Classroom Report Card

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About This Article

This article describes one measurement tool used to evaluate WSU learning spaces. The Classroom Report Card is an online survey used by Facilities Services and Teaching, Learning, and Technology Services (TLT) to evaluate 16 dimensions of the classroom environment.

Basic Classroom Features

The first step in assessing WSU learning spaces involved building a database of the basic features of our 162 centrally-assignable classrooms. Teaching, Learning, and Technology Services (TLT) worked with key members of Facilities Services and the Registrar's Office to gather this information. The database was completed in spring 2009. It includes such features as the type of classroom, room capacity, seating type, type of network access, and the type of instructional tools in the room. The database is open to all: WSU Rooms A-Z.

Classroom Report Card

The second step involved measuring the quality of classroom conditions. A measurement tool called the Classroom Report Card was developed. The first draft was completed in November, 2011 by TLT. It was reviewed and revised by the CIO, CFO, and the Director of ITS Infrastructure Services and approved for use during the 2011-2012 semester break.

Methodology

The Classroom Report Card is an online survey creating in Qualtrics and used jointly by Facilities Services and TLT staff to assess the general physical and environmental conditions of campus classrooms. Two versions, one for Facilities Services and one for TLT, are used. Equipped with a laptop, an individual staff member visits a classroom to complete the assessment. Multiple raters can visit a single classroom and repeated assessments of the same room are saved separately for later reliability analysis.

Conditions

The Classroom Report Card focuses on the following 16 physical and environmental conditions:

  • Ambient environment: light, noise, HVAC (temperature)
  • Electrical, networking (wired and wireless), and phone services
  • Room surfaces: Floor, walls, and ceiling
  • Student and instructor furniture
  • Installed instructional tools: marking surfaces, projection, audio, instructor controls

Condition Grades

A 5-point scale, with values represented by familiar “grades” of A, B, C, D, or F, is used. Each grade value is explained on the survey. For example, grades for ceilings, walls, and floors are described as follows:

  • A (far exceeds) = In exceptional condition, recently remodeled, distinctive
  • B (exceeds) = In good condition, no immediate need for repair or update
  • C (adequate) = In fair condition, minor damage, spot cleaning or repair needed, moderately outdated
  • D (inadequate) = In poor condition, major damage, major repair or refinishing required, very outdated
  • F (unusable) = In unacceptable/unsafe condition, room should not be used until addressed

Overall Grade

Currently, the overall classroom grade is the unweighted average of the 16 condition grades. A formula for weighting the individual conditions to generate a more valid overall grade is forthcoming.

Comprehensive Approach to Facilities Assessment

The Classroom Report Card does not replace other methods of assessing building systems (e.g., HVAC) and is intended to complement data gathered through other means, including from students and faculty, to help:

  • Identify classrooms with potentially deficient physical or environmental conditions
  • Maintain “dashboard” awareness of the current state of all campus classrooms
  • Facilitate planning and responsiveness to changes in instructional goals and strategies

A Work in Progress

Following this first trial run of the Classroom Report Card during the semester break, ITS and Facilities Services are working together to improve the process by:

  • Reassessing several room conditions (e.g., HVAC) with greater input from Facilities Services
  • Reassessing wireless networking in all classrooms using heat maps provided by ITS Infrastructure Services
  • Assessing the reliability of the rating system and adjusting the instrument accordingly
  • Developing a usable “dashboard” of the results that can be used by stakeholders
  • Combining the Classroom Report Card data, the WSU Classroom Database information, and self-help documentation for faculty and students.