Edina High School

Students achieve high AP test scores after preparing with EBSCO’s LearningExpress Library®

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At a Glance

Edina High School
Edina, Minnesota

Institution Type:   High Schools
Related Products:   PrepSTEP for High Schools

edina high school exterior

Overview

Located in suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota, Edina High School enrolls approximately 2,800 students in grades nine through 12. Edina High School’s library has access to information resources through Minitex, a multi-statewide member consortium serving public libraries, colleges, and schools in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. One of those resources is EBSCO’s LearningExpress Library, an online academic and career-focused platform containing tutorials, practice tests and e-books to help learners prepare for success in school, college, career and life.

Throughout the spring of 2018, students at Edina High School used the College Admissions Test Preparation content in LearningExpress Library to study for AP tests. Of the 1,255 Edina High School students who registered to take AP tests, 87.6 percent earned a score of three or higher (out of a possible five). This surpassed the state average which saw 66.8 percent of students achieve three or higher.

Learn more about PrepSTEP for High Schools or LearningExpress Library.

LearningExpress Library provides a great way for me, as a librarian, to be supportive of my colleagues who teach advanced placement courses. Helping students prepare to be learners and for the next stages of their academic careers is what we do. Here’s a product that makes that really easy.

Sara Swenson
Library Media Specialist
Edina High School

Solutions

Minitex, in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Education ― State Library Services, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, Online Dakota Information Network (ODIN), the North Dakota State Library, what was then the South Dakota Library Network (SDLN), and the South Dakota State Library, formed the Minitex Electronic Information Resources (MEIR) Task Force. During 2013-2014, the task force developed and issued a Request for Proposal (RFP).

“These collaborative partners realize the importance of statewide access to a common suite of databases to the libraries and school media centers within and among the three states,” said Carla Pfahl, Reference Outreach and Instruction Librarian at Minitex. “LearningExpress Library … was an ideal complement to this suite for all types of learners at all levels.”

Edina High School Media Specialist Sara Swenson called students’ free access to library resources through Minitex “a game changer” because schools can’t always afford to buy electronic content for their libraries. “This is a way for the state to make sure every citizen has access to quality information that’s been fact-checked and is known to be reliable,” she said.

One of those resources, LearningExpress Library, provides support to students and professionals in need of academic skill-building, standardized test prep, career certification test prep and more. The College Admissions Test Preparation Center includes tutorials and practice tests for ACT®, SAT®, PSAT/NMSQT®, AP®, TOEFL iBT® and IELTS™ exams as well as e-books with tips for writing college admissions essays. This content is also available in PrepSTEP® for High Schools, another LearningExpress product that specifically targets the needs of high school students.

“LearningExpress Library is a great way for me, as a librarian, to be supportive of my colleagues who teach advanced placement courses,” Swenson said. “Collaboration is what we do; helping students prepare to be learners and for the next stages of their academic careers is what we do. Here’s a product that makes that really easy.”

Promotion

To promote LearningExpress Library ― and specifically the College Admissions Test Preparation Center ― to the Edina High School community, Swenson reached out to students and their parents via email and posted announcements to the school’s Twitter feed.

In addition, Swenson collaborated with the young adult librarian at Southdale Library, a Hennepin County Library branch located in Edina. On a Saturday in September 2017, the two administered a practice ACT test session at the public library, which is equipped with a computer lab large enough to accommodate the 20 students who signed up.

“We held it two or three weeks out from the actual ACT test date so that kids could have some meaningful feedback and then focus on areas they might want to improve upon before the actual test,” Swenson said.

Swenson also worked with Edina High School’s guidance department to promote LearningExpress Library’s resources to students in Access, a program run by parents to help students navigate the process of preparing for life after high school, and AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), a college readiness system designed to increase schoolwide learning and performance. Swenson conducted training sessions with both groups and set up students with LearningExpress Library accounts.

Finally, since she knew she wouldn’t be able to visit every junior and senior classroom, Swenson enlisted homeroom teachers to show a PowerPoint presentation that walked students through the process of setting up LearningExpress Library accounts.

Results

In March 2018, just before spring break, Swenson visited AP classrooms and presented a 15- to 20-minute lesson on LearningExpress Library so students could start using the College Admissions Test Preparation Center in advance of the AP tests, which were administered in May. The College Admissions Test Preparation Center includes regularly updated AP practice tests for biology, chemistry, environmental science, calculus, statistics, English language and composition, English literature, European history, psychology, U.S. government, U.S. history and world history. PrepSTEP for High Schools includes all these practice tests as well as tests for geography, macroeconomics, microeconomics and physics.

When results came out at the end of the school year, Swenson was thrilled. “The AP kids knocked it out of the park,” she said.

Of the 1,255 Edina High School students who registered to take AP tests, 87.6 percent earned a score of three or higher (out of a possible five). This surpassed the state average which saw 66.8 percent of students achieve three or higher. Worldwide, the percentage of students who achieved three or higher was 61.3 percent.

Swenson sent a summary report to Edina High School stakeholders. The report contained an overview of how students performed on the AP tests as well as LearningExpress Library usage statistics. LearningExpress Library’s usage reports record sessions, registrations, page hits and number of tests, tutorials, e-books and other resources accessed by users during a selected date range.

Swenson lamented that many districts across the state are cutting library media specialist positions. Without them, she said, schools might not know that Minitex provides students with free access to electronic resources such as EBSCO LearningExpress Library.

“If you don’t have a school media specialist, how do you know about these programs and how they work?” she asked. “It’s really great for me to be able to share information with my building leadership, the district leadership, and school board so that they can see the value of having a position like mine.”

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