Trees and Test Scores (05-01-19)

Tallis and teammates looked into relationships between the number of trees near schools and the academic test scores of elementary school students. They report that “greenspace around school grounds has been associated with benefits to students’ cognitive function. . . . After controlling for common educational determinants (e.g., socio-economic status, race/ethnicity, student teacher ratio, and gender ratio) we found a significant, positive association between test scores and tree and shrub cover within 750 and 1000 m of urban [elementary] schools. Tree and shrub cover was not associated with test scores in rural schools or five buffers closer to urban schools (10, 50, 100, 300, and 500 m). . . . Within our urban sample, average tree-cover schools performed 4.2% . . . better in terms of standardized test scores than low tree-cover urban schools.”

Heather Tallis, Gregory Bratman, Jameal Samhouri, and Joseph Fargione. 2018.  “Are California Elementary School Test Scores More Strongly Associated with Urban Trees Than Poverty?”  Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 9, article 2074,