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Does the playing of chess lead to improved scholastic achievement?

This study, published in 2003, examined the effect of participation in chess on academic success in science at a boys’ school in Australia. Of the 508 students in grades 6-12 at the school, 64 participated in the school’s competitive chess program. The students’ results on the Australian Schools Science Competition were used to evaluate the effect of the chess program. Rasch scaling was used to include students from all grade levels on the same scale. Students who participated in the chess program achieved higher results on the science test than students who did not; however, after controlling for grade level and IQ. The effect size was 0.128 standard deviation units. However, the results were statistically insignificant suggesting no difference between treatment and control students. This study was eligible for inclusion in the systematic literature review and categorized as a Tier III study. However, the lack of pre-test results for students and the self-selection of students into the chess program may have generated bias in the results.

[Link to study]