Effects of high school location on first-year students’ research confidence and college readiness
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In Ohio, K-12 public school funding models have been ruled unconstitutional four times due to the great discrepancies among districts from different economic and geographic areas. One of these discrepancies is often the availability of library services. In our research, we aimed to examine how these discrepancies may have altered preparedness for college-level research for incoming first-year students from various backgrounds. As the 2019-20 school year opened, we surveyed the incoming first-year class at a large public university. We received 117 responses in total from this survey. We first looked at this population as a whole, then analyzed responses by rural/urban/suburban areas. We found that students from rural districts were frequently taught how to conduct research by someone other than a school librarian. We also found significant differences in student confidence between students taught by librarians in high school and students taught by others. As students are now expected to learn remotely, at least part-time, potentially without the support from access to the library and library staff on campus, this research helps clarify the challenges students face in their home communities.