Research corner

6th February 2015 at 00:00

`Linking student performance in Massachusetts elementary schools with the "greenness" of school surroundings using remote sensing' by Wu, C, McNeely, E, Cedeo-Laurent, J G et al

Plos One, October 2014

As this study points out, past research has shown that exposure to "greener" surroundings offers a range of physical and mental health benefits.

However, the study breaks new ground in examining the potential of a direct link between a green environment and academic performance. The research examines the results of 3rd-grade students (aged 8-9) at 905 public elementary schools in Massachusetts between 2006 and 2012. The test data was taken from the standardised Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, or MCAS.

The greenness of the area surrounding the schools was analysed using Nasa satellite images from different times of the year, and academics cross-referenced students' performances with the greenness of each school.

To ensure the accuracy of the results, researchers took into account socio-economic factors that could affect performance, such as race, gender and parent income. Even after making adjustments for these factors, however, there was a strong association between the academic achievement of a school and the greenness of the surrounding area during exam time.

What's more, students who had more exposure to greenness throughout the year also performed better, with most estimates showing "statistically significant results". Although the study's authors accept that this theory might not hold true everywhere, it seems that one possible way to increase pupils' performance could simply be to plant a few trees.

Alex Tyndall

Share your views by tweeting @tes

Hot off the press

10 Minutes a Day Fractions by Carol Vorderman (Dorling Kindersley)

ISBN 9780241182321

Learners excel in short bursts and this fun workbook is a great way to boost children's understanding of fractions. Each maths game or test takes 10 minutes and covers adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions. It also includes a 10-minute timer for "beat the clock" exercises.

Making Poetry Matter, Sue Dymoke, Andrew Lambirth and Anthony Wilson, eds (Bloomsbury Publishing)

ISBN 9781441101471

This collection of essays offers a variety of perspectives on poetry pedagogy, and argues for the place of verse in the 21st-century English curriculum. Discussions cover the teaching of poetry at all stages of schooling, including teacher attitudes to teaching poetry in the urban primary classroom, digital poetry and multimodality, plus much more.

I am Henry Finch by Alexis Deacon (Walker Books)

ISBN 9781406357134

In Alexis Deacon's new book, illustrated by Viviane Schwarz, budding philosophers of all ages can follow the story of Henry Finch, the little bird who strives for greatness, gets it all a bit wrong, then makes it right again in a very surprising way.

For book queries, please email


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today