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10 Linking Green Schools to Health and Productivity: Research Considerations
Pages 143-154

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From page 143...
... 10 Linking Green Schools to Health and Productivity: Research Considerations O ne of this committee's tasks was to identify avenues of research that represent potentially valuable opportunities to leverage existing knowledge into a better understanding of the relationships between green building technologies in schools and the health and performance of students and teachers. In Chapter 1, the committee recommended that Future green school guidelines should place greater emphasis on build ing systems, their interrelationships, and overall performance.
From page 144...
... The necessary collaboration between architecture, engineering, science, medicine and social science expertise is a challenge but multidisciplinary research is required to fully study the relationships of indoor environmental quality to human health and performance outcomes. In the following sections, the committee discusses methodologies that could potentially be used for future interdisciplinary research and identifies issues that should be addressed if the evidence base for the effects of green schools on students' and teachers' health, student learning, and teacher productivity is to be improved.
From page 145...
...  LINKING GREEN SCHOOLS TO HEALTH AND PRODUCTIVITY RESEARCH METHODOLOGIES Differing methodologies and evaluation approaches generally apply to the types of outcomes being evaluated: Evaluations of health outcomes for teachers and students require a different model specification than an evaluation of student-level educational outcomes. As detailed in Chapter 2, outcomes of educational interventions are notoriously difficult to evaluate.
From page 146...
...  GREEN SCHOOLS: ATTRIBUTES FOR HEALTH AND LEARNING To evaluate the effects of green schools on educational performance, a variable indicating student attendance in a green school should be incorporated into the school inputs vector (Sj)
From page 147...
...  LINKING GREEN SCHOOLS TO HEALTH AND PRODUCTIVITY designs. For a study on the effects of green schools, a time series of student performance before and after the introduction of a new green school could be examined.
From page 148...
... First, better lighting and reduction of noise or other building features and characteristics may improve task performance by improving reception of the test stimuli or increasing a student's ability to concentrate on the tasks. Second, longer term improvements in indoor environmental conditions could result in greater learning and perhaps greater retention of course content.
From page 149...
... Student attendance has the potential for reverse causality with respect to student achievement; that is, poor performance may cause absences rather than better attendance yielding higher achievement. Therefore, attendance should be used as an outcome that is intrinsically important, not as a surrogate for student health.
From page 150...
... The studies cited as evidence in this report principally address links between exposures and health or student performance. Missing are studies that empirically link green building designs with performance and studies linking building performance changes of the magnitude that can be associated with green schools to learning and health.
From page 151...
... Given the cost of new school construction and the complications of obtaining district cooperation to assign students to new schools at random, randomized experiments are unlikely to be both feasible and sufficiently powerful to detect moderate-sized effects on student learning or health. The power issue may motivate use of the econometric approach or more piecemeal studies of the performance features that are likely to be associated with green schools and the building performance outcomes of green schools.
From page 152...
... 2. Studies that correlate specific building performance characteristics of the type expected from green school designs with learning and health outcomes across schools.
From page 153...
...  LINKING GREEN SCHOOLS TO HEALTH AND PRODUCTIVITY Finding 10d: Large-scale evaluations using randomized experiments and econometric or regression-based techniques should be conducted if they are justified from the results of smaller and less expensive studies, such as those outlined in Finding 10c. Finally, it is possible that improvements to the large-scale data sets that contain student achievement data will allow for relatively low cost studies of the effects of the school building environment on student achievement, which the committee considers to be an important side benefit.


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