Did You Know: With Every 0,55°C Temperature Increase School Performance in US Drops by 1%

3 years ago



Did you know, there is a correlation between heat and academic performance? Although it’s not quite evident, there’s actually a study called “Heat and Learning” dedicated to the problem. The series of experiments have been conducted for over 13 years among 10 million US secondary school students.



Academic Heatwave: Key Findings


Academics at Harvard, UCLA, and Georgia State University have concluded that with every 0,55°C increase in temperature, there was a 1% decrease in academic performance! Between 2001-2014, the scientists tracked how well secondary school students performed in tests in a variety of climates and weather patterns across the US.


Another conclusion made by researchers is that colder days didn’t have any significant impact on academic achievement. However, as the temperatures rose above 21°C, the negative impact began to be palpable. As soon as the temperatures rose to 32°C, the reduction in learning enhanced, and even more - after the heat crossed the mark of 38°C.


Differences in School Performance by State


The research has shown significant regional differences between states. For instance, in the northern states (Massachusetts) students demonstrated high levels of achievement in international tests (OECD Pisa tests). These tests compare teenagers' ability in reading, maths and science. The southern states (Alabama and Mississippi) have shown low achievement levels, below the rates of EU countries.


The arguable assumptions made on the basis of the research imply there’s also an ethnic achievement gap depending on the temperatures distribution. Black and Hispanic students more concentrated in states with a hotter climate, so the academic performance is lower than average.  However, there’s clearly a controversy in this assumption. The study says: "We argue that heat effects account for up to 13% of the US racial achievement gap."


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