Keynote speaker Anna Nicotera has just completed a systematic review of all the studies into the impact of chess in schools (download link below the text). The effect sizes are remarkable, says Anna, a specialist on the efficacy of educational interventions. Given that chess is usually taught for an hour a week (at most two hours), she considers the reported benefits high – especially when it comes to attainment in mathematics. Like all professional researchers, she counsels that the results should be interpreted cautiously since they are based on fewer than ten studies that met the rigorous eligibility criteria of her review.
She gathered all empirical studies on effects of chess in school that she could find in English. She filtered these according to strict methodological standards and went on to analyse the reliable studies in detail. Many school chess studies are not and could not be included in the final analysis, she says. The overall results of the impact of chess are impressive. In order to identify the active ingredients in school chess, i.e. the precise details of how the impact is made, more high quality primary studies will be required.
Anna is a senior associate at associate of Basis Policy Research, a Michigan-based education consultancy, which mostly serves public sector clients. Anna works from Denver, Colorado. She has a PhD in Education Policy from Vanderbilt University and is well trained and experienced in statistical analysis and methodology. As the daughter of two teachers her interest in education issues goes way back.
Her review was sponsored by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis. One of the world’s prime chess clubs, it is known for its elite tournaments and matches. It is currently developing its own curriculum for chess in schools which Anna´s research will inform.
The Conference is happy to first make the study (pdf less than 1 mb) CCSCSL Literature Review of Chess Studies – November 2014(1).