This study explores if multiple alterations of the classrooms' indoor environmental conditions, which lead to environmental conditions meeting quality class A of Dutch guidelines, result in a positive effect on students' perceptions and performance. A field study, with a between-group experimental design, was conducted during the academic course in 2020–2021. First, the reverberation time (RT) was lowered in the intervention condition to 0.4 s (control condition 0.6 s). Next, the horizontal illuminance (HI) level was raised in the intervention condition to 750 lx (control condition 500 lx). Finally, the indoor air quality (IAQ) in both conditions was improved by increasing the ventilation rate, resulting in a reduction of carbon dioxide concentrations, as a proxy for IAQ, from ~1100 to From 201 students, 527 responses were collected. The results showed that the reduction of the RT positively influenced students' perceived cognitive performance. A reduced RT in combination with raised HI improved students' perceptions of the lighting environment, internal responses, and quality of learning. However, this experimental condition negatively influenced students' ability to solve problems, while students' content-related test scores were not influenced. This shows that although quality class A conditions for RT and HI improved students' perceptions, it did not influence their short-term academic performance.
Furthermore, the benefits of reduced RT in combination with raised HI were not observed in improved IAQ conditions. Whether the sequential order of the experimental conditions is relevant in inducing these effects and/or whether improving two parameters is already beneficial, is unknown.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number161813
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2023


  • emotional status
  • health
  • indoor air quality
  • horizontal illuminance
  • reverberation time
  • quality of learning


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