Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Better math through chess

I've just come across another study attempting to measure whether teaching chess in the classroom results in better learning outcomes for students. In this case the study looked at replacing 1 math lesson a week with a chess lesson (as opposed to adding an extra chess lesson). The study was carried out in Denmark, involving primary aged students.
Overall the study found a slight improvement in test scores (around 0.1 to 0.18 of a standard deviation), which at first might not sound like much. However, as these were replacement lessons, the result is in fact a lot better, especially if you are trying to get chess coaching into an already crowded calendar. Also of interest is that the study looked at the effects on children who were either unhappy or bored and found  that both these groups showed greater improvement than happy or engaged children. In fact most of the improvement in test scores was attributed to students in these groups.
The whole study is available here and is worth reading not just for the conclusions, but also for the description of the studies methodology. In describing quite clearly their approach, the authors not only help the reader understand their work, but also provide an idea of what to look for in similar studies on chess in education.


David said...

Thanks for sharing this - there are plenty such studies showing potential benefits of chess but as in most of science there are always two sides debating and unable to reach a conclusion!! However, I think overall it's pretty clear chess has to offer something beyond the game itself. Last year, I analysed a huge UK study that got a lot of press and put a negative spin on chess, but if you read closely, you see that actually students studied less and achieved the same scores. In the time they studied less, they got to play chess, make new friends, build new skills and practice the awesome things chess teaches. I see that as a huge win. If anyone is interested in more the full post is here https://www.chessable.com/blog/2016/08/18/chess-helps-kids-study-less-and-score-on-tests-well/

David said...

Clickable link to kids study less and score on tests just as well with chess