Improving the quality of school facilities through building performance assessment

Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Publication date: 8 May 2009



The paper describes the purpose of and strategies for conducting post‐occupancy evaluations (POEs) as a method for assessing school building performance. Set within the larger context of global efforts to develop and apply common indicators of school building quality, the authors describe research conducted within the newest generation of São Paulo's schools.


The various methods of POE, including expert walkthroughs, physical measurements, observations, behavioral mapping, user interviews, focus groups, and survey questionnaires were applied within a purposefully selected case study school.


The POE carried out at Fernando Gasparian High School revealed limitations in the building's design, particularly in light of the neighborhood context, thus raising significant concerns about safety and security. Users gave the construction quality of the building, a generally positive evaluation, however, there were some important aspects of the building design judged as deficient. In particular, researchers observed a significant mismatch between the building design and the realities of the surrounding community. This sort of incongruity introduced important challenges to principals, teachers, and staff, as they worked to ensure the safety of students who attend the school.


The research explores the effectiveness of POE methods in capturing user and expert assessments of overall building quality, as well as the degree to which building designs assist educators and community members in realizing Brazil's larger educational reform goals.



Walbe Ornstein, S., Saraiva Moreira, N., Ono, R., Limongi França, A. and Nogueira, R. (2009), "Improving the quality of school facilities through building performance assessment", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 47 No. 3, pp. 350-367.

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Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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