Perspectives of middle school principals regarding floor covering and a comparison of middle school student performance with sound intensity levels
Folden, Cathy Lynn
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This study explored perspectives of middle school principals on the importance of interior design elements in Georgia middle schools. School principals are the instructional leaders within the school and therefore have a unique viewpoint on the classroom’s learning environment. They should also be influential in the design of new schools. Floor covering and its role in absorbing noise, classroom flexibility and safety in respect to student achievement was a focus of this study. Other design elements such as aesthetics, comfort and safety were also investigated. The following questions guided this research study: 1. What perspectives do Georgia middle school principals have concerning the influence of interior design elements such as floor covering, lighting, flexibility, acoustics, color texture, patterns, cleanliness and maintenance on student achievement, teacher retention and student attendance? 1. What are the Georgia middle school principals’ preferred floor coverings for the middle school classroom environment? 2. How do the acoustics of the environment relate to student achievement? 3. What floor coverings create the best acoustical environments when student achievement is considered? 4. Does the floor covering in the classroom relate to student achievement? Public middle schools in Georgia for the year of 2002 served as the population for this study. A questionnaire was distributed to a random sample of 100 Georgia middle school principals. A sample of 12 schools having carpeted classrooms and 12 schools having hard surfaces were chosen based on the results of the survey. Site visits were completed to collect data regarding reverberation time and background noise in classrooms. A sound level meter and reverberation time meter were used for these measurements. Official state records provided information regarding student performance, teacher experience, and certification. Ninety-seven percent of principals surveyed agreed that classroom design affected student achievement. Classroom volume, surface area, and background noise were used as covariates to develop adjusted reverberation times. Negative correlations between student achievement and reverberation times were found. Student achievement was adjusted for socioeconomic status, teacher education and experience. This correlation indicated that as reverberation time decreased, student achievement increased.