Perceptions of elementary school principals regarding the floor and a comparison of elementary school students' performance with sound intensity levels
Langford, Patricia Ann
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Although there is some documented information about perceptions of teachers concerning the physical environment and its influence on student learning, behavior, and achievement, the literature is silent regarding perceptions of elementary school principals on importance of interior design elements, including floor coverings, in schools and the influence of floor covering on student achievement. The issues of the floor covering’s role in absorbing noise, its contribution to classroom flexibility, safety, and security were investigated with respect to student achievement. The issues addressed in this study were investigated according to these questions: 1. What are the perceptions that elementary school principals have concerning the influence of the interior design elements such as floor and wall coverings, lighting, flexibility, acoustics, color, texture, patterns, cleanliness, and maintenance on student achievement, teacher retention, and student attendance? 2. Does the acoustics of the environment relate significantly to student achievement? 3. What floor coverings in the classroom relate significantly to the acoustics of classroom? 4. Are there any possible links between floor coverings in the classroom and student achievement? The population for this study included public elementary schools in Georgia in the year 2002. To collect perceptual data, a questionnaire was distributed to a random sample of 100 public elementary school principals in Georgia. Based on the results of this survey, a sample of schools having carpeted and hard surface flooring in classrooms were selected for site visits to measure reverberation time and background noise. A sound level meter and reverberation meter were used for measuring acoustics. Information regarding student performance, teacher experience, and certification was also gathered from official records. Over 93% of the principals noted that the general classroom design has a somewhat strong impact on student achievement. When student achievement was analyzed, the control variables included socioeconomic status and teacher education and experience, while the volume of the classroom, surface area, and background noise were used in comparing reverberation times. A negative correlation was found when reverberation times and student mathematics achievement were analyzed, indicating that student mathematics achievement scores in classrooms with lower reverberation times were higher. In all subject areas studied, students attending schools having carpeted classrooms had higher achievement scores than those attending schools in hard surfaced classrooms.