Ventilation rates in schools and pupil’s performance using computerized assessment tests
Bakó-Biró, Z., Kochhar, N., Clements-Croome, D.J., Awbi, H.B. and Williams, M. (2008) Ventilation rates in schools and pupil’s performance using computerized assessment tests. Building and Environment, 43 (4). pp. 362-367. ISSN 0360-1323
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2006.03.018
Research shows that poor indoor air quality (IAQ) in school buildings can cause a reduction in the students’ performance assessed by short-term computer-based tests; whereas good air quality in classrooms can enhance children's concentration and also teachers’ productivity. Investigation of air quality in classrooms helps us to characterise pollutant levels and implement corrective measures. Outdoor pollution, ventilation equipment, furnishings, and human activities affect IAQ. In school classrooms, the occupancy density is high (1.8–2.4 m2/person) compared to offices (10 m2/person). Ventilation systems expend energy and there is a trend to save energy by reducing ventilation rates. We need to establish the minimum acceptable level of fresh air required for the health of the occupants. This paper describes a project, which will aim to investigate the effect of IAQ and ventilation rates on pupils’ performance and health using psychological tests. The aim is to recommend suitable ventilation rates for classrooms and examine the suitability of the air quality guidelines for classrooms. The air quality, ventilation rates and pupils’ performance in classrooms will be evaluated in parallel measurements. In addition, Visual Analogue Scales will be used to assess subjective perception of the classroom environment and SBS symptoms. Pupil performance will be measured with Computerised Assessment Tests (CAT), and Pen and Paper Performance Tasks while physical parameters of the classroom environment will be recorded using an advanced data logging system. A total number of 20 primary schools in the Reading area are expected to participate in the present investigation, and the pupils participating in this study will be within the age group of 9–11 years. On completion of the project, based on the overall data recommendations for suitable ventilation rates for schools will be formulated.