Something that everyone knows, but is worth analyzing is that study environments are critical to success in school. To better understand this belief, back in 2010, Lighting For Learning performed a randomized controlled trial to determine the impact of study environments on the performance of test scores in rural India. The key parameter that was evaluated in this study was lighting and in particular lighting generated by solar powered electricity.
As recent as 2009, throughout most of India, students were having to study after sundown by the light generated from candles or kerosene lanterns. For this study, in place of the candles and kerosene lanterns, one population of students was able to study in a local community center by lighting created by solar electricity while a second group continued to study by candle light and kerosene lanterns.
All the students were given a baseline pretest prior to the start of the study and then following a three month period, all the students were given an end line exam similar, but not the same as, the baseline test. While the baseline results did not show a significant difference between the experimental and control groups, the end line exam did show a significant difference between the two groups. The students that were able to study by the light of the solar powered lighting in the community center scored over 20% higher on the end line exam than the students that studied by the light of candles and kerosene lanterns.
Based on the results of this evaluation, we verified what we already sensed, namely that proper lighting plays a significant role in the performance of students. It is this kind of performance that will enable students to obtain a better education and shall increase the probability of breaking free from the bonds of poverty.