementary schools had libraries or librarians. The books were kept in individual classroom collections.

Several events in the early 1960s had a significant impact on the expansion of school libraries and the initiation of the concept of elementary school libraries in the United States (Woolls & David, 2005). The first was the completion of Standards for School Library Programs, which updated School Libraries for Today and Tomorrow, published in 1945. Immediately following the publication of the 1960 Standards, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) received a grant from the Knapp Foundation to assist in the development of school libraries. Another event that affected development of school libraries was the publication in 1964 of a report for

the United States Office of Education showing that fewer than 50% of U.S. elementary schools had libraries. The report attracted the interest of private industry and additional materials were prepared to bring the plight of school libraries to the attention of the public. The lobbying efforts of the American Library Associations Washington, D.C., office and the concentrated efforts of key school librarians across the country resulted in passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in 1965. Funds were placed in Title II specifically to purchase library materials. Nearly 50 years after ESEA Title II, many changes have occurred in school resource centre. Federal funding guidelines were rewritten and categorical restrictions lessened.

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School Resource Centre in Malaysia

The first known plan to establish school libraries in Malaya emerged in 1899. During that time, the Acting Inspector of Schools for the Straits Settlements, R.J. Wilkinson, reported that it would be possible to supply every school with a small library. However, this plan could not be implemented until the educational conference in 1925 (Han, 2008).

In 1983, an Integrated Primary Schools Curriculum (IPSC) was introduced, this followed by an Integrated Secondary School Curriculum (ISSC) that launched in 1987. ISSC and IPSC emphasised on the usage of various materials, resources and teaching methods to improve the teaching and learning quality. In 1980s, changing trends in educational technology had increased the use of visual aids in the teaching process. Audio-visual Equipment Room was created to handle these materials. Subsequently, in March, 1983, the Ministry of Education had ordered the name to be changed to School Resource Centre (SRC) that reflected the consolidation of library services and visual aids in schools. All School Resource Centres and State Resource Management Sector Education and Educational Technology Division were entrusted under the responsibility of the Educational Technology Division (ETD), Ministry of Education from 1988 (Fadzliaton Zainudin, 2010).

There are several programmes that are designed and implemented under the supervision of the Educational Technology Division, such as School Resource Centre Support Services Programme and the School Resource Centre Excellence Awards. These programmes are to encourage school resource centres serve as a centre for collection development, management and dissemination of information that could improve teaching and learning activities in schools. Since 2000, the Malaysian School Resource Centre Excellence Awards has become an annual competition. Each year, three schools will be awarded the top three prizes as the quality resource centre. The prizes awarded are divided to two categories namely primary schools and secondary schools, urban and rural area. Positive change has occurred to the infrastructure development and management of school resource centre after two years the competition has conducted. The ultimate objective of this programme is to assist students and teachers to become effective and innovative library users in acquiring resources and information for reading (Fatimah Jusoh, 2002).

In 2009, ETD has launched the Indeks Kualiti Pusat Sumber Sekolah (Quality Index of School Resource Centre), that is also known as IQ-PSS. It acts as an online mechanism for collecting data related to the management and development of school resource centre. Teacher librarians should report the development of school resource centre under their supervision at the end of each school year. This information reports on what they have achieved. This instrument is also being used for the National School Resource Centre Award competition. Assessment is divided into five categories or sections. Section A covers on physical, equipment and materials facilities, section B is in management and administration of school resource centre, section C is in school resource centre usage, section D is in management of NILAM reading program in school and section E is in school resource centre improvement programs (Fadzliaton Zainudin, 2010). Monitoring of the school resource centre by the ETD enables them to identify the strengths and weaknesses to improve management and services of the system as a whole. All of these efforts, through the school resource centres are intended to improve students achievement.

Based on academic achievement in Lower Secondary Assessment (PMR) for the year 2009, a total of 30,863 out of 439,456 candidates of Lower Secondary Assessment or in Malay, known as Penilaian Menengah Rendah (commonly abbreviated as PMR) achieved grade A, with an increase of 0.65 % compared to the previous year (Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin, 2010).

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Background of the Study: School Resource Centre of SMK Sungai Besar

Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Sungai Besar was established in 1965. It was only in 1992, the school resource centre was put together as a unit consisting of the school library, teaching material room, audio-visual room and access centre under the school resource centre administration.

This research has chosen this school resource centre as a case study in regards to their consistent performance at the national level. SMK Sungai Besar had won the Malaysian School Resource Centre Excellence Awards thrice, in the rural school category. In 2001, this school resource centre won the third place. In 2002, they were awarded the first place. Seven years later, in 2009, SMK Sungai Besars school resource centre obtained second place in the same competition.

The strength of this school resource centre is based on their collection development. They have a variety of collections such as stamps, meeting reports, and exam questions beside books and magazines. The media teacher has 25 years experiences in organising the school resource centre at SMK Sungai Besar.

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Problem Statement

Visiting the school resource centre is not enough to fulfil a students need for learning. They also need to have the behaviour and skills to accomplish the tasks that
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have been assigned to them (Williams & Wavell, 2001). Therefore, school resource centre must play a pivotal role in providing appropriate services to help students to improve their skill to achieve high performance in academic.

At the school resource centre, students can easily access school library and its Internet service, use of multiple ranges of collections, and learning the information skill with the guidance of the teacher librarian. However, there are students who do not recognise and respond actively to the functions and services provided by the school resource centre. Haycock (2011) in his study reported that school library usage was higher in public schools with high student performance compared to public schools with low student achievement. In another study, 1843 (12%) of 15362 students who involved as the respondents were reported as not using school library at all (Scott, 2004).

Study by Goodall and Pattern (2011), showed the students have low usage of the school library. There are substantial numbers of students that have never borrowed a book, neither used the electronic resources nor visited the library. This research showed the students have lack of awareness in terms of using the services that their school resource centre provides, although it can help them to enhance their academic achievement.

Well-managed school resource centers are expensive enterprises, so the pressure is constantly on to prove the worth of their services and programs (Everhart, 2003). Thus, there have been numerous studies (Lance, Welborn and Hamilton-Pennell, 1993; Williams and Wavell, 2001; Haycock, 2011) examining the connection between student achievement and various components of the school resource centre services. In Malaysia, only a limited number of studies have been conducted in this scope (Juhaidi Abdullah, 2001) and the extent of its use by teachers (Yusof Boon and Rohaizad Selemin, 2006; Hafizah Melijat, 2008).

This research will provide a clear vision about how the students use the school resource centre and its relationship with the students academic achievement. The finding of this study can be used to develop a better program and service system to encourage students usage of the school resource centres.

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Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this research is to investigate the usage of school resource centre, among the form four students who study in SMK Sungai Besar, Selangor. From the results, the researcher intends to go further, seeking for correlation that may exist between students usage of school resource centre and the academic achievement, based on their PMR results. Furthermore, the study wants to identify if there are any differences between material collection, Internet access and school library access that represent school resource centre usage and students demographics factors, such as gender, households income and PMRs results.

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Objectives of the Study

This research is conducted to achieve the following objectives:

1. To examine the usage of the school resource centre. 2. To identify the relationship between students academic achievement and the usage of the school resource centre. 3. To identify whether, there is difference of the students demographic profile on the usage of school resource centre.

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Research Questions of the Study

The research questions are as follow:

1. What is the usage of the school resource centre? a. What is the usage of the school resource centre's library collection? b. What is the usage of the school resource centre's Internet access? c. What is the usage of the school resource centre's library access? 2. Is there any relationship between a students academic achievement and the usage of the school resource centre? a. Is there any relationship between a students academic achievement and the usage of the school resource centres library collection? b. Is there any relationship between a students academic achievement and the usage of the school resource centres Internet access? c. Is there any relationship between a students academic achievement and the usage of the school resource centres library access? 3. Are there differences between the students demographic profile with the usage of the school resource centre? a. Are there differences in the school resource centres usage, based on students genders? b. Are there differences in the school resource centres usage, based on the household income? c. Are there differences in the school resource centres usage, based on the students exam result of PMR?

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Significance of the Study

This research will have significance in several areas. First, it is dedicated to helping school resource centres become better learning service providers. The results of this study will have the potential to contribute practically by enriching the

understanding of the relationship between the usage of school resource centre services and students academic achievements. The research is significant to provide frameworks for school resource centre management to evaluate their contribution on formal academic achievement, within their learning and educational environment. The existing use can provide a reasonable starting point for school resource centres to provide more accurate and effective services (Stein & Brown, 2002).

Secondly, this research is considered to be important because the results of this study will provide actual feedback to the schools administration. It is necessary for them to understand the significance of services of school resource centres on students achievements. As decision makers, they need to know the benefit that students can get from using the school resource centres. They can give full support to the services development in the form of financial and programme approval, without any scepticism.

Thirdly, it can be useful to the students as an indicator of the importance of services offered by the school resource centres to their learning process. This will raise the awareness of their desire to use the library services more frequently and effectively. Backed by the resources that lead to the exact requirements of their learning, increased academic performance can be obtained.

Finally, the research is useful to the Malaysian Ministry of Education (MoE) in providing clear direction and appropriate resources to the school library administration. Future researchers can use the findings to develop a complete blueprint for further development of the school library services. Thus, teacher librarians can implement the best services into the students learning environment.

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1.10

Scope of the Study

The respondents for this study are delimited to all form four students from SMK Sungai Besar, Selangor, in Malaysia, who sat the Lower Secondary Assessment (PMR) for the year 2011. The study intends to use their PMR results as an indicator to academic achievements.

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Limitations of the Study

This study points to the services offered by one school resource centre only. The result for this research cannot represent the actual relationship between school resource centre services and academic attainment of other schools.

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Definition of Terms

The following definitions are used in this study:

(i)

School Resource Centre

An organised collection of printed and/or audio-visual and/or computer resources which is administered as a unit, is located in a designated place or places, and makes resources and services available to students, teachers, and administrators. A school resource centre may also be called a school library media centre, school library, media centre, resource centre, information centre, instructional materials centre, learning resource centre, or some other name (Scott, 2004).

(ii)

School Resource Centres Services

Provide a range of learning opportunities for both large and small groups and individuals. The focus is on facilities and improving the learning process, within emphasis on intellectual content, information literacy, inquiry and the learner (Morris, 2004).

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(iii)

Teacher Librarian

Actively involved in instructional design and development, and assisting members of the learning community in the design of learning experiences. Their knowledge of design, development, assessment, and resources enable them to participate in teaching and to create and administer programs that improve and elevate the learning environment, deepen subject matter knowledge, and enhance students ability to access and understand information (National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, 2001). Terms of school library media specialist, school librarian, teacher librarian, and librarian, are used interchangeably in this research.

(iv)

Students Academic Achievement

Students current achievement in written, spoken and aesthetic communication, literacy, numeracy, students is inquiring and reflective thinkers, self-directed and responsible (Mulford & Silins, 2011).

(v)

Material Collection Usage

The number of times a bibliographic item is used by library patrons during a given period of time, including the number of times it is checked out and any in-house use measured by the number of times it is picked up from a desk or table in a public area for re-shelving (Amjad Ali, 2004).

(vi)

Internet Access Usage

Provide time and suitable Internet access facilities to the students, and also offering guidance from trained teacher librarian in order to make a proper searching technique (Irvine & Williams, 2005).

(vii)

School Library Access Usage

Ability to use materials, technologies, facilities, services and programs actively and meaningfully in school library (Cox & Lynch, 2006).

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1.13

Structure of this Thesis

Chapter 1 is the introduction which includes the development of the school resource centre, school resource centre in Malaysia, school resource centre of SMK Sungai Besar, purpose of the study, objectives of the study, research questions of the study, significance of the study, scope of the study, limitation of the study, and definition of terms. Chapter 2 provides a review of the literature discussing school resources centre and students achievement. Chapter 3 discusses the methodology of the study, the development of survey instrument, and the process used to validate the survey. Chapter 4 reports on the data collection and data analysis. Chapter 5 discusses the findings and provides the recommendations for future research.

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