Hotter daytimes are thwarting students’ academic progress and exacerbating long-standing educational inequities for people of color, according to researchers who examined the issue in more than 50 countries.
The report, published yesterday in the journal Nature Human Behavior, used two major datasets to track the relationship between students’ exposure to soaring temperatures and their learning outcomes. The data revealed that additional days above 80 degrees Fahrenheit inhibit students’ performance on standardized tests that are meant to measure educational achievement and cognitive ability.
“Temperature has been shown to affect working memory, stamina and cognitive performance, and to lead individuals to reduce time spent engaging in labour activities,” the researchers wrote. “This suggests that, in addition to the channels above, heat may directly affect students’ capacity to learn or teachers’ ability and willingness to teach.”
Co-author Joshua Goodman, a professor of education and economics at Boston University, said the findings have