CHESS AND STANDARD TEST SCORES
James M. Liptrap, Chess Sponsor, Klein High School
Klein Independent School District, Spring, Texas, 1997
Published in Chess Life, March 1998, pages 41-43
SUMMARY: Regular (non-honors) Elementary students who participated in a school
Chess Club showed twice the improvement of non-chess players in Reading and
Mathematics between third and fifth grades on the Texas Assessment of Academic
Skills. In fifth grade, regular track chess players scored 4.3 TLI points higher in
Reading (p<.01) and 6.4 points higher in Math (p<.00001) than non-chess players.
The purpose of this study is to document the effect of participation in a chess club upon the
standardized test scores of elementary students. The study was conducted in four of the elementary
schools in a large suburban school district near Houston, Texas. It compared the third grade and fifth
grade scores on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) of students who participated in a
school chess club in fourth and/or fifth grade with the scores of students who did not participate in a
chess club. Significant improvement in Math and Reading scores were found among the Regular
track chess students.
Previous studies indicating the effects of chess on scholastic achievement have received little
notice, and have been criticized for small sample size, or for chess clubs being self-selective elite
groups, or for being too anecdotal. Many observations by teachers, parents, administrators, and
students report advantages of participation in chess, based principally upon improved self-image,
confidence, and critical thinking skills.
Reported in Developing Critical and Creative Thinking Through Chess, Robert Ferguson, of
Bradford, Pennsylvania, as part of the ESEA Title IV-C Explore Program tested students from
seventh to ninth grade, 1979-1983, and found: