Research Confirms Air Quality Affects Student Test Performance –
The Nebraska research team confirms that poor air quality affects school performance.
Josephine Lau of Nebraska and her colleagues decided to investigate whether certain measurements of air quality and ventilation in classrooms affect student performance. The team studied these factors over a two-year period, analyzing survey data from 216 classrooms from 39 Midwestern schools. The researchers found that there was, in fact, a link between the type of ventilation system installed and students’ performance in math and end-of-year reading. testing.
Air quality and performance are a long-standing concern, and previous studies have suggested that each year “more than 50 million K-12 students spend more than 1,000 hours in American classrooms “. A 2004 article by Glen Earthman, a school facilities planner and former director of the Center for Educational Resources Information (ERIC), collated the results of empirical studies from the 1970s through the early 2000s to rank “31 criteria according to their effect on the construction of schools. adequacy. “Dr Earthman found” significant evidence that indoor air quality is one of the most important factors in student learning. “
In other study, a survey of Chicago teachers found that “25% said breathing problems, including asthma, are the most common problems with the quality of school facilities. Another 16% reported problems that are often caused by poor indoor air quality (IAQ), such as sinus infections. This negative impact on health is considerable.
Other research in North Carolina examining the relationship between performance outcomes and absenteeism due to poor air quality suggested that “22% of absences in a study of North Carolina schools were caused by by respiratory diseases such as asthma and allergies. In a review of 11 studies, 7 of them found an inverse correlation between the absence rate and school performance. That is, a student’s performance is generally poorer as the student’s absence rate increases.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has indicated that construction issues impact performance results. The agency suggests, “These can trigger a host of health problems, including asthma and allergies, which increase absenteeism and reduce academic performance. Research links key environmental factors to health outcomes and the ability of students to perform. Improvements in the quality of the school environment can improve school performance, as well as the productivity and retention of teachers and staff. “
The present study analyzed the effects of ventilating a room in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and the team speculated that concentration problems and illness-related absences may have affected the results. The team found, even controlling for other variables, that students in classrooms with a single-zone unit attached to an exterior wall generally performed worse in math and reading than schools with centralized systems. connected to several classrooms. Single-zone units circulate indoor air while multi-zone systems draw in outdoor air.
The multizone systems have been shown to provide more outside air rather than just the air circulated inside. They remove larger proportions of particles and run quieter than single zone units. The team found that faster ventilation, in particular, corresponded to higher reading scores and stressed that school districts should consider the results of air quality research when selecting these systems to maintain high performance results and minimize student and staff absenteeism.