Clean air in the classroom dramatically improves test scores

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Running an air purifier in the classroom improves performance in the same way that cutting class size by 30% does. That’s according to the latest findings from Michael Gilraine at the Annenberg Institute, Brown University

Cleaning up the air after the Aliso Canyon gas leak

In January 2016, a number of air purifiers were installed in classrooms, close to the site of the Aliso Canyon gas leak in California. The aim was to clean up the air after the disaster. However, by the time the air purifiers arrived at the schools, air quality tests revealed the extra pollution from the gas leak had already disappeared and was making its way skyward.

A child’s performance improves when the air is clean

Despite this, the air purifiers were installed, with the goal of cleaning up the everyday pollutants found in schools. And this is where it gets interesting. Within just a few months, children’s test results in Math and English improved significantly. By simply installing an air purifier in each classroom, children’s performance improved in the same way that it would if class sizes were reduced by a third.

This is just the start

No expensive remodelling, no hiring extra teachers. All it took was running an air purifier for 4 months. Imagine the possibilities if children have access to clean air for the entire school year.

Reducing the socio-economic gap

And its schools in deprived areas that have the most to gain. Air quality in poor neighborhoods is generally much worse than it is in affluent areas. Lack of green spaces, poor quality housing and close proximity to busy highways, means children from deprived backgrounds breathe the dirtiest air. By improving the quality of air for these children, we can improve test scores and help to reduce the socio-economic gap.

We’re on a mission to clean up classrooms

Here at Austin, we’ve been on a mission to keep pollutants out of the classroom for some time. Working with the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, the East Boston Social Centers, AIRInc and Blue Cross Shield, Austin Air has installed a number of air cleaners in classrooms and social centers across the East Boston area. You can read more about our partnership here.

And if you’d like to read more about the everyday pollutants floating around in your child’s classroom and what you can do to help prevent them, take a look at our recent blog post Is the classroom making your child sick?

After sleep, children spend more time in a classroom than they do anywhere else. All children deserve a clean, safe space where they can work and perform to their very best. Here at Austin Air, we’re committed to making that happen.