Using Space-Time Regression to Model the Impact of Natural Environmental Determinants on Childhood Academic Performance

Authors: Bita Minaravesh*, University of Southern California
Topics: Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: Greenspace, spatiotemporal, cognitive development, environmental exposures, environmental justice
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/11/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 8
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Links between environmental factors and children’s cognitive development have been studied in extenso in recent years. While fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) can cause neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration, greenspace supports developing critical cognitive skills. Such impacts are particularly meaningful for children from disadvantaged communities. This study models the spatiotemporal relationships between greenspace, air quality, demographics, and standardized testing across all public elementary schools in California from 2003 to 2013 through a l¬ongitudinal spatiotemporal lens. Unlike linear regression models, the integration of various data types in a non-linear model allows the understanding of how they evolve in space and time and recognizes multi-collinearity. Environmental data sources for this study are the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s daily images on the Leaf Area Index and the Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation and the Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center annual PM 2.5 values. Annual demographic and standardized scores per elementary school grade-levels are from California’s Department of Education. The space-time model presented employs Empirical Orthogonal Functions (EOF) that define distinct spatiotemporal variability patterns in all data sources. The EOFs for explanatory variables were evaluated for spatiotemporal relationships via Canonical Correspondence Analysis. Modeling relationships between a diverse set of drivers and standardized scores establishes a holistic view of the children’s exposures. The drivers listed in this study broadens the current understanding of the unique conditions behind children’s cognitive development. The study concludes that variability in greenspace, along with socio-economic conditions, around the school-site is a significant factor in understanding the variability of standardized scores.

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