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Chess for Success evaluation: Final report

This 2006 report evaluated the performance of 233 students participating in an after-school chess instruction program, Chess for Success (CFS), on the mathematics and reading portions of the Oregon state test, the Coopersmith Inventory, and a student behavior scale. Treatment group student performance was compared to the performance of 88 students that did not participate in chess instruction. Based on t-test results, effect sizes were 0.276 standard deviation units in mathematics, 0.152 standard deviation units in reading, and -0.018 standard deviation units on the behavioral measures. The math results were statistically significant, while the reading and behavior results were not. The study was eligible for inclusion in the systematic literature review and categorized as Tier III. Neither students nor schools were randomly assigned to treatment or control groups, and students in the two groups were not matched on student characteristics. While treatment group baseline performance on the Coopersmith Inventory and state reading assessment were not significantly different from the control group performance on those assessments, there were statistically significant differences in the performance of treatment and control group students on the mathematics assessment at baseline. Therefore, there is reason for caution in interpreting the effects reported by the study as being the result of participation in chess instruction.