As debates over education reform make their way to the headlines, teachers are pointing fingers at poor classroom design and poor classroom funding. Apparently they've done their homework, because new studies are proving, left and right, that the classroom design itself is in fact a deciding factor in the amount of information a child is able to take in by 25%, according to the journal Building and the Environment. In a full year span, that amounts to a full year's academic progress!
The study was conducted over the 2011-2012 academic year on 751 students in 34 classrooms spread across 7 primary schools in Blackpool, Eangland.
After collecting data on the students performance levels going into the school year, the researchers, comprising faculty from the University of Salford School of the Built Environment in Manchester, England, as well as collaborators from the architecture firm Nightingale Associates, ranked each classroom on a 1 to 5 scale for 10 different design parameters: light, sound, temperature, air quality, choice, flexibility, connection, complexity, color, and texture. Each of these parameters were broken down into a few considerations. Light, for example, included the amount of natural light entering the classroom, as well as the teacher’s ability to manually control the level of lighting; flexibility took into consideration how well a given classroom could accommodate pupils without crowding them, in addition to how easily its furniture could be rearranged for a variety of activities and teaching approaches.