School Greenness and Student‐Level Academic Performance: Evidence From the Global South

2023  Journal Article

School Greenness and Student‐Level Academic Performance: Evidence From the Global South

Pub TLDR

This study found that increased green space in schools in Santiago, Chile was associated with higher academic performance and greater likelihood of meeting learning standards for students in public schools. No significant associations were found for students in private schools. These results suggest that greenness in the school environment may help reduce educational and environmental inequalities in urban areas.

DOI: 10.1029/2023gh000830    PubMed ID: 37538511
 

College of Health researcher(s)

OSU Profile

Highlights

  • The study examines the relationship between school greenness and student academic performance in Santiago, Chile.
  • The study includes 281,695 fourth-grade students from 1,498 public, charter, and private schools in Santiago city between 2014 and 2018.
  • The results show that higher school greenness is associated with improved academic outcomes in mathematics and reading, as well as higher odds of attaining learning standards.
  • The association between school greenness and academic performance is stronger for students attending public schools compared to private schools.

Abstract

Greenspace in schools might enhance students' academic performance. However, the literature—dominated by ecological studies at the school level in countries from the Northern Hemisphere—presents mixed evidence of a beneficial association. We evaluated the association between school greenness and student-level academic performance in Santiago, Chile, a capital city of the Global South. This cross-sectional study included 281,695 fourth-grade students attending 1,498 public, charter, and private schools in Santiago city between 2014 and 2018. Student-level academic performance was assessed using standardized test scores and indicators of attainment of learning standards in mathematics and reading. School greenness was estimated using Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). Linear and generalized linear mixed-effects models were fit to evaluate associations, adjusting for individual- and school-level sociodemographic factors. Analyses were stratified by school type. In fully adjusted models, a 0.1 increase in school greenness was associated with higher test scores in mathematics (36.9 points, 95% CI: 2.49; 4.88) and in reading (1.84 points, 95% CI: 0.73; 2.95); as well as with higher odds of attaining learning standards in mathematics (OR: 1.20, 95% CI: 1.12; 1.28) and reading (OR: 1.07, 95% CI: 1.02; 1.13). Stratified analysis showed differences by school type, with associations of greater magnitude and strength for students attending public schools. No significant associations were detected for students in private schools. Higher school greenness was associated with improved individual-level academic outcomes among elementary-aged students in a capital city in South America. Our results highlight the potential of greenness in the school environment to moderate educational and environmental inequalities in urban areas.

Jiménez, R.B., Bozigar, M., Janulewicz, P.A., Lane, K.J., Hutyra, L.R., Fabian, M.P.(2023)School Greenness and Student‐Level Academic Performance: Evidence From the Global SouthGeoHealth7(8)