A survey of acoustic conditions and noise levels in secondary school classrooms in England

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Shield, BM ; Conetta, R ; Dockrell, J ; Connolly, D ; Cox, TJ ; Mydlarz, CA
  • Publisher: Acoustical Society of America
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1121/1.4904528
  • Subject: built_and_human_env

An acoustic survey of secondary schools in England has been undertaken. Room acoustic parameters and background noise levels were measured in 185 unoccupied spaces in 13 schools to provide information on the typical acoustic environment of secondary schools. The unoccupied acoustic and noise data were correlated with various physical characteristics of the spaces. Room height and the amount of glazing were related to the unoccupied reverberation time and therefore need to be controlled to reduce reverberation to suitable levels for teaching and learning. Further analysis of the unoccupied data showed that the introduction of legislation relating to school acoustics in England and Wales in 2003 approximately doubled the number of school spaces complying with current standards. Noise levels were also measured during 274 lessons to examine typical levels generated during teaching activities in secondary schools and to investigate the influence of acoustic design on working noise levels in the classroom. Comparison of unoccupied and occupied data showed that unoccupied acoustic conditions affect the noise levels occurring during lessons. They were also related to the time spent in disruption to the lessons (e.g., students talking or shouting) and so may also have an impact upon student behavior in the classroom.
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