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Facility design and learning - Research Paper Example

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Institutions of learning and education have been a long-standing fixture in American history. The roots of the American education system date back to before the colonies won their independence from Great Britain. Harvard College was founded in 1636, and shortly thereafter the College of William and Mary in Virginia (Hamby, 2005)…
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Facility design and learning
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Download file to see previous pages Free education as we know it today did not come into existence until the 1840s, when a popular movement began with education reformers Horace Mann and Henry Barnard. Working in Massachusetts and Connecticut, these two men helped to create statewide “common-school” systems that would provide education for everyone. (“Honor America’s Schools”, 2002). Aided by common-school advocates, they worked to establish a free elementary education accessible to everyone and financed by public funds. (“Honor America’s Schools”, 2002). Public education across the United States remains much the same as the common-school movement that was started in Massachusetts and Connecticut over a century ago. Public education is still free to those that wish to use it; however, American students are scoring lower than other countries in subjects such as science and math (“Associated Press”, 2007), and the very buildings that were constructed for their education are now being examined as the cause behind the lower test scores. The first cause that is being examined in the correlation between learning and learning facilities are the buildings themselves. According to a study conducted by the Tennessee Advisory Committee on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) in 2003, school facility factors such as building age and condition, among others, can affect student health, safety, sense of self, and psychological state. Further evidence of this was determined by Glen I. Earthman in his 2002 study entitled School Facility Conditions and Student Achievement. In this study, Mr. Earthman stated that, when the socioeconomic factors of a classroom were controlled, researchers frequently found a difference between 5 and 17 percentile points between achievements of students in poor quality school buildings when compared with students in standard quality school buildings. Though the terms of poor quality and standard quality were not specifically defined in the study, the evidence was clear – the quality of the building affected the ability of students to learn. The elements of facility design that can affect learning go far beyond the ‘brick and mortar’ approach to a school. Perhaps the biggest contributor inside a school to a student’s learning is the air that they breathe. According to the National Center for Education Statistics 2003 Planning Guide for Maintaining School Facilities, Indoor Air Quality, commonly referred to as IAQ, encompasses almost anything and everything that affects air in an educational building, from mold and pollens to dust, paint odors and other allergens. In 1995, the General Accounting Office (GAO) found that fifteen thousand schools in America suffered from poor IAQ, which affected more than eight million children in the American public school systems across the country (Schneider, 2002). Poor IAQ has been linked to a number of issues that affect student performance. Among the issues are eye, nose, and throat irritation, fatigue, headache, nausea, and sinus problems (Szuba, & Young, 2003). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in a 2000 study, referred to these symptoms in total ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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