Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction


Date of this Version



Kuhlenengel, M.; Konstantzos, I.;Waters, C.E. The Effects of the Visual Environment on K-12 Student Achievement. Buildings 2021, 11, 498. https://doi.org/ 10.3390/buildings11110498


© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license


The varying indoor environments among educational buildings can have an impact on students’ ability to learn. This study looks at field data from 220 classrooms in the Midwest, United States, over a two-year period, to analyze the effects of the visual environment on student achievement. The visual environmental metrics considered within this scope include the three new view metrics introduced within the EN 17037 “Daylight of Buildings” standard (Horizontal Sight Angle, Outside Distance of View, and Number of View Layers), as well as standard daylight and electric lighting metrics, focusing on light availability and glare. To capture student achievement, math and reading achievement scores were used, accompanied by auxiliary demographic variables. This allowed for a correlational analysis using multivariate regression. Among the notable results of this study, there was a positive effect of the availability of view on reading achievement. However, another view metric, Horizontal Sight Angle, showed a significant negative interaction with free and reduced lunch recipients on reading achievement, indicating that demographics can also have a significant role in the way the visual environment can affect learning.