Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Student Test Scores Suffer from Even Subtle Background Noise

01.11.2011
Teachers do all they can to provide a productive learning experience for their students, but some factors are beyond their control and may actually be dragging down standardized test scores.

According to research on third- and fifth-grade classrooms presented at the 162nd meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), fifth-grade students were found to have lower reading test scores in classrooms with higher background noise. A similar negative trend was observed between the fifth-grade language achievement test scores and background noise levels.

The noise the researchers measured and compared to test scores was not the expected cacophony of nearby traffic or occasional outbursts from unruly students. Instead the noise came from the steady droning and humming of the air conditioning and heating systems.

“Our research shows that many students are forced to learn and teachers are required to work in conditions that simply do not aid in the learning experience,” said Lauren M. Ronsse, now with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Champaign, Ill. She and her doctoral advisor Lily M. Wang of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln measured the background noise in 67 unoccupied third- and fifth-grade classrooms in a Nebraska public school district. The researchers were primarily interested in the noise produced by the ever-present heating and cooling systems in the schools. These systems produce a constant source of background noise that they believe could mask sounds, muddle oral communications, and interfere with comprehension during instructions. The sound measurements were specifically conducted in empty classrooms since design guidelines often specify desired unoccupied acoustic conditions. Higher levels of noise in unoccupied conditions are linked to higher noise levels when those rooms are occupied by students, since students have to express themselves more loudly to be easily heard.

In this study, the researchers placed a sound level meter at the center of each classroom. With the support of teachers and school administrators, they took a number of baseline readings to gauge the intrinsic noise of the air systems. The research went on for 5 months, from January through May 2010. It was typically conducted after the end of the school day, from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

After the measurements were completed, the researchers compared the background noise levels of the classrooms to the standardized student achievement scores. They observed statistically significant correlations among the fifth-grade students, though the negative effect was not observed among the third-grade students.

A previous study by the researchers suggested that the maximum allowable classroom background noise levels to reach Iowa state targets for student reading comprehension scores should be approximately 41 decibels, which is the noise level found in an average office setting. To reach the optimal Nebraska state targets for student reading scores, however, their new research indicates that the background noise in a classroom should be as low as 28 decibels, which is actually just above a whisper and quieter than the humming of a refrigerator.

“The results from these studies indicate that elementary schools should be built with building mechanical systems that are certainly quieter than 40 decibels in the classrooms to optimize student learning in the reading comprehension and language subject areas,” said Ronsse.

Talk 1aAA9, “Impacts of classroom acoustics on elementary student achievement,” will be presented in the morning session of the ASA meeting on Monday, Oct. 31.

USEFUL LINKS:
Main meeting website: http://acousticalsociety.org/
Searchable index: http://asa.aip.org/asasearch.html
Hotel site: http://www.towncountry.com/index.cfm
Webcast registration and viewing: http://www.aipwebcasting.com
WORLD WIDE PRESS ROOM
In the week before the meeting, the ASA's World Wide Press Room (www.acoustics.org/press) will be updated with lay-language papers, which are 300-1200 word summaries of presentations written by scientists for a general audience and accompanied by photos, audio, and video.
ABOUT THE ACOUSTICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA
The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) is the premier international scientific society in acoustics devoted to the science and technology of sound. Its 7,000 members worldwide represent a broad spectrum of the study of acoustics. ASA publications include The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (the world's leading journal on acoustics), Acoustics Today magazine, books, and standards on acoustics. The society also holds two major scientific meetings each year. For more information about ASA, visit our website at http://www.acousticalsociety.org.

Charles E. Blue | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.acousticalsociety.org

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'
26.05.2017 | University of Leicester

nachricht Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect
24.05.2017 | Vienna University of Technology

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>