Can Learning Chess Improve Student Creativity? A field experiment in Bangladesh

Lead researchers:

Wang-Sheng Lee and Aaron Nicholas, Deakin University

Partners: Deakin University

Timeline: April 2014 to February 2015

Status: Complete

Method: Quantitative

The overview of the project:

This project involves a randomized experiment of primary school students in Bangladesh using chess instruction as an intervention. We assess the effect of chess lessons on both creativity and academic achievement. Creativity is increasingly recognised as a core component of economic development and competitive advantage. Games like chess teach children to plan, calculate and think ahead, but also to think abstractly, visually, and to focus on certain aspects of a large-scale problem. These are aspects that are ignored by education systems that foster conformity, compliance and standardisation and emphasize test scores. Experimental results evaluating game-like interventions such as chess instruction will help inform evidence-based policies that emphasize creativity and non-cognitive skills.