Abstract

The purpose of this study is to isolate the independent effects of high school facility quality on student achievement using a large, nationally representative U.S. database of student achievement and school facility quality. Prior research on linking school facility quality to student achievement has been mixed. Studies that relate overall independently rated structural and engineering aspects of schools have been shown to not be related to achievement. However, more recent research has suggested that facility maintenance and disrepair, rather than structural issues, may be more directly related to student achievement. If there is a relationship, addressing facility disrepair from the school, district, or state level could provide a potential avenue for policymakers for school improvement. We analyzed the public school component and the facilities checklist of the ELS:2002 survey (8,110 students in 520 schools) using a two-level hierarchical linear model to estimate the independent effect of facility disrepair on student growth in mathematics during the final two years of high school controlling for multiple covariates at the student and school level. We found no evidence of a direct effect of facility disrepair on student mathematics achievement and instead propose a mediated effects model.

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