There is a commonly held belief that engaging in certain activities might increase a student’s overall cognitive ability, which could subsequently improve that same student’s performance in school (1, 2). For example, according to this belief, a student who frequently plays chess or plays a musical instrument may improve their cognitive abilities and thus perform better in school. There does seem to be a correlation between engagement with these types of activities and academic achievement (1). Of course, a correlation definitely does not mean that these activities caused increased academic performance. But it is worth asking, if we encourage students to participate in intellectual activities, will this cause increases in academic performance?
Source: The Learning Scientists Blog