Studies have shown that temperatures above 26.7 degrees Celsius impair cognition and interfere with learning. Thus, in the future, climate change will affect the education system, especially in hot countries.
An international team of researchers analyzed data on school performance in 58 countries from 2000 to 2015 (in the United States, data were taken from 2009). The work took place in two stages. At the first, scientists examined the results of tests in mathematics, science and reading of the International Program for the Assessment of Educational Achievement of Students (PISA), which during the study was completed by more than 144 million schoolchildren around the world. On the second – the results of exams that students in the United States take annually as part of the annual national test in mathematics and English (ELA). The collected data were correlated with the average annual temperature. The findings are published in the journal Nature Human Behavior.
The analysis showed that a temperature of 26.7 degrees Celsius affects the cognitive ability, stamina and working memory of students. Each additional hot day reduced exam scores by 0.18 percent, while cooler days, in turn, had no effect on her. This was especially true for children from poor countries, where the average annual temperature is high, and schools, as a rule, do not have ventilation systems. In the United States, declines in academic performance were observed mainly among the poor.
Joshua Goodman, professor of education and economics at Boston University and co-author of the study, noted that it is important to monitor school conditions to improve the quality of education and well-being of students. “The benefits from this will only grow over time,” the scientist added.
The researchers believe that the increase in average annual temperature associated with future climate change will seriously affect the economic growth of countries and the quality of life of the population. In addition, these may not be all patterns and additional work is needed to identify new ones.
Scientists have previously found that high temperature affects the cognitive abilities of men and women in different ways. A team from the Berlin Sociological Center in Germany conducted a study with 500 students. Sociologists divided them into groups and invited them to the classroom, where they offered to solve several tests. The room temperature was preliminarily changed in the range from 17 to 32 degrees Celsius.
The results showed that women are significantly better at solving problems at high temperatures, and men – at low temperatures. The authors of the work suggested what this could be connected with: women are made more assiduous and able to work by heat, and men, on the contrary, by cold.