Purpose & Structure
Like other sets of learning, professional, and program standards, the AASL Standards are not a curriculum; rather, they provide guidance and structure to develop a curriculum tailored to local priorities and needs.
The contents of the standards are designed to be used two ways:
- As personalized guides: Learners and school librarians can enter the standards at the point most appropriate to the learning task or professional activity and use the standards to guide decisions about actions to develop specific competencies.
- As progressions: Learners and school librarians first engage with the standards at the level of Think, and once mastery of the competencies related to Think are achieved, progress through Create, Share, and Grow.
The AASL Standards contain individual frameworks for learners, school librarians, and school libraries; these individual frameworks provide an overview of the standards’ content. The core components are then presented in integrated frameworks for each of the Shared Foundations. These integrated frameworks underscore the interdependence of the three standards sets. No standards set or Shared Foundation can be effectively executed independent of the other two sets.
The AASL Standards Domains reflect Domains of Learning: cognitive, psychomotor, and affective, with the addition of a developmental domain. These four AASL Standards Domains describe a continuum on which school librarians and school libraries empower learners to master competencies, access resources, and use tools to Think, Create, Share, and Grow.
This level describes the core values that learners, school librarians, and school libraries should reflect and promote. The six Shared Foundations of Inquire, Include, Collaborate, Curate, Explore, and Engage were derived from AASL’s research and community input. Each Shared Foundation is also inherent in the Common Beliefs. The Key Commitments spell out the essential components of the Shared Foundations. Consider Key Commitments as expanded definitions of the Shared Foundations.
Each section of the standards was designed to reflect the others, ensuring that standards-related activities would be mutually reinforcing, simultaneously building capacity among learners, school librarians, and the school library.
Each standards framework contains five levels:
This level describes the core values that learners, school librarians, and school libraries should reflect and promote. The six Shared Foundations of Inquire, Include, Collaborate, Curate, Explore, and Engage were derived from our research and community input. Each Shared Foundation is also inherent in your Common Beliefs.
The Key Commitments spell out the essential components of the Shared Foundations. Consider Key Commitments as expanded definitions of the Shared Foundations.
The interlinked nature of the five roles of school librarians (leader, instructional partner, information specialist, teacher, and program administrator) is translated into the learning categories of Think, Create, Share, and Grow.
For learners and school librarians the Key Commitments are put into practice by doing the actions that demonstrate mastery of the core Competencies included in each functional Domain. Think, Create, Share, and Grow may be seen as a continuum mirroring the inquiry process, from discovery and questioning through to sharing the results of one’s work and reflecting on the process. The Competencies are not intended to be only linear, but may be used as a progression of knowledge, skills, and dispositions.
In school libraries the Key Commitments are expressed by the Alignments included in each functional Domain.
AASL empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.