The Ceilings & Interior Systems Construction Association has released an extensive white paper, “Acoustics in Schools,” designed as a tool for architects, interior designers, and other design professionals who work to improve school environments for all users. According to the association, this is the first white paper to address this issue and is available at no charge.
Ceilings & Interior Systems Construction Association has released an
extensive white paper, “Acoustics in Schools,” designed as a tool for
architects, interior designers, and other design professionals who work to
improve school environments for all users. According to the association, this
is the first white paper to address this issue and is available at no charge.
In the educational environs, acoustics matter-classrooms in the United States
typically have speech intelligibility ratings of 75 percent or less, meaning
every fourth spoken word is not understood. Furthermore, children and
adolescents only understand about 180 words per minute that is about a third
less words per minute than adults-all the more reason that designers as well as
educators need to be attentive to the acoustical environs of educational
settings-including the reduction of reverberations.
The paper provides an introduction to the acoustical issues commonly confronted
on school projects. Literature on this topic, gathered by CISCA and highlighted
in the white paper, draws attention to important acoustical considerations in
the built environments of schools. The white paper also presents practical
design responses to these issues in language that is “practitioner-friendly.”
The white paper features a bibliography and a glossary of terms that both
provide further information.
“CISCA was compelled to develop this white paper because of the critical role
acoustics play in creating an environment that facilitates learning. CISCA has
a great deal to contribute to design professionals, as well as educators and we
are proud to publish this white paper as a valuable reference tool,” said CISCA
Executive Director Shirley Wodynski.
The white paper makes clear the following:
Classroom acoustics are an important, often neglected, aspect of the learning
environment. Up to 60 percent of classroom activities involve speech between
teachers and students or between students, indicating the importance of
environments that support clear communication.
Inappropriate levels of background noise, reverberation, and signal-to-noise
ratios can also inhibit reading and spelling ability, behavior, attention,
concentration, and academic performance. Furthermore, children who develop
language skills in poor acoustic environments may develop long-term speech
comprehension problems. Good classroom acoustics are a basic classroom need,
not an accessory, to give all students access to spoken instruction and
Acoustic problems persist in classrooms because of a lack of acoustics
education for architects and engineers, the prohibitive expenses of acoustic
refurbishment, and because adult listeners often do not consider the
limitations of children’s hearing abilities.
A free downloadable copy
of the white paper is available at www.cisca.org/files/public/Acoustics%20in%20Schools%20White%20Paper.pdf.