The relationship between classroom temperature and children's performance in school

Pawel Wargocki*, Jose Ali Porras-Salazar, Sergio Contreras-Espinoza

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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    The present paper reports a meta-analysis of published evidence on the effects of temperature in school classrooms on children's performance in school. The data from 18 studies were used to construct a relationship between thermal conditions in classrooms and children's performance in school. Psychological tests measuring cognitive abilities and skills, school tasks including mathematical and language-based tasks, rating schemes, and tests used to assess progress in learning including end-of-year grades and the examination results were considered as indicators of children's performance Due to the lack of complete measurements, thermal conditions were characterized by measured classroom temperatures. To create the relationship, the fractional change in performance of psychological tests and school tasks was regressed against the average temperature at which the change was recorded; all published data were used regardless of whether the change in learning outcome changed significantly with temperature. For other learning outcomes, no relationship was created because the data were insufficient. The relationship derived in the analysis shows that the performance of psychological tests and school tasks can be expected to increase on average by 20% if classroom temperatures are lowered from 30 °C to 20 °C and that the temperature for optimal performance is lower than 22 °C. The relationship is valid only for temperate climates. It requires verification for other climates and extensions to temperatures lower than 20 °C and higher than 30 °C.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBuilding and Environment
    Pages (from-to)197-204
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


    • Children
    • Cognitive performance
    • Elementary schools
    • Learning
    • Temperature
    • Thermal environment


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