This entry covers changes to the built environment such as a move to a new school building or improvements to the design, air quality, noise, light, or temperature of an existing building.
Search Terms: Physical environment; building; physical setting; physical classroom environment; built environment; physical learning environment
Puntuació de l'evidència
There are no meta-analyses of interventions on the impact of the built environment on learning. Available systematic reviews do not contain effect size information. Research on this area is mainly based on correlational studies or drawn as inferences from wider environmental research. There are two strands of evidence, one which looks for a link between attainment and poor environmental conditions (negative effects) and one which seeks to identify a link between attainment and good conditions or particular features (positive effects). There are very few rigorous experimental designs or well-matched studies, and this makes it hard to establish causal claims about the impact of physical changes.The correlational evidence tends to be stronger for the negative effect of poor conditions. Overall the evidence is rated as very limited.
Informació cost addicional
It is very difficult to estimate the costs of changes to the built environment as they are usually part of capital spending and a single cost, rather than a recurrent part of a school budget. A new secondary school costs about £15 million for 1,500 pupils or £10,000 per pupil. However, several generations of pupils are likely to use the building. Improving air quality can be done relatively cheaply with better ventilation, filtration and the use of dehumidifiers where necessary. Overall, costs are estimated as low.
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Washington DC: The Center for Green Schools
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Doctoral dissertation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
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