Influence of the School Facility on Student Achievement

School Building Age

The age of a school building has been used as a surrogate factor to study the composite impact of school plant variables on pupil achievement at elementary, middle and secondary school levels (McGuffey, 1982). A 1991 report by the American Association of School Administrators indicated that "nearly 5 million students in the U.S. attended classes in 13,200 classrooms that were inadequate for meeting standards necessary to prepare students for today's world" (Holt, 1994, p.33). Many public school facilities are in disrepair, a situation affecting the morale, health, and academic achievement of students (Frazier, 1993). Many research studies have been conducted in the area of school building age and its impact on student achievement. Findings of these studies follow.


Thomas (1962) in his study of the relationship between resource inputs and outcomes of education found that school building age was one of the independent variables having the greatest effect on educational outcomes. He concluded that a school building's age was consistently positive and related to pupil achievement. Plumley (1978) examined the relationship of school building age and student achievement of 4th grade students in selected schools in Georgia. The findings of the study indicated that the older the school buildings without the elements of modernization, the lower the composite vocabulary, reading, language, work study and mathematics scores on the ITBS. Thus, Plumley's study supported the fact that a significant relationship between school building age and the academic achievement of pupils exists.


Similarly, Chan (1979) investigated the relationship of school building age and academic achievement of 8th grade pupils in a random sample of schools in Georgia. It was found that the achievement scores of pupils assigned to modernized school buildings were consistently higher than the scores of pupils assigned to non-modernized school buildings. McGuffey and Brown (1978) also studied the impact of school building age on achievement in Georgia schools. They discovered that their research supported other similar studies indicating that approximately 3% of the variance in achievement test scores can be explained by age of the facility after removing the variance caused by socioeconomic factors. In the area of modernized school buildings, Bowers and Burkett (1987) researched the academic achievement of two hundred and eighty, 4th and 6th grade students housed in two separate facilities (the oldest and newest facilities in the selected school district). They found that the students in the newer building (modern) performed much better than the students in the older building. The students in the modern building also had a better record in the areas of health, attendance and discipline.


Most recently, Ikpa (1992) found a significantly negative relationship between the age of school buildings and achievement. Her data indicated that as the age of the school building increased, the achievement test scores tended to decrease. Based on the research in the area of school building age and academic achievement, it is vital that educational consultants, architects and administrators be critically aware of the importance attached to the compatibility between the physical environment and student learning.

 

References

Bowers, J.H. & Burkett, G.W. (1987). Relationship of student achievement and characteristics in two selected school facility environmental settings. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: 64th Annual International conference on the Council of Educational Facility Planners. (ERIC document Reproduction Service No. ED286278)

Chan, T. C. (1979). The impact of school building age on the achievement of eighth grade pupils from the public schools in the state of Georgia. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Georgia, Athens.

Frazier, L.M. (1993). Deteriorating school facilities and student learning. Washington D.C.: Office of Educational Research and Improvement.

Holt, C.R. (1994). Critical factors that affect the passage of school bond elections. School Business Affairs, 60(8), 33-37.

Ikpa, V.W. (1992). The norfolk decision: The effects of converting from a unitary educational system to a dual educational system upon academic achievement. Norfolk City Schools, Virginia. (ERIC Document Reproduction Services No. ED346583)

McGuffey, C.W. And Brown, C.L. (1978) The impact of school building age on school achievement in Georgia. CEFPI Journal, 16, 6-9.

McGuffey, C.W. (1982). Facilities. In H.J. Walberg, Improving educational
standards and productivity (pp. 237-281). Berkley, California: University of Illinois.

Plumley, J.P. Jr. (!978). The impact of school building age on the academic achievement of pupils from selected schools in the state of Georgia. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, the University of Georgia, Athens.

Thomas, J.A. (1962) Efficiency in education: A study of the relationship between selected inputs and mean test scores in a sample of senior high school. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Stanford University.
achievement. Norfolk City Schools, Virginia. (ERIC Document Reproduction Services No. ED346583)

McGuffey, C.W. And Brown, C.L. (1978) The impact of school building age on school achievement in Georgia. CEFPI Journal, 16, 6-9.

McGuffey, C.W. (1982). Facilities. In H.J. Walberg, Improving educational
standards and productivity (pp. 237-281). Berkley, California: University of Illinois.

Plumley, J.P. Jr. (!978). The impact of school building age on the academic achievement of pupils from selected schools in the state of Georgia. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, the University of Georgia, Athens.

Thomas, J.A. (1962) Efficiency in education: A study of the relationship between selected inputs and mean test scores in a sample of senior high school. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Stanford University.


This summary was compiled by Elizabeth Jago and Ken Tanner

Posted: (April 1999)


 

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