School Climate & Safety

School Facilities and Student Learning

December 06, 2000 2 min read
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“When Money Matters: How Educational Expenditures Improve Student Performance and How They Don’t,” (requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader), Harold H. Wenglinsky, Educational Testing Service, 1997. Explicitly modeling his study on the landmark Coleman Report of 1966, Wenglinsky examines test scores from a nationally representative sample of 4th and 8th graders and finds that spending on school construction and upkeep is not linked to student performance. (Also, read a forum brief discussing this study, from the American Youth Policy Forum.)


“Effects of School Lighting on Physical Development and School Performance,” Warren E. Hathaway, The Journal of Educational Research, March/April 1995. Vol. 88, No. 4: 228-242. Looking at students at five elementary schools in Alberta, Canada, Hathaway concludes that a particular type of lighting—full-spectrum lamps with ultraviolet supplements—boosted test scores, aided physical development, and even prevented cavities.


“School Building Renovation and Student Performance: One District’s Experience,” Lorraine E. Maxwell, Council of Educational Facility Planners International, 1999. Maxwell’s examination of student performance in 21 public schools that were renovated in Syracuse, N.Y., finds that, after the renovations, test scores improved for 3rd and 6th graders in mathematics, but not reading.
(Order from: Council of Educational Facility Planners International, 9180 E. Desert Cove Dr., Suite 104, Scottsdale, AZ 85260; Tel: 480-391-0840.)


“Chronic Noise Exposure and Reading Deficits: The Mediating Effects of Language Acquisition,” Lorraine E. Maxwell and Gary W. Evans, Environment and Behavior, Vol. 29, No. 5: 638-656. Comparing two schools in New York City, the authors find that students attending a school in the flight path of airplanes had lower reading scores than those in the school not subject to airplane noise.


“Where Our Children Learn Matters: A Report on the Virginia School Facilities Impact Study,” Daniel L. Duke and Jacqueline Griesdorn, Thomas Jefferson Center for Educational Design, University of Virginia, December 1998. The authors conclude from a survey of Virginia superintendents that learning suffered when schools were forced to close because of facilities problems.


“Daylighting in Schools: An Investigation Into the Relationship Between Daylighting and Human Performance,” Lisa Heschong,The Heschong-Mahone Group, 1999. An architect’s study of elementary students in three school districts concludes that children exposed to daylight in their classrooms performed better academically. (Read a condensed version of the report; requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

A version of this article appeared in the December 06, 2000 edition of Education Week as School Facilities and Student Learning

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