Assessment through Achievement Systems: A Framework for Educational Game Design

Assessment through Achievement Systems: A Framework for Educational Game Design

Monica Evans (The University of Texas at Dallas, USA), Erin Jennings (The University of Texas at Dallas, USA) and Michael Andreen (The University of Texas at Dallas, USA)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/ijgbl.2011070102
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Educational games have great potential as tools for motivating and engaging students, in addition to teaching learning content and objectives, but have had difficulty proving their potential through traditional means. This article proposes that recent advances in the achievement systems of entertainment games can be used to measure motivation and engagement in educational games, and can serve as a self-assessing tool for both students and teachers. Achievements may also be utilized as a way to measure things that have been traditionally difficult to measure, such as creativity, curiosity, and the nuances of problem-solving ability. This article proposes a structure for categorizing achievements in relation to assessment, and discusses future research directions for achievements as measures of assessment for educational games. The article covers both traditional and non-traditional measures of assessment as they relate to gaming achievement systems, as well as the psychological aspects of achievements and player behavior, good design principles for learning assessment achievements, and potential for achievements as an additional measure of motivational engagement by students.
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Educational Assessment Through Games

There is a large body of research dedicated to educational assessment, some of which has been applied to play, games, and other forms of interactive learning. For our purposes, we are most concerned with authentic assessment, or the direct examination of students' performance on worthy intellectual tasks (Wiggins, 1990). The difference between authentic learning experiences, such as an education-focused visit by elementary school children to a zoo or aquarium, and more traditional classroom experiences such as lectures, quizzes, and tests, is of great important for experience-focused educational games. Games as a medium have excellent potential for presenting authentic learning experiences, which are traditionally more difficult to assess. This being said, computer or digital games also present great potential for assessment of these authentic learning experiences, primarily because every nuance of a player’s experience can be measured and recorded, due to the digital nature of the experience. Our challenge as game designers is to find the most elegant and efficient solution to this problem through the structure and design of a given educational game.

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