Title image credit: Cover from the OECD School User Survey.
The newly launched OECD School User Survey is designed to support the improvement of learning spaces by empowering school users. Significantly for us as acoustic enthusiasts, among the broad range of holistic topics and important aspects that it covers, the survey also includes 5 acoustic related questions.
The Survey, which will produce informed data for each school, is aimed at three user groups:
- School leaders
The first of its kind to be conducted on this scale, the survey is meant to work as an ongoing occupancy evaluation tool which should identify and monitor desirable changes. Info from the three groups can be used to collect and triangulate evidence on the actual use of learning spaces.
The survey questions are grouped into five areas as per the following illustration:
The OECD highlights that recent studies of innovative learning environments indicate there are positive
associations between school improvement, spatial redesign and student learning. They have therefore developed this comprehensive tool specifically for school users, who, assuming they are aware of it and take the time to complete the questions, stand to benefit directly. The survey is free to use.
More effective use of physical learning spaces
The survey guidance also states that it can be used to identify how a school can make more effective use of its physical learning spaces. It gives schools the opportunity to track the use of their physical learning environment over time to evaluate the effectiveness of investments in school building refurbishments – for example, by administering the survey before and after renovation work is done in the school.
Acoustics questions amongst other important indoor environmental qualities
In the comfort section, acoustics features along with questions on thermal, visual and ergonomic comfort, access to natural daylight, air quality and the use of outdoor spaces.
Image from OECD School User Survey full pdf available here.
This section also addresses where the issues are – in all / most/ a few or in none of the spaces. Not just the formal teaching spaces but all learning spaces are surveyed.
Interestingly the survey also asks about the arrangement of furniture in spaces and what teaching and learning activities are involved. In addition, it is encouraging to see questions like; “Outside lesson time, which of the following spaces in your school have you used for school work either on your own or with other students over the last week?” acknowledging that the learning goes on outside the formal classroom and that all informal spaces need to be fit for purpose too.
This survey tool could be a very interesting way for schools to measure and evaluate any remodelling of existing premises, to give an informed understanding of the effectiveness of the learning spaces before and after any transitions and it could also support ongoing post occupancy evaluation.
The School User Survey is currently available in English at no charge.
How about sharing the School User Survey infographic with any interested parties, relevant associations or school enthusiasts you know?
The Survey was recently presented at Transitions18 in Copenhagen, read more here.