Literature Review of Chess Studies
By Anna Nicotera, David Stuit
In a systematic review of the literature, this report examined the degree to which existing empirical evidence supports the theory that participation in chess programs, whether designed as in-school or after-school programs, resulted in improved academic, cognitive, and/or behavioral outcomes for school-aged children. Twenty-four studies met a set of pre-determined criteria for eligibility and were included in analyses. The literature review found that after-school chess programs had a positive and statistically significant impact on mathematics outcomes and in-school chess interventions had a positive and statistically significant impact on mathematics and cognitive outcomes. While the two primary outcomes are based on studies that used rigorous research design methodologies, the results should be interpreted cautiously given the small number of eligible studies that the pooled results encompass (two high-quality after-school studies and six high-quality in-school studies). The after-school chess studies examined competitive chess clubs and provided very little detail about how the programs were implemented. On the other hand, the in-school chess studies examined scholastic chess programs that use chess as a springboard to work on cognitive and academic skills that are critical to student performance. The positive mathematics and cognitive outcome results from in-school chess studies may be explained by the chess programs being incorporated into students’ weekly academic schedules, instruction during the school day leading to higher attendance rates and lower attrition, administering the program for an extended period of time, and connecting the intervention with math instruction and curriculum.
An evaluation of the Chess Challenge Program of ASAP/After School Activities Partnerships. Philadelphia, PA: After School Activities Partnerships.By DuCette, J.2009
In this 2009 report, DuCette examined the impact of an after-school chess program on Pennsylvania students’ math and reading achievement, as measured by the state standardized assessment, Pennsylvania System of School Achievement (PSSA). The sample was comprised of 151 treatment and 151 control students in grades 3-8. Treatment students, who self-selected into the Chess Challenge Program, were matched by the School District of Philadelphia with students from the same school, grade, gender, and race/ethnicity. Using a two-way ANOVA to measure differences in PSSA scale scores, the author found an effect size of 0.348 standard deviation units in math and 0.249 units in reading. The findings were statistically significant. The study was eligible for inclusion in the systematic literature review and categorized as a Tier II study. The study used a quasi-experimental matching process to compare students in the treatment and control group, but the matching process did not match students on prior test scores, which is needed to confirm that the two groups of students were academically equivalent prior to the intervention.
The benefits of chess for the intellectual and social-emotional enrichment in school children.
By Aciego, R., Garcia, L., & Betancort, M.; The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 15(2), 551-559. 2012Published in 2012, this study evaluated the impact of a weekly after-school chess intervention on students’ cognitive development and behavioral skills in Spain. 170 treatment group students self-selected to participate in the chess program, and 60 randomly selected control group students had the option to play either basketball or soccer after school. Students ages 6-16 completed a cognitive assessment, Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-R), and a behavioral questionnaire, Multifactor Self-Assessment Test of Child Adjustment (TAMAI).