Better Air Quality Improves Student Test Scores

Looking to improve student test scores? Multiple studies show improving air quality and lowering indoor air pollution levels can have a significant impact on test scores and student cognitive ability.

In the past, we discussed air pollution reduces productivity on the job. Studies show this also extends to students in the classroom.

Better Air Quality in Schools Leads to Better Test Scores

There are a variety of studies showing a simple correlation: lower pollution levels boost student test scores. What evidence do we have and by how much are test scores improved?

Reducing PM2.5 in Schools Even a Little Can Make a Significant Impact

One study in Israel analyzed data from 400,000 students taking a particular exam to see how air pollution affected results. The results: One standard deviation increase in PM2.5 was associated with a decline in student exam scores by 3.9 percent of a standard deviation.

The study also found that the air pollution levels on the day of the exam had a significant impact, but not the air pollution levels in the days preceding.

Air pollution in schools lowers student exam scores
World of Labor using data from Israel Study

A study of 10,000 US school districts also found a similar correlation. The study found just a one-unit increase in PM2.5 (µg/m3) reducing students’ test scores by 0.02 standard deviations.

Air pollution in schools lowers student exam scores

A Stanford study confirmed the negative correlation between test scores and air pollution. A 10-microgram increase in PM2.5 led to drops in all subject scores.

Texas Schools Improved Air Quality, Test Scores Rose

Another study of Texas schools studied the impact of schools that made improvements to indoor air quality (such as mold remediation and improved ventilation). The results were improving school indoor air quality led to an increase in test scores and an increase in the probability of passing tests by 3-4%.

How Does Air Pollution Reduce Student Test Scores?

The serious health effects air pollution has on our health are well documented. Unfortunately, super small PM2.5 particles are so small they enter our bloodstreams and organs.

5 Things You Should Know about PM2.5 Air Pollution

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Although we don’t know all the reasons PM2.5 has such a huge impact on reducing cognitive ability, we do know PM2.5 creates a physical change in our brain. Studies show exposure to tiny PM2.5 pollution is associated with neurotoxic effects, including changes in brain volume and structure. The negative effects of this physical change are backed up in many studies, including those discussed above.

Fiber pathways of the human corpus callosum and brainstem
Fiber pathways of the human corpus callosum and brainstem that PM2.5 can affect

Simple Way to Improve Air Quality in Schools

At Smart Air, we have called out companies trying to rip schools off with expensive “high-tech” solutions to help schools improve air quality. Many of these solutions are not only expensive but also ineffective and dangerous.

Read More: Schools: Don’t Use This Air Purifier for COVID-19 Protection

Fortunately, there is one simple solution that stands the test the time as the gold standard of air filtration: HEPA air purifiers. The right HEPA filter will remove nearly all PM2.5 from your air.

Read More: How to Choose a Classroom Air Purifier [Step-by-Step Guide]

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Interested in Improved Cognitive Performance?

Check out Smart Air’s guide on choosing the best air purifier, or check out our low-cost air purifier shop.

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