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.
Published 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).
Our move: Using chess to improve math achievement for students who receive special education services.
Conducted during the 2008-09 school year and published in 2011, this study evaluated the impact of a weekly, 50 minute per session chess intervention on grade 6-8 special education students’ end-of-course grades and performance on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). The sample was comprised of 15 treatment group students and 16 control group students. Treatment group students and control group students attended different schools that shared similar demographic characteristics. The schools were located within close proximity of one another.
This 1976 master’s thesis evaluated the effects of a two year after-school chess intervention, with 42 lessons in total, on grade 5-6 Belgian students’ math and reading achievement. The randomly assigned sample was comprised of 20 treatment group students and 17 control group students. All students were male and attended the same school. Using ANOVA, the author found an effect size of 0.280 standard deviation units in math and effect size of 0.410 units in reading.
An evaluation of the Chess Challenge Program of ASAP/After School Activities Partnerships. Philadelphia, PA: After School Activities Partnerships.
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.
The relationship between chess instruction and verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal reasoning abilities of economically disadvantaged students.
In this dissertation, Eberhard analyzed the impact of a daily, in-school chess intervention on student cognitive performance on the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) and the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT). Conducted in a rural middle school in southern Texas during the 2001-02 school year, the study’s sample was comprised of 60 treatment group students and 77 control group students in grades 7 and 8. Students were allowed to choose to enroll in one of several elective courses, including chess and keyboarding. Data were analyzed using paired t-tests and two-way ANOVA.
In this report, Ferguson evaluated the impact of a weekly chess club intervention, lasting 32 weeks, on grade 7-9 gifted and talented students’ cognitive development, measured by the Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal and the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. The sample included 15 treatment students and 79 control students in a northern Pennsylvanian school district. Students self-selected to participate in intervention, and control group students had a statistically insignificant higher average IQ.
In this 2005 report, the authors evaluated the impact of a one year, after-school chess intervention on 3rd grade Scottish students’ reading achievement (Neale Analysis of Reading Ability), cognitive development (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children), and behavior (Bristol Social Adjustment Guide). There were 36 students in the sample—18 in the treatment group and 18 in control group. Control group students were either students from the same school who played computer games or students at different a primary school who did not receive chess instruction or play computer games.
The effect of learning to play chess on cognitive, perceptual and emotional development in children.
This random assignment study measured the impact of an in-school chess intervention on spatial relations analysis, measured by the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised (WISC-R), and behavior, measured by the Survey of School Attitudes. The assessments were administered at the end of the study period. The sample was comprised of 30 students exhibiting persistent behavior problems. Treatment students received 18 lessons over the course of one academic year, one control group received counseling, and another control group did not receive any intervention.
Scholastic chess club participation and the academic achievement of Hispanic fifth grade students in south Texas.
Conducted during the 2006-2007 school year, this dissertation evaluated the impact of a weekly after-school chess club intervention on Hispanic students’ performance on the reading and math sections of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). The author randomly selected 27 treatment students from a pool of chess club students across five different elementary schools in a predominantly Hispanic district in Texas; 27 control group students were selected from the same schools.