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Green Surroundings Linked to Higher Student Test Scores

by Marius Hardut last modified Dec 22, 2014 07:00 PM
This study investigated the association between the ‘‘greenness’’ of the area surrounding a Massachusetts public elementary school and the academic achievement of the school’s student body based on standardized tests with an ecological setting.


This study used the public school performance database obtained from MCAS to examine the association between
surrounding greenness and academic performance. MCAS provides a long-term and well-developed school/school district level database that includes information of average standardized test scores and socio-economic variables from public schools across Massachusetts. We obtained the location coordinates for the schools from the official GIS database and the greenness area around the schools was defined according to various circular buffer distances from the center of the school.

Results from the model estimates of GLMMs and the sensitivity analyses were that surrounding greenness in March showed a significant (p,0.01) association with school-based academic achievement in both English and Math regardless of which buffer distance was considered. Moreover, the parameter estimate of NDVI was increasing as a larger buffer was adopted. Since students of public schools are usually assigned to schools near their homes, a buffer distance such as 2000-m may more accurately reflect the full exposure to greenness that is part of the school neighborhood where children likely spend their time when not in school. The logical conclusion is that greater estimates in the association between greenness and performance with increased size of the buffering zones in the NDVI measures comes from a more complete capture of the exposure to greenness.


The research data can be found here

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