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The walls speak: the interplay of quality facilities, school climate, and student achievement

Cynthia Uline (San Diego State University, San Diego, California, USA)
Megan Tschannen‐Moran (The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, USA)

Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Article publication date: 1 February 2008




A growing body of research connecting the quality of school facilities to student performance accompanies recent efforts to improve the state of the educational infrastructure in the USA. Less is known about the mechanisms of these relationships. This paper seeks to examine the proposition that part of the explanation may be the mediating influence of school climate.


Teachers from 80 Virginia middle schools were surveyed employing measures including the School Climate Index, a seven‐item quality of school facilities scale, as well as three resource support items. Data on student SES and achievement were also gathered. Bivariate correlational analysis was used to explore the relationships between the quality of facilities, resource support, school climate, student SES, and student achievement. In addition, multiple regression was used to test school climate as a mediating variable between the quality of facilities and student achievement.


Results confirmed a link between the quality of school facilities and student achievement in English and mathematics. As well, quality facilities were significantly positively related to three school climate variables. Finally, results confirmed the hypothesis that school climate plays a mediating role in the relationship between facility quality and student achievement.


As we face fundamental issues of equity across schools and districts, leaders struggle to convince taxpayers of the need to invest in replacing and/or renovating inadequate facilities. Deeper understandings of the complicated interplay between the physical and social environments of school, and how these dynamics influence student outcomes, may help educators build a compelling case.



Uline, C. and Tschannen‐Moran, M. (2008), "The walls speak: the interplay of quality facilities, school climate, and student achievement", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 46 No. 1, pp. 55-73.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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