Digital Games for Diagnostic Assessment of Cognitive Skills and Competences: Literature Review and Framework

Digital Games for Diagnostic Assessment of Cognitive Skills and Competences: Literature Review and Framework

Joao Mattar (Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo, Brazil) and Viviane Marques Goi (Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5790-6.ch010
OnDemand PDF Download:
No Current Special Offers


This chapter is a literature review on the uses of games for assessment. Its purpose is to outline a framework for the design of digital games for the assessment of cognitive skills and competences. A model for the assessment of generic competences is initially presented. Four categories for assessment through digital games are then explored (aim, implementation, integration, and primary type), including the strategies of in-game and out-game assessment. Methodological questions are then raised, involving approaches for linking the types of actions performed by the players during the game to a knowledge domain, tests for cognitive assessment, and adaptive assessment. As solutions, recommendations, and suggestions for future research a model is proposed to guide the design and development of digital games that aim to assess cognitive skills and competences, named DACSC.
Chapter Preview


One of the challenges faced by contemporary education institutions is to teach students in a way that they can mobilize the knowledge gained during the learning process into new and unpredictable situations, preparing them for real life: the challenge of building skills and transferring knowledge. Because of that, competence-based (and not only knowledge-based) approaches are today part of the curriculum worldwide. The Bologna Declaration (1999) is an example of that emphasis on competences in the Higher Education sector of European countries.

Perrenoud (2011a, 2011b, 2013) is an international authority on the discussion of competences in education. The Swiss sociologist understands competence as the capacity of mobilizing a set of cognitive resources (not only knowledge but also information, abilities, skills, etc.) to deal with practical and complex situations. Competences, which would be applied when a novelty, an unforeseen event, or a problem occurs, is sometimes differentiated not only from knowledge and attitudes but also from skills, which would be applied in better known or controlled situations. This chapter does not differentiate among abilities, skills, and competences, but these concepts are conceived differently from the pure and theoretical knowledge that is not easily transferable to reality, as this transfer requires the integration of knowledge and skills. This research is also not interested in social and personal competences (such as values and attitudes) but in methodological competences (know-how). Examples of these kinds of competences would be: to analyze relationships and to understand, apply, and elaborate rules.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Assessment: Evaluation of a person’s knowledge, performance, or learning.

Cognitive Assessment: Assessment of cognitive functions, behaviors, skills, and competences, such as the ability to establish connections between ideas.

Digital Games: Games that are played on televisions, computers, laptops, consoles (such as Playstation, Xbox, and Wii), smartphones, and tablets.

Skill: The ability and promptness to transfer and apply knowledge and other resources to known and controlled situations.

Competence: The ability to solve problems in unforeseeable contexts using knowledge and other resources.

Serious Games: Games that are not designed simply for entertainment or fun, but also for teaching, assessing, and modifying behaviors.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: