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POE: Understanding Innovative Learning Places and Their Impact on Student Academic Engagement-Index 6-8 'Alpha' Survey Developments

New evidence builds upon the Student Engagement IndexTM and Teacher Engagement IndexTM research (Scott-Webber, Konyndyk, & French, 2019; Scott-Webber, Konyndyk, French, & French, 2018; Scott-Webber, Konyndyk, French, Lembke, & Kinney,
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  Journal of Education and Learning; Vol. 8, No. 5; 2019 ISSN 1927-5250 E-ISSN 1927-5269 Published by Canadian Center of Science and Education 31 POE: Understanding Innovative Learning Places and Their Impact on Student Academic Engagement—Index 6–8 ‘Alpha’ Survey Developments Lennie Scott-Webber  1 , Roger Konyndyk  2  & Marilyn Denison 3   1  INSYNC: Education Research + Design, Estero, Florida, USA 2  Statistical Consulting, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA 3  DLR Group, K12 Education Practice, Dallas, Texas, USA Correspondence: Lennie Scott-Webber, PhD, INSYNC: Education Research + Design, Estero, Florida, 33929, USA. E-mail: Received: August 1, 2019 Accepted: August 28, 2019 Online Published: September 19, 2019 doi:10.5539/jel.v8n5p31 URL: Abstract  New evidence builds upon the Student Engagement Index TM  and Teacher Engagement Index TM  research (Scott-Webber, Konyndyk, & French, 2019; Scott-Webber, Konyndyk, French, & French, 2018; Scott-Webber, Konyndyk, French, Lembke, & Kinney, 2017) determining post-occupancy answers to, “ Can we demonstrate that the design of the built environment for grades 6–8 impacts student academic engagement levels  post-occupancy? ” The early studies used respondents from grades 9–12. This one is from users in grades 6–8 (‘alpha’ pilot). All studies were conducted in the USA as convenience samples. Engagement performance is a high predictor of student success across multiple domains and learning/work experiences. Specifically, “Research that shows that engagement, the time and energy students devote to educationally purposeful activities, is the best single predictor of their learning and personal development” (Anonymous,    NSSE, 2010, p. 2), and thus our research focus. From both the students and educators perspectives, design of the built space impacts engagement performance (p < .0001). Keywords:  academic engagement, architecture, learning place design, post-occupancy evaluation, survey development 1. Introduction 1.1 Does Design Make a Difference in Learning and Teaching? Why survey students and educators to see if design makes a difference in their everyday learning or teaching situations? Because, evidence indicates engagement performance is a high predictor of success across multiple domains and learning/work experiences. Specifically, “Research shows that engagement, the time and energy students devote to educationally purposeful activities, is the best single predictor of their learning and personal development” (Anonymous, NSSE, 2010, p. 2), and thus our research focus. Furthermore, and perhaps just as importantly, most of our human experiences are inside this built ‘box’ called school; the USA average is 6.5 hrs  per day for approximately 180 days = 1,170 hrs per year; added up = 15,210 hours. Therefore, it stands to reason that where we spend our time and how these places are designed to support individual needs is critical to understand. This current work builds on a career effort and the questions used are framed from multiple researchers in several domains in a holistic approach titled the Users Environmental Interaction Framework.v2© (UEIF.v2) (Scott-Webber, 1999). This study builds upon that work in trying to understanding how the deign of the built environment impacts student academic engagement levels (Scott-Webber, Konyndyk, French, & French, 2018; Scott-Webber, Konyndyk, French, Lembke, & Kinney, 2017; Scott-Webber, 2004; Scott-Webber, Marini, & Abraham, Spring, 2000). This report differs as it studies a new age cohort - students in grades 6 to 8. The research question for this study continues to be the same as for the higher grades of 9 to 12. It is, “ Can we demonstrate that the design of the built environment for grades 6-8 impacts student academic engagement levels  post-occupancy? ” The research design is explained next.   jel.ccsenet. This rese post-occuimpacts hof the desqualitativeuses a miand qualit1) Q2) Qnatuinqu23).   The reseainquiry rethe contex 1.2 Explo As we resnew, we Although is that “…they have Our reseadesign of their respunderstanstudents, supportinlearning s •   e •   P •   ae •   C org rch team utiancy. 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The Hcs and surveys…these methanalysis, pho ple human eign protocol (as the HcRD avior. Our reed post-occup -Occupancy mitigate the months afteave been proings in a systey, & Edwar  students’ ancademic enghis research. y both studevel can discege may be us protocol and reliable and educators, ab built enviro) design and t spaces supp protocol to sdesign of thes anticipated estions, but D (see figure n (inclusive oD method us” (Hanington, ods are typicao and diary xperience” (HcRD) is human-censearch questioancy. erspective effect of expe occupation osed, a usefumatic and rig, 1988,” in, d the educatogement perfohis work hasts and by edrn this impaced to impact rovided the f valid, pre-tesut academic ment) buildinow they conrt these ende Vol. 8, No. 5; tudy this que built environn the developall into two 1) protocol alf both quanties the followi2010, p. 22), lly ethnograpstudies, conteanington, 201   tered and supn asks the saiencing somen a new buill, classic defiorous manner nonymous, 2s’ perspectivermance. How the opportun   ucators about t, (3) if desiesigns for thellowing: ted at a dif ngagement leg’s design, astribute to levvors. 2019 stion ment ment   reas, ays ative g: nd ic in xtual 0, p.  ports e in hing ding. ition after 008). s the ever, ty to their n is next erent vels well ls of   jel.ccsenet. Overall, tknowledg(overall/rework to b 1.3 Relev The Stude builds on holistic apA review understanspaces—tEnvironmframewor effort to Bloom, K Abraham, The curreStricklandfor gradesdesigned tenvironmasks how of choice environm be comfo[the situatthe valuequestions. 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Users t upon early 2013; Scott-instruments. of questions r ssroom (a miove about, nover where are touched uconnected to hool, and its different typnt Index TM  (r student’s end the teache of the built cators perspe pting to ‘proeir teachers, a Journal of E hools, studen the built spareas impacts ents for whiI) questionnaistions used ar ironmental Ine graphic in including theom, and manternal and B many others,d its relation; Elliot & Co 2).   environmentalwork done ebber, MariniThis newest elated to the ro environmevigate from ind how studon; accessiblthers; and morganization’ss of learningEI) questionagagement ler responses aspace is supptive to unpace’ that the de   nd with the a ducation and L33 ts n = 2,007  ce at both thstudent acadeh to study thire is focused e framed froteraction Fraigure 2 repree specific sero level, or ehavioral, an particularly chip to its usevington, 2001 interaction fr in higher ed, & Abraham,esearch effor EIF.v2 relatint), or learninstructional stents may wisty to ‘tools’ tivational fac culture] of t experiences. ire follows thels using th   re compared rting his/her the instructiosign of space ademic conte arning ; teachers n micro (classic engageme important quon the student multiple resework.v2© (ents the comgments: (1) loverall, (2) (4) Proxemilassical Envir s (Hall, 1966; Scott-Webbamework.v2©ucation (Scot Spring, 2000 studies grade to two spatig spacebuilt eategy to instr h to learn aithin their leators. It then f e school and Finally, it ee SEI with t same questito the studenneeds, again nal strategies makes a diffent. This work 210 ) contioom/learning nt levels. Thiestion. ’s perspective.earchers in seUEIF.v2) (Sclexity of inteyers of the two Dimensic Zones at thnment Behav; Sommer, 19er, 2000 & 2 (UEIF.v2) t-Webber, 20, and the relas 6 through al areas (1) thnvironment octional strated with who   rning spaces; ocuses on thetheir perceiveds with a so specific focons the stud responses. t the macro and how the drence in how tried to unde Vol. 8, No. 5; ues to exten place), and team contin. This current veral domainsott-Webber, 1action/engageesign of the ns of Value micro level. ior Theorists, 59; Maslow, 04; Scott-We   14; Scott-Weively new res8. The surveye overall (or the school. Igy; the opport; whether iability to see, situational cd understandit of demogr i. First, it ask nts’ receive. econd, it ask nd micro levesign of the sindividuals estand and me 2019 the acro es to ork in a 999). ment  built and This in an 943;  bber,  bber, arch s are acro also nity door hear, lture g of  phic s the This s the ls. It aces gage sure Journal of Education and Learning Vol. 8, No. 5; 2019 34 what was impacting interactions or engagements. We believed it was important to not just answer the research question, but try and provide a tool, or index and measurable awareness levels to use as gauges of engagement and environmental fit. This document reports on a survey of three middle schools, grades 6–8, and is the first time we have attempted to survey students in this age group, as an ‘alpha’ test, and expected to learn some things to do differently the next time around. Our earlier surveys were of high schools, grades 9–12. Surveying middle school students raised several questions: 1)   Would middle school students understand a survey of the type we need to do? 2)   How much language would need to change to ensure these cohorts would comprehend our questions from high school? 3)   Would middle school students be willing to respond to a survey? 4)   How much would the survey need to be simplified and/or shortened for them? 5)   Would we get results similar to the high school surveys, and how would results differ? 6)   How might middle school teachers answer differently than high school teachers? We are pleased that overall, students responded well to the survey, and the results were similar to those of the high schools’ surveys. To address our concern stated in #2, we asked a former assistant superintendent and some of her educators to review the 9–12 text and help ensure the vocabulary and meaning would fit with this age cohort. Some slight changes were made to the srcinal surveys (three pilots for high school) as a result of their reviews. While we encountered a couple issues along the way, there was nothing that would call the validity of the survey into question. As one would expect, there were some differences between the middle school and the high school survey responses. 2. Method A short definition for each step in this Human-Centered Research Design protocol (refer back to Figure 1) is shared: •   Discover [D]: Develop a research question/hypothesis and understand what will be the best research design, methods and techniques to find answers, and use them to gather data. It’s best to use three techniques to ensure bias is reduced. Once gathered the researcher(s) puts this information into appropriate format(s) for analysis. Whether using quantitative methods or qualitative methods, all data will be worked to produce some numerical findings. Once this latter stage is done, these become research ‘instruments’ or tools. (NOTE: a human subject’s protocol has been reviewed by a third party prior to  beginning work with a client; all consent forms approved and received). •   Analysis [A]: Take the data from the research techniques and use appropriate methods to break down the information. By using multiple discovery techniques to avoid bias ensures the comparisons generates consistent and reliable findings. Use statistical methods when appropriate. Pilot test and test again to vet the data for reliability and validity. •   Synthesis [Sy]: Recognize the analysis phase of this work only generates facts. What these facts ‘are saying,’ how each is connected to the next is revealed by generating meaning and understanding relative to the srcinal question. This segment takes time and expertise to clarify and built a ‘truthful’ and unbiased consensus from the data. •   Share [S]:   Be prepared to share information to multiple audiences and for multiple purposes—clients, designers, conferences, and research manuscripts. •   Plan [P]: Know all data reveal a truth—not always the ones we’re looking for or expecting. Be prepared to  plan for next steps (ex, go back and address an issue found in a design and/or adjust the design solution for the next time it is used). The sample information and response rates are shared next. 2.1 Sample and Response Rates and Analysis of Missing Data  There were three schools used as convenience samples with purposeful user groups (students and teachers), each school designed by a particular architectural firm, with 1,381 total responses to the student survey. Student response to the survey was very good, with over 60% of the students in each school responding to the survey. Response rates from the teachers were much lower at schools A and B; the reason is unknown (see Table 1). The small number of teachers responding made it difficult to draw statistically valid inferences about how the   jel.ccsenet. teachers vhere are fr  Table 1. We had a Figure 3). Similarly, more than Of the “Olittle probland anothfatigue” i5). org iewed the dif om the 6-8 stesponse rates School A B C good mix of we had a gooone grade; sether” group, tem with non-er 12% skipp the student serent schoolsdy.  by school  No. Students 848 479 680 students by gr Fid mix of teac self-identifieFiere was one esponse to qd only one qrvey, as the Journal of E . To ensure a Respondents 545 403 433 ade level, whigure 3. Grade hers by graded other grade ure 4. Grade nswer each oestions on theestion (but number of ski   ducation and L35 onymity, sch % No64.3 84.1 63.7 ch proved to level indicato level; focus levels taught (level indicatof “Office”, “ survey. Amoot the same q ped question arning ool names ar  . Teachers R 120 45 45  be an importars/students n grades 6-8.see Figure 4).s / teachers rade 5”, and ng the studentuestion). Ho rose toward coded, and espondents 31 20 29 nt factor in th   Of course, Counseling”. s, 68% answeever, we did he end of the Vol. 8, No. 5; ll data repres % 25.8 44.4 64.4 e student datany teachers Overall, ther    red every quesee a little “ssurvey (see F 2019 nted (see each was tion, rvey gure
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