Post Occupancy Evaluation, Phase 1: Free State High School Learning Commons

Study conducted by Dr. Michael Ralph and Brittany Coudriet, with support from Marisa Hegeman and Free State High School. November 15, 2022

Libraries represent a key space in schools where students can collaborate and learn outside of scheduled classrooms. Yet, despite the library’s importance in supporting student learning, little empirical research has been done to understand the connection between library usage and student academic success. As part of our Post Occupancy Evaluation of the Free State High School Learning Commons renovation for Lawrence USD 497, we collected student library usage data through the school’s innovative approach to scheduling (Flexmod) to build a Rasch model of student library engagement. Using the output of this model, we conducted a multiple linear regression showing student library engagement significantly predicts fewer course failures and that the library engagement coefficient remains significant even after controlling for past student performance. These results show how efforts to boost library usage can meaningfully contribute to faculty goals related to classroom success.

Project Overview

The Free State High School Learning Commons renovation project touched many parts of the school. Moving the library to the heart of the school was a primary goal, to increase utilization across school activities and with more students.

The Results

Based on an analysis of student library attendance and course performance during the fall of 2021, library engagement contributed to fewer student failures and higher overall student achievement. These findings remained after controlling for 2019 student performance.

Key Finding: Library utilization increased

Free State library utilization increased following the completion of the renovation. Student usage is up, as measured by both attendance and book circulation. Space observations and facility interviews agree, with notes indicating the variety of spaces are consistently being utilized throughout the day.

Key Finding: Library utilization promotes student success

We built a statistical model for student library usage. Students with higher scores in this model earned significantly fewer F’s and more A’s than students with lower engagement scores. These predictions remained, even after controlling for past student performance.

Related Posts

This was Phase 1 of the Post Occupancy Evaluation for the Free State High School Learning Commons. Read more in this series by clicking below. If you’re interested in an impact study or Post Occupancy Evaluation for your project, please contact [email protected].

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