Trends & Topics

School Facilities Studies from New York State NYS SFA

In recent years, several studies have been published regarding the affect a school's facility has on students' learning. Below you'll find some of these studies, highlighting the positive affects well maintained facilities have on student achievement and test scores. This list is growing, so check back frequently, and please share any studies or articles you come across...
Email to sfmi@sbga.org.

Accoustics in Schools
The Ceilings & Interior Systems Construction Association (CISCA), headquartered in St. Charles, IL, has released an extensive white paper, "Acoustics in Schools" which is an invaluable tool for architects, interior designers, and other design professionals who work to improve school environments for all users. This is the first white paper to address this issue and it's free.

In the educational environs, acoustics matter -- classrooms in the United States typically have speech intelligibility ratings of 75% or less, meaning every fourth spoken word is not understood. Furthermore, children and adolescents only understand about 180 words per minute which is about 1/3 fewer words per minute than adults- all the more reason that designers as well as educators need to be attentive to the acoustical environs of educational settings - including the reduction of reverberations.

Vacuums: New York School Districts Make Smooth Transition to Green
NYS SFA member Henry Alilonis and Locust Valley CSD were recently featured in Cleaning and Maintenance Management. Read this article for more information on how this school district is succeeding in green cleaning.

Do School Facilities Affect Academic Outcomes?
In this study, Mark Schneider, Ph.D. looked at how clean, quiet, safe, comfortable, and healthy environments influence successful teaching and learning. He asks which facility attributes affect academic outcomes the most and in that manner and degree? His research examines six categories: indoor air quality, ventilation, and thermal comfort; lighting; acoustics; building age and quality; school size; and class size.

Do K-12 School Facilities Affect Educational Outcomes?
In January 2003, the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations conducted a study to determine the link between school facilities and learning. They sought to discover the link between facilities and time.

Educational Facility Design Features in Georgia's Schools
In her dissertation, entitled Educational Facility Design Features in Georgia's Schools, Jennifer Landrum Hadden discussed various school facility design features and their influence on the learning process. This study identified the features existing in Georgia's schools to determine Georgia trends in school design. Two main study areas were the schools' physical environment and functional environment.

School Facility Conditions and Student Academic Achievement
This paper shows that the condition of school facilities has an important impact on student performance and teacher effectiveness. In particular, research demonstrates that comfortable classroom temperature and noise level are very important to efficient student performance.

The Relationship between Environmental Quality of School Facilities and Student Performance
In his presentation to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Jeffery A. Lackney, Ph.D., A.I.A., discussed the state of empirical research on the impact of educational facilities on student behavior, attitudes and performance. He argued that school buildings are of critical importance to the teaching and learning process. He highlighted select studies conducted over the past 30 years that have shown an explicit relationship between physical characteristics of school buildings and educational outcomes.