A review of the scope of scientific studies relating indoor environment and student performance

  • YEAR
    Davies, Hilary
    Lee, Heidi
    2007 Conference Papers
    Effective environments: thermal, luminous, sonic, haptic, hygienic


ABSTRACT: In 2006-7 the Australian government will invest $9.3 billion in state government and nongovernment
educational facilities (DEST 20061). One area of particular interest to both government
and school designers is maximising this investment through providing students with healthy and
productive indoor learning environments. The lack of post-occupancy evaluations carried out in
schools (Lackney 2001) means that designers are reliant on “best practice” indoor environment quality
guidelines developed primarily from scientific studies. The problem with scientific evaluation is that
often the complexity of the influences upon student performance is simplified in order to gather
information, rather than necessarily providing a more holistic and realistic explanation of any improved
outcomes. This paper examines the scope of various studies of classroom indoor environment
qualities that have thus far contributed to current understanding of their impact on student learning
outcomes. The review demonstrates the lack of comprehensive research into the full range of
influences on student performance and offers a better understanding of the limitations of knowledge
about indoor environment qualities. This information provides valuable input to research development
and post-occupancy evaluation that can better integrate the full range of influences upon students of
school facilities and test the assumptions made about “best practice”.


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