The study’s author, Simon Bensnes, a Ph.D. candidate within the Department of Economics at the Norwegian University of Science in addition to also Technology, combined these with pollen count data linked to the location in addition to also time at which each student took each exam, as well as additional demographic in addition to also air-quality data used to control for potentially confounding factors.
Pollen counts are measured in grains of pollen per cubic meter of air in addition to also can be as high as the 100s at the height of pollen season in Norway. For students allergic to pollen, Mr. Bensnes found in which a pollen count increase of 37 — large enough to cause symptoms in highly allergic people — is actually associated which has a drop of about one-tenth of a point in exam scores. The scores range through one (worst performance) to six (best performance).
Does such a seemingly smaller effect matter within the long run? additional results suggest they do. The study also finds in which higher pollen counts correlate which has a slightly lower likelihood of enrolling in a university in addition to also a lower probability of going into a STEM field. However, though the statistical methods to analyze test scores are rigorous enough to reasonably infer they’re causal, the ones for these longer-term results are less so.
Still, Mr. Bensnes said, “the idea would certainly be surprising if there were no effects within the longer run.” This specific is actually particularly likely in countries where exams are weighed more heavily than in Norway toward entrance to institutions of higher education. There, exams count only for about 15 percent of entrance determinations.
Norway is actually not the only setting where a pollen-exam relationship has been found. In Britain, students take an exit exam at the end of secondary education within the spring or summer, when pollen counts are high. They also take a practice test the prior winter. Researchers found in which compared with those with no allergy symptoms, British students who report allergies or take allergy medications during their secondary education exit exams are 40 percent to 70 percent more likely to score a full grade lower than they did on their practice test.
A study within the United States found in which a doubling of the pollen count is actually associated with about 1 or 2 percent drop within the proportion of third graders passing English in addition to also math achievement tests.
Clinical studies have examined the cognitive effects of hay fever more directly. For example, a study found in which people with hay fever experienced slower speeds of mental processing during ragweed season than at additional times of year. Another study exposed allergic people to pollen in a controlled setting. the idea found in which they exhibited slower mental function, decreased memory, in addition to also poorer reasoning in addition to also computation abilities compared with nonallergic test subjects.
More generally, what we breathe affects how well we perform at school or work. Several studies found a link between air pollution in addition to also school absences, as well as labor supply in addition to also worker productivity. Worse air quality can cause or worsen respiratory problems, like asthma, reducing some children’s ability to attend school in addition to also adults’ entry into the work force. the idea can also harm job performance.
One study found in which higher concentrations of certain air pollutants hurt test scores of Israeli students in addition to also the chances of passing a high school exam necessary for higher education.
Individually, we may not be able to do much about air pollution, nevertheless we can try to reduce the impact of pollen on school in addition to also work performance. Finding allergy medication in which doesn’t induce drowsiness is actually an obvious approach. When the idea comes to high-stakes exams, the idea may be worth choosing test dates outside the allergy season, if possible. Hay fever is actually rarely debilitating, nevertheless its smaller effects can put us off our best game.
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