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Friday, May 30, 2008

Games and Learner Assessment

Here is an interesting article titled Proof of Learning: Assessment in Serious Games. The article outlines some good ideas for integrating assessments into games and why simply sticking a multiple choice question into an otherwise "cool" game doesn't make it an educational game or even fun.

Because computers can quickly and accurately grade [Multiple Choice Questions] MCQs, those types of questions have become the foundation of almost all modern testing. This makes MCQs the obvious first choice, and often the easiest choice, for assessment in serious games.

MCQs are not always the best choice, though. While MCQs can accurately gauge memorization and retention of a set of facts, they are hardly the best way to gauge whether the student is following a process correctly. This is a notable shortcoming because some disciplines, such as advanced math, are more about the processes used to reach the answer and less about the answer itself. Multiple choice math tests can only provide a list of possible answers and have no easy mechanism for determining whether the student figured the answer out properly or merely guessed well.

Instead of multple choice, here are a few alternatives:
  • Completion Assessment -Did the player complete the level in the game? How long did it take? How many attempts? Was it the preferred path?
  • In-Process Assessment - How did the player choose his or her actions? Did he or she change their mind? If so, at what point? What was the motivation behind the choice? Was it congruent with other decisions or did it appear to be a guess?
  • Point Assessment -Did the player score enough points to be considered successful? Did they score them in the right area?
These are just a few ways in which assessments can be re-considered and we can break out of the multiple choice assessment trap many e-learning modules seem to have fallen into. These suggestions also provide a way of creating authentic assessments in the context of educational games.

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