The age and condition of Texas high schools as related to student academic achievement
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There are many inadequate high school facilities in Texas, and unfortunately many of these are found in areas of low socioeconomic status and high minority percentages. According to a Texas Comptroller’s Office (2006) report on the conditions of school facilities in Texas, roughly 40% were considered in the categories of fair, poor, or needs replacing, with the average age of these facilities being 34.5 years old. Most states, including Texas, have not properly assessed high school buildings for indoor air quality, lighting, acoustical control, heating and air conditioning, electrical systems, or secondary science laboratories. It is also not clear if these conditions and the age of the building have an impact on student academic achievement in Texas. This study investigated three research questions: (a) the relationship between the building condition of public high schools in Texas and student achievement scores in science, mathematics, and English language arts as measured by the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS); (b) the relationship between the building age of public high schools in Texas and student achievement scores in science, mathematics, and English language arts as measured by TAKS; and (c) the relationship between building age and condition of public high schools in Texas and graduation rate? This quantitative study utilized an ex post facto methodology to examine the relationship between the high school facilities and standardized test scores. This study sampled high schools whose data were presented in the 2006 Texas Comptrollers report and compared to TAKS data. The instrument utilized was developed and tested by the Texas Comptroller’s Office. This study utilized an analysis of variance (ANOVA) and a regression model. Statistically significant findings showed a relationship between excellent condition of a school, as compared to schools in lesser condition, and student TAKS scores in science, math, and English language arts scores. Age of the school also had a significant relationship: Schools over 49 years old had a significant impact on student TAKS scores in science, math, and English language arts. Similar findings showed a negative correlation between schools over 49 years old and graduation rate. Schools in excellent condition had a positive correlation to student graduation rate. Determining the effect of inadequate high school facilities on student achievement can help inform the education and legislative communities of any correlations between the condition and age of a high school building and the academic achievement of the students in these buildings. Providing school facilities that are safe and provide quality learning conditions are issues that must be addressed in Texas.