A 2002 study showed that about 90 percent of classrooms have noise levels that exceed the recommended standards. Classrooms with a lot of noise can cause students to miss up to one-third of the words that a teacher is speaking. The noise in classrooms adds an extra barrier for students (especially students with hearing loss) to understand lessons and do well on exams.
In reaction to this research, MNCDHH sponsored legislation that requires school boards to consult acoustic standards when creating designs for new classrooms. The legislation amended Minnesota Statutes, section 123B.71 (external link) and requires schools to consider using sound absorbing materials and building designs that minimize outside noise when renovating or building new classrooms. All new school construction must follow American National Standards Guidelines for New School Construction.
This law creates an improved learning environment for students enabling them to better understand their teachers and thus attain higher test scores.
Download the Classroom Acoustic Standards (PDF)