Psychology Professor Tracks Improvements at Local School

Psychology Professor Tracks Improvements at Local School

Dr. Victoria Kazmerski, Associate Professor of Psychology, has been tracking student feelings toward changes that were made to a local middle school. Her findings suggest that students who have a deeper connection with their school tend to do better academically.

When J. S. Wilson Middle School was closed from 2006 to 2008 for renovations, Dr. Victoria Kazmerski and her husband, Glenn McKnight, a teacher at the school, both thought the renovations were much needed. Kazmerski decided to gauge just how much the renovations affected students.

After four years of student surveys conducted by Dr. Kazmerski and her Penn State Behrend psychology students, their findings show that the improvements made to J. S. Wilson Middle School created a better learning environment for students.

“Students’ attitudes and feelings about J. S. Wilson exploded (after the renovations),” Kazmerski said. “They felt they could concentrate better, and our follow-up studies show higher levels of school pride.”

Kazmerski’s study resulted in two distinct findings: 1. students feel attached to the new school, and 2. the school’s environmentally friendly signs and embedded education aspects are sinking in.

Her findings are based on a series of three surveys conducting in 2008, 2010, and earlier this year.

You can read more about the study and findings at: