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The housing environment and family life: A longitudinal study of the effects of housing on morbidity and mental health

One important limitation in most work on educational settings and student achievement, however, is over-reliance on school professionals’ ratings of building quality. Since teachers and administrators are well aware of children’s achievement profiles in their own schools and are themselves likely affected by building quality, the potential for spurious associations in this measurement approach is considerable. However, assessments of building quality conducted by independent raters (e.g., structural engineers) have also been consistently associated with standardized test scores Further strengthening these conclusions are several studies comparing performance before and after building improvements (. In two recent studies utilizing the New York City school facilities building quality database,  showed that the significant association between these expert rating measures of school building quality and academic achievement in elementary school children was largely mediated by attendance. Moreover children in New York City primary schools with higher rates of student mobility suffer even worse achievement outcomes as a function of substandard school facilities

Given that nearly all of the research on school facility quality and student performance emanates from wealthy countries where the range of school quality is truncated, this is an area of particular importance to examine in the global South where the range of quality is considerably broader. And, in fact, improvements in the physical structure of schools in the global South do appear to positively impact students’ test scores However, the research to date in this area is very tentative, and typically the schools being compared have multiple factors that differ in quality, making it difficult to clearly identify individual influences on children’s outcomes.