Services Overview


                                classroom qtle assessment:

                             physical hindrance abatement

Learning Environment Roster (LER) - a Teachers Perspective

Building on the data gathered from the PASS, the LER moves the depth of the physical hindrance data down to the individual room level.  This more detailed level of data provides a reliable basis for determining the specific facility renewal measures needed to remove or reduce the impact of physical hindrances.  (MORE).

Integrating Hindrance Abatement into the Facility Renewal Plan

A well-planned hindrance abatement program is an essential step in advancing the physical quality of the teaching and learning environment.  However, since it is not suitable as a stand-alone driver to define the facility renewal plan, it will need to be used as an additional filter through which facility renewal investment options are screened.  The level of detail can be applied on a room-by-room basis, or can be applied to areas of the building as determined by the planning team.  (MORE)

Developing and Using Hindrance Benchmarks

The hindrance data gathered at the classroom level can also be used to establish specific hindrance tolerance benchmarks 

for each hindrance type.  

These hindrance benchmarks are an

important reference for determining 

the specific areas of the school 

building that require hindrance 

abatement investment for

either an individual classroom, 

or a selected area of a school 

building.  (MORE) 

Continuous Improvement

The basic physics of building time-related deterioration are unavoidable - everyday the building deteriorates.  As a result, facility renewal is never a one-time project, but a process of continuous improvement.  This process is typically driven by the creation and updating of a 3-5 year capital plan.  When funding is tight, the stewards of school facilities often misjudged the consequences of diverting badly needed facility renewal capital to other priorities.  However, the evidence is clear, the quality of the physical learning environment has a consequential affect on student outcomes.  When funding delays in maintaining the physical quality of the teaching and learning environment can lead to a failure in the duty-of-care for which these stewards are accountable.

The only practical way to avoid this failure is to regularly identify and mitigate the physical hindrances in the teaching and learning environment - a process that needs to treated with the same investment importance as all other educational investments

Maintaining the physical quality of the teaching and learning environment is essential to meeting the educational mission.   (MORE)

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                          School building qtle assessment and 

                          facility renewal PRIORITIZATION process

Principals' Assessment of Schools Survey (PASS)

The PASS provides a building level of assessment that allows for tactical comparison of the intensity of physical between school buildings within the property portfolio.  (MORE)

PASS Individual School Building Reports

In addition to providing useful Board-wide feedback the PASS report also provides hindrance maps for each school building, as well as hindrance maps for entire property portfolio.  (MORE)

Developing a Multi-Year Strategy

The PASS report data can be used to develop a fully integrated blueprint for a multi-year facility renewal strategy.  This strategy can now be focused on determining the best way to the deployment of capital to deal with the priorities in facility renewal from a property management perspective, and the actions needed to address physical hindrances in the teaching and learning environment.  (MORE)


                          boosting school climate:

                          A qtle LOW-COST, NO-COST PROCESS

Occupant-based Physical Hindrances

In collecting physical hindrance information using the PASS and LER assessments, some of the hindrances will be related directly to the occupants of the building.  This might include custodial factors, safety practices, program scheduling, and the classroom proximity and timing of more acoustically intense activities (music, shop, etc.). Including these types of physical hindrances into the abatement strategy can make a meaningful impact on the teaching and learning environment.   In addition, these types of hindrances can often be better addressed through a QTLE Low-Cost/No-Cost Campaign in which building occupants work together to develop strategies that abate these physical hindrances.  (MORE)

Boosting School Climate

It is widely recognized that the school climate - often defined as the feel and atmosphere of the school - can have a significant impact on student outcomes.  Research also shows that the physical teaching and learning environment is an important component of the school climate.  As a result, the QTLE Network offers tools and services to help create, and drive, a QTLE No-Cost/Low-Cost campaign intended to boost school climate by engaging building occupants in a shared experience.  

These campaigns can included a customized awards and recognition program that will help increase visibility and active participation. (MORE) 

Curriculum Opportunities

There is a consistent thread that connects the basic principals of the physical quality of the teaching and learning environment in school facilities, the physical quality of the students home study environment, and the physical quality of the working environment for teachers.  (MORE)


                                                         THE BASIS FOR MEANINGFUL MEASUREMENT


                                                                      As shown by a preponderance of research, the quality of physical teaching 

                                                                      and learning environment can have a significant impact on both student 

                                                                      outcomes and school climate.  However, it is not practical to try and manage 

                                                                      this impact without having a meaningful way of measuring its dimensions.

                                                                      In response to this essential need, the QTLE Network Inc. has developed, 

                                                                      and fully tested, a set of tools and consulting services that have a 

                                                                      demonstrated capability to produce reliable and consistent value. 

                                                                      The first numeric index is called the Principals' Assessment of Schools Survey

                                                                      (PASS) and scales two essential factors.  The first factor measures the 

                                                                      intensity of the physical hindrances in the school building, and is called the 

                                                                      School Learning Index (SLI).  Since student academic outcomes are affected 

                                                                      by a long list of variables, it is not cost-effective to isolate the specific impact 

                                                                      of the physical environment.  However, a good alternative does exist for 

                                                                      assessing aspects of the school climate, or the quality of the teaching and 

learning environment (QTLE) as defined by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).  Given the strong 

correlation between the school climate and student outcomes, this QTLE assessment is a proxy for student outcomes.

These numeric index results can then be plotted on a two-dimensional scatter graph that positions individual school buildings, 

as shown on the graph to the right.  Lower SLI results indicate that the school building has a higher intensity of physical 

hindrances.  Lower QTLE results indicate that the school environment has a higher intensity of school climate issues.  

This unique measurement approach has now been tested and refined on 600 Canadian schools, producing consistent and meaningful results.  More information on the PASS process and additional measurement tools are contained School Building QTLE Assessment and Facility Renewal Prioritization section below.

School Learning Index.pdf



The Status Quo

Optimizing student outcomes is a fundamental element in the mission of virtually every educational enterprise.  In fact, most educational institutions deploy ninety percent of their annual budget toward achieving that mission-critical element.  In one form or another, the performance of the education team is measured against some dimension of student outcomes: grade point averages, graduation rates, post-secondary enrollment, student motivation and commitment, and so on.  For dedicated educators, it is this duty-of-care that motivates their actions, and defines their career.  Optimizing student outcomes is therefore central to their role in the organization.

Yet, despite the critical importance of this mission, there remain three distinct groups of actors to whom most educational institutions don’t assign this same duty-of-care.

The first group is the ‘business operations team.’  The performance of this group is typically measured by 'key results' dimensions such as managing funding and costs against budgets, managing cash flow, return on investment, or compliance to provincial policies and regulations.  Optimizing student outcomes is not central to their role in the organization, and is not an outcome by which their performance is measured.

The second group is the ‘facilities team.’  For this group the 'key results' areas that get tracked typically relate to health and safety, cleanliness, operations and maintenance costs, capital budget performance, facility conditions and availability, or managing teacher and principal expectations.  Optimizing student outcomes is not central to their role in the organization, and is not an outcome against which their performance is measured.

The third group is the ‘Board.’  For the most part, Board members are seen as the stewards of public good, politically savvy, the voice of the community, overseers of the organization.  Despite their ‘overseer’ function, optimizing student outcomes is not central to their role in the organization, and is not an outcome against which their individual performance is measured.

For the most part, provincial government bureaucrats and their staff fall into one, or more, of these three groups.

The Opportunity

Serious international research has consistently concluded that the quality of the physical teaching and learning environment can impact student performance in a significant manner – research results vary from nine to sixteen percent of students’ academic progress.  Managing this impact by strategically deploying facility renewal capital could easily become one of the most important contributions to student outcomes in the foreseeable future.  This is particularly true, given the rapidly deteriorating condition of schools, the majority of which are now more than fifty years old!

The Conundrum

Ironically, the three groups that are least accountable for student outcomes, have the highest control over how facility renewal capital gets deployed.  This conundrum is further exacerbated by a prevailing attitude among these three groups which discourages a ‘serious’ consultation process with educators about the state of the physical teaching and learning environment.  Addressing this structural weakness in the deployment of facility renewal capital must become an imperative action for increasing the value of educational investment. 



                        concept introduction:

                        organizational alignment

Informational Webinar Sessions

The QTLE Network offers a series of open access information Webinar sessions that start from the basic concept foundation and advance through practical implementation. Individual closed sessions can also be arranged on an organizational basis for a more detailed exploration.  (SCHEDULE)

Executive Workshop Sessions

The QTLE Network also offers a series of half-day workshop sessions that are specifically developed for the education team, the operations team, the facilities team, and the Board.  Details available on request.  (MORE)

Organizational Alignment

Change management and organizational alignments consulting services are available to help facilitate the development and production execution of strategic objectives related to the physical quality of the teaching and learning environment.  (MORE)



                                          AssessING THE TOTAL COST OF

                                          school facilitY OWNERSHIP

Energy Efficiency and the Physical Environment

Research consistently shows that the four factors that have the highest priority impact on the physical quality of the teaching and learning environment are:

1.  temperature control

2.  lighting

3.  ventilation

4.  acoustics

It happens that these identical factors are also among the highest priority considerations for managing energy efficiency and GHG emissions.

This essentially means that it is NOT possible to make changes in one area without having it impact - intentionally or not - in the other area.  In other words, virtually every physical change made to manage energy efficiency will have an impact on the physical quality of the teaching and learning environment.  Likewise, most changes made to improve the physical quality of the teaching and learning environment will have an impact on energy efficiency.  (MORE)

Optimal results can only be achieved by making changes in these areas in coordinated unison with the mission.

Public Money and Public Good

Unlike the private sector where investment performance is typically measured by factors such as Return on Invest (ROI) and Net Present Value (NPV), public capital invested in school facilities needs to be measured by factors that define the public good achieved by this capital.  Unfortunately, this is seldom done, and most provincial government departments and educational institutions rely far too much on ROI and NPV to justify investment without a clear understanding of the true cost of ownership.

Yet students, parents, and educators - for whom these institutions exist - are far more interested in the educational outcomes of these investments.  It is these educational outcomes and their related economic contributions that need to become the focus of public investment in education. 

While ROI and NPV are definitely important considerations, by themselves, they are not sufficient to justify public investments that impact the physical quality of the teaching and learning environment, and related mission-driven student outcomes.  (MORE)

Measuring Total Impact Investment

To help facilitate a shift toward assessing the Total Impact 

Investment, the QTLE Network has partnered with 

Sustainable Renewal Planning Inc. to make available the 

SEEFAR assessment tools and practices.  These tools and 

practices are designed specifically to capture the total impact (public good) of public capital investments, including those made in education facilities.  (MORE)

Capital Planning Support

In addition to using the SEEFAR assessment to better understand the true cost of facility ownership, the QTLE Network also works with the Sustainable Renewal Planning Inc. to support the capital planning processes.  This service includes working with the facility department to help evaluate the facility condition index (FCI) or equivalent, integrate the needs that result from this assessment with code compliance requirements, and then apply the educators assessment of hindrances in the teaching and learning environment to optimize alignment of deployed capital with the mission.  (MORE)


Managing the Physical Quality of the Teaching and Learning Enironment









     Technical Assistance (TA) Process - Educational Facilties Clearinghouse

The development of safe, high-quality education facilities is a critical element of success in meeting the social and academic needs of students at all levels, pre-K through higher education.  The Education Facilities Clearinghouse (EFC) is dedicated to improving the places where students learn.  The EFC makes cutting-edge educational facilities research and resources available 24/7 at   The website library provides school leaders and decision makers with up-to-date information and tools to implement effective practices on a variety of facility-related topics.  The EFC exists to serve public schools and can provide technical assistance and training.  Email your questions to