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The Relationship of School Design to Academic Achievement of Elementary School Children
(Under the Direction of C. KENNETH TANNER)

There are many factors that affect student achievement. This study explored one factor that has received little attention by educational leaders: the influence of school design upon the achievement of elementary school students. In particular, this study explored the relationship of 11 design subscales (86 design elements - patterns), identified in the literature, to elementary school student achievement as measured by the third and fifth grade composite reading and mathematics scores on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS).

The purpose of this study was to determine if a relationship existed between school design features and elementary school student achievement. The population of this study was 24 elementary schools located in the West Central Georgia Regional Educational Service Area (RESA). Both site visits and the Internet were used to collect data. Multiple regression analyses were conducted on the data set. Control variables included the percentage of students receiving free lunch, average years of teaching experience, percentage of white students, percentage of students classified as other, and certificate level of the teachers. The Design Appraisal Scale Elementary (DASE) Version 2000, was completed for each school to determine the score for the design feature subscales. This was also included in the equation as a predictor variable. Regression models were examined to determine the amount of variance that was explained by the subscales of the DASE instrument.

Based upon the results of the analyses, school design variables explained 14.2% of the variance related to the third grade achievement scores and 9.7% of the variance related to the fifth grade achievement scores. From these findings, it may be concluded that school design variables (patterns) influenced the academic achievement of elementary school students in this study.

INDEX WORDS:Architecture, Design Factors, Elementary School Education, Iowa Test of Basic Skills, School Design, School Facilities, Student Achievement, Test Scores

Posted 5/2/2001

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