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ACEF Journal Vol 3 Issue 1 December 2012

Yan Methodology A Survey of Statewide Rural School Districts Building Conditions Survey instrument development. The School Building Condition Questionnaire was developed through three stages: (a) survey item pool development, (b) content validity check, and (c) pilot test of survey items. To develop a survey item pool, a literature review was conducted to identify critical issues and information related to building facilities and conditions in schools located in rural areas. This information was then aligned with the project’s goals and objectives and incorporated into preliminary survey items based on each objective. To check the content validity of the preliminary instrument, five school superintendents and principals who have rich experiences in school facility management were invited to make comments on the content and clarity of the survey. In order to assess the feasibility of the survey instrument, a pilot study was conducted using the survey instrument in Northwestern Pennsylvania at Intermediate Unit IV. Invitations to participate were sent to 14 rural school districts in the Intermediate Unit. Follow up phone calls, as well as a focus group discussion meeting with dinner provided, enabled me to receive input from five different districts, with a variety of personnel represented. Various representatives including administrators and maintenance personnel provided valuable input regarding the form and format of the instrument, as well as the makeup of the questions. Acting on feedback from the pilot test, two types of survey items were rewritten: one related to content clarity and the other related to response variability. For the first type of revision, about 10 of the survey items were subsequently rewritten to eliminate unclear and vague language. Eight survey items were rewritten to avoid double-barreled items. For the second type of revision, five “weak’ items were found to yield little or no variability in responses. These items were rewritten so that each became sensitive to differences among respondents’ opinions. Survey instrument. The final version of the survey instrument was divided into two sections: (a) Characteristics of Rural School Districts, and (b) Inventory of Existing School Building Conditions. The “Characteristics of School District” section asked information on the characteristics of individual buildings in rural school districts: (a) names and number of buildings, (b) location of buildings, (c) grade levels included in each building, and (d) student enrollment in each building. The “Inventory of Existing Conditions” section obtained information on the physical condition and capacities of each individual building within the school district. The following were addressed: Building age. Many rural schools have been renovated in the years since they were built. For this reason, the year of the most recent renovation is often a better basis of a school’s age than the year of original construction. Therefore, the years of major renovation projects were also collected. Physical condition. The physical condition of school buildings was rated for each of the following categories: (a) environmental factors, (b) major building features, (c) building safety, (d) minor building features, (e) building accessibility, and (f) energy efficiency of building. 21 Vol. 3, No. 1, 2012


ACEF Journal Vol 3 Issue 1 December 2012
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