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Teachers who work in schools where recent construction or renovations were completed were asked to grade the outcome of the changes through various focus areas: the impact on school culture, student retention, student engagement, staff relationships, classroom management, and attendance.

Grade Ratings for Project Outcomes: Part 1

Completed construction or renovation projects were rated highest for having affected the culture of the school (32% with A grade and 34% with B grade), attracting new students (23%), and improving student engagement (22% with A grade and 31% with B grade). The completed construction or renovation outcomes that had a lower number of A ratings were improving camaraderie among faculty/staff (17%), improved classroom management (14%), and improved student attendance (10%).

Grade Ratings for Project Outcomes: Part 2

Grade Ratings for Project Outcomes by School Size

Educators from small schools were significantly more likely than those from other school sizes to have given higher grades (A or B) for improved classroom management (63%). This indicates that the changes likely included larger classroom sizes, more choices to accommodate different learning styles, or more chances for collaboration— all factors that can improve classroom management. Teachers from small schools (76%) also responded significantly higher than those from medium-size schools (59%), regarding the effect of renovations on both the culture of the school and improved student engagement (66% versus 45%).

Grade Ratings for Project Outcomes by School Type

Senior high school educators were significantly more likely than middle/junior high educators to have given higher grades (A or B) for improved student engagement (59%), improved classroom management (45%), and improved student attendance (36%).

Educators from schools with medium-high and high poverty levels were significantly more likely than those in schools with medium-low poverty levels to have given higher grades (A or B) for improved student attendance and attracting new students. The school environments in these segments that completed construction are likely more appealing or engaging from a physical standpoint, making it more enjoyable to come to school than it was before.

Steven M. Shiver, another fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and LEED certified designer had this to say regarding teacher grades for construction projects: “With respect to changes to school culture, I think that is much more driven by the leadership in the building. I have two charter schools, very similar in design and amenities, that are run by the same “operator” or charter school organization. One opened 2-3 years ago and looks virtually new. The second opened one year ago, and already looks very abused. Each school has a completely different culture and attitude to how the building is used. At both, the design provides the opportunity, but only one is taking advantage of it.”

About this Research and Methodology

State of the K-12 Market 2018: The Impact of Learning Spaces on Student Success, is based on an online survey conducted by MDR, with a nationwide sample of K-12 public school educators. Teachers and librarian/media specialists were sent an email invitation to take the survey and 1,685 completed it. Data collection occurred from May 24 through June 17, 2018. Respondents were asked if their school had undergone a construction or renovation in the past five years, or if their school has a renovation planned in the near future. If neither was the case, they were asked if their school is in need of a renovation. Throughout the report, how the respondents answered this question will be referenced for perspective. Nearly one-fourth of the respondents work in schools planning a renovation, over one-third reported construction took place recently, and nearly two-thirds believe their school needs construction or a renovation in the next five years. This points to the importance teachers place on having modern, updated learning spaces in which to teach. Learn more about MDR Education reports at mdreducation.com

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