A quantitative study of learning in the school cafeteria using educational placemats

Keshia Lasha Gaines

Abstract

This study investigated if there was a difference in student achievement after participants were exposed to educational placemats in a school cafeteria for four days each (four different placemats). Also, the student's gender and ability grouping was considered in relation to achievement. This study included 49 ability grouped third grade students in an elementary school in south Mississippi. Students were pre-tested with researcher-made math instruments before the educational placemats were introduced and post-tested afterwards. For research purposes, some placemats served as a control and did not relate to the pre-test and post-test content. Statistical measurements of the differences were derived from a mixed model ANOVA in SPSS statistical software. Overall, two of the hypotheses proposed a significant interaction of condition (pre-test and post-test) by either gender or ability group. Neither of these interactions was significant for the math placemats. However, after being exposed to math placemats, post-test scores were significantly higher than the pre-test scores across genders and groups. In contrast, after exposure to the control placemats, post-test scores across genders and groups were lower than pre-test scores and did not differ significantly. As a result of these findings, the researcher recommends methods principals should consider that allow students to be exposed to educational content in the school cafeteria and other non-traditional learning areas of the school.