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TrygFonden’s Centre for Child Research AARHUS DECEMBER 12, 2014 Your Move: The Effect of Chess on Math Test Scores Kamilla Gumede Michael Rosholm.

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Presentation on theme: "TrygFonden’s Centre for Child Research AARHUS DECEMBER 12, 2014 Your Move: The Effect of Chess on Math Test Scores Kamilla Gumede Michael Rosholm."— Presentation transcript:

1 TrygFonden’s Centre for Child Research AARHUS DECEMBER 12, 2014 Your Move: The Effect of Chess on Math Test Scores Kamilla Gumede Michael Rosholm

2 Outline -very preliminary, comments welcome 1.Intro: Background, Aim 2.Existing Evidence 3.The Intervention 4.Data 5.Methodology 6.Results 7.Conclusion

3 Intro: Background Costs of primary and lower secondary schooling in Denmark are among the highest in OECD Yet, looking at cross-country data from the PISA studies, Denmark is always ‘average’ in OECD Shift in focus from cognitive skills towards personality/behavioral factors and lack of self- control/grit/conscientiousness as explanations of school failure

4 Intro: Background Teaching chess may affect cognitive skills (fluid intelligence) directly indirectly through non-cognitive skill formation

5 Intro: Aim Aim: Design intervention to help children improve in school, specifically in mathematics, through teaching chess Think of the present study as a pilot study preparing for a larger scale randomized trial. As such, it is severely underpowered Nevertheless, interesting results emerge

6 Existing Evidence (Gobet & Campitallei 2006; Bart, 2014; Boruch, 2011; Berkman, 2004; and many others) Chess is a sequential game, where the players make moves in turn with white and black pieces on the chess board with the aim of capturing the opponent’s king Very complex calculation and planning ahead the ability to concentrate memorizing sequences of moves and resulting positions rewards the ability to exert patience and self-control a set of rules of conduct may directly increase intelligence and problem solving abilities

7 Existing Evidence Trinchero (2013): Impact of chess instruction on PISA math test scores. Non-randomized data on children aged 8-10 in Italy. Chess instruction in school improves problem solving abilities Boruch (2011): Only sufficiently powered RCT to date. 33 Italian schools, 30 hours of chess instruction, 3 rd grade classes. Chess instruction increases math achievement by a third of a standard deviation. Foreign born pupils have better impacts.

8 The Intervention Five schools in the City of Aarhus, 1 st to 3 rd grade Starting in January 2013 and ending mid October st -3 rd grade classes participate in the study as either treated or control classes. No random allocation… however, almost always ‘A’ class is control and the rest is treated. Students in treated classes have one weekly math lecture replaced by a weekly chess lecture NOTE: Control classes have more maths! One teacher doing all the teaching A book developed by Dansk Skoleskak: SKAK+MAT was used

9 The intervention Figure 1. A typical chess exercise from the book used for chess instruction Accompanying text: “How many pieces can the knight take? Write your answer on the line below”

10 Data Pre- and post math tests developed by City of Aarhus Calculation Problem solving Pattern recognition Merged with register based info at TrygFondens Centre for Child Research

11 VariableTreatment groupComparison group Standardized pre-intervention test-score Boy Girl Age st or 2 nd generation immigrant Days of school absence Grade Grade Grade # siblings Age of mother Mother lower secondary school Mother highschool Mother vocational education Mother short academic education Mother medium academic education Mother masters education or more Mother’s average ann. earnings past 3 years, DKK195,276188,578 Mother not working 20110,290,30 Father present Age of father Father lower secondary school Father highschool Father vocational education0.30 Father short academic education Father medium academic education Father masters education or more Father’s average ann. earnings past 3 years, DKK278,564284,405 Father not working N323159

12 Data

13 Methodology

14 Results ModelImpact estimateStandard errorR-squared 2: Only chess dummy : 2+child and school characteristics : 3+mother’s and father’s characteristics Table 3. Estimation results, change in standardized test-scores

15 Results summarized Positive effect for boys (0.22) but NS for girls Positive effect for native Danes (0.22) but not for 1 st or 2 nd generation immigrants No interactions significant across grades, pre-intervention test scores, or morther’s educational attainment Positive effects on pattern recognition (~fluid intelligence) No impact on calculation or problem solving No impact on school absence after program (during?)

16 Conclusion Are the impacts large? Let’s do the RCT! Then we’ll conclude


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