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British Journal of Educational Research, ISSN 2249-5983,Vol.: 2, Issue.: 1 (January-March)

Research Paper

Sixth Grade Pupils’ Health and Performance and Indoor Environmental Quality in Finnish School Buildings


Ulla Haverinen-Shaughnessy1*, Mari Turunen1, Jari Metsämuuronen2, Jari Palonen3, Tuula Putus4, Jarek Kurnitski3 and Richard Shaughnessy1

1National Institute for Health and Welfare, Environmental Health Department, P.O. Box 95, 70701 Kuopio, Finland.
2Finnish National Board of Education, Finland.
3Aalto University, School of Science and Technology, Espoo, Finland.
4Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Finland.


Aims: The aim was to study the health and academic performance of school children alongside the indoor environmental quality in Finnish elementary schools.
Study design: Cross-sectional study.
Place and duration of study: Data were collected between March 2007 and April 2008.
Methodology: As part of a national testing program, all sixth grade students in a random sample of 334 schools were tested in mathematics. Health questionnaires were administered to the same students. Data on school buildings were collected by questionnaires from school principals. Additional data were collected by on-site-inspections and measurements from a sub-sample of schools. The resulting database consists of multi-level information on elementary schools, student health and learning outcomes.
Results: After adjusting for student background variables, those who had never experienced high indoor temperatures in classrooms achieved 4.0% (95%CI 0.4-7.4) more correct answers than those who experienced it daily. Pupils who did not miss school days due to respiratory infections had 1.1% (95% CI 0.1-2.2%) more correct answers on the math achievement test, than those who did. Other significant associations were observed between math achievement and both headache and difficulties in concentration.
Conclusion: Math achievement was associated with missed school days due to respiratory infections, headache, difficulties in concentration, and indoor temperatures perceived as too high in the classroom. In the future, more detailed analyses are needed to assess the role of these health symptoms in relation to the effects of classroom IEQ on learning outcomes.

Keywords : Indoor air quality; learning and health outcomes; linear mixed models; math achievement; thermal comfort.

Full Article - PDF    Page 42-58

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