Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


School buildings--Iowa--Design and construction, Academic achievement--Iowa, Science--Study and teaching (Middle school)--Iowa, Mathematics--Study and teaching (Middle school)--Iowa, Electronic Theses and Dissertations, ETD


Considering the billions of dollars invested in school buildings and the accountability for improving student achievement, there has been the lingering question about how the physical learning environment impacts student achievement. This study explored the impact of a new 21st-century-designed middle school facility on student academic achievement in mathematics and science. This case study used a mixed methods approach to examine the student achievement of 158 middle school students and the perceptions from 13 teachers and two administrators about the impact of the new facility on teaching and student learning. The purpose of this study was to analyze the effect on middle school student achievement in mathematics and science when students experienced a change in the physical learning environment, from an aging school facility to a new 21st-century-designed school facility. Proficiency on the Iowa Assessments in mathematics and science were the two continuous dependent variables for student achievement, and the discrete independent variable was the change in the physical learning environment from the old building to the new building. Two cohort groups of students were identified that attended school at both facilities for grades 6-8. Only the standardized test data for students who attended school at both facilities was used to conduct the matched cohort data analysis. Through the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) software for quantitative analysis, paired-samples t-test was used to compare the difference between means of test scores of the two cohort groups. Qualitative research was used to gain insight about the complex relationship between the school building and its occupants. A focus group interview was conducted with teachers and administrators who experienced the transition from the old facility to the new 21st-century-designed school facility. The objective of the focus group interview was to gain high-quality data in a social context where respondents could consider their own views in the context of the views of others. The results of this study will provide insight for school leaders, planners, and architects about the effects of a new school building on student achievement.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Educational Leadership and Postsecondary Education

First Advisor

Robert Decker

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (ix, 181 pages)



File Format