A Case for Integration: Assessment and Games

A Case for Integration: Assessment and Games

Alex Moseley (University of Leicester, UK)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4773-2.ch016
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There is growing interest in assessment of student learning within education, not least because assessment practice within some sectors (the UK higher education sector for example) is stagnant: many courses designed independently to the assessment method and assessed through a small number of traditional methods. Games-based learning has shown little deviation from this pattern – games themselves often removed from assessment of the skills they are designed to teach, and in the worst cases from the intended learning outcomes: gamification being a particularly formulaic example. This chapter makes the case for an integrated approach to assessment within learning games and the wider curriculum, drawing on elements within game design that provide natural opportunity for such integration. To demonstrate and evaluate such an approach, integrated assessment case studies (including a full study from the University of Leicester) are presented and discussed.
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Background: A Lens On Assessment

The recent interest in academic assessment (and its close partner feedback) has developed as governments, institutions and parents focus on the quality of programmes and - in particular – student outcomes. In Higher Education in the UK, the annual National Student Survey (NSS, 2011) has, over the past five years, revealed assessment and feedback as the area students are most dissatisfied with across the sector (in 2009 and 2010 they produced the lowest average score for all areas of student satisfaction: 65 and 67% satisfaction respectively). In UK secondary education, OFSTED reported as far back as 1996 that marking “fails to offer guidance on how work can be improved” and “reinforced under-achievement and under-expectation by being too generous or unfocussed” (cited by Black, Harrison, and Lee in their 2004 review of existing practice, that revealed similar concerns across the sector).

What is assessment in a learning context? The question/subject is too broad to cover in detail here, but within the author's own context, UK Higher Education, the Quality Assurance Agency for UK Higher Education (QAA), in its 2012 Quality Code, defines assessment as fulfilling four roles: promoting learning through feedback; evaluating knowledge, understanding, abilities or skills; establishing student performance/progress via a mark or grade; and publically acknowledging a level of achievement (QAA, 2011, p1).

Rowntree (1987, pp117-162) identifies a number of opposing aspects of assessment, that help to give a sense of both the length and breadth of the topic. These are:

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